Since we’ve become increasingly aware of emotional intelligence, or EI, a great deal of focus has been on the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. While it is recognized that EI is important in all levels of an organization, it becomes more crucial in leadership. Many studies have shown a direct negative impact of bad leaders on employee morale and retention, as well as productivity. Emotionally intelligent leaders are more self aware and aware of the needs of those they serve, making them excellent motivators, coaches, and mentors.
This results in a more motivated, happier workforce that gives people greater control over their workplace, as well as increased workplace satisfaction. Workplaces with high levels of emotionally intelligent leadership stand out for their high employee retention rates, as well as being known as great places to work. Leaders high in EI are constant learners and are always asking themselves questions in efforts to continuously improve.
Here are five questions that leaders high in EI ask themselves daily:
Did I empower my team enough?
Leaders constantly walk a fine line between giving their team enough freedom and taking charge when necessary to prevent things from going off the rails. Recognizing the importance of allowing people to create, take calculated risks, and learn and grow from mistakes, they allow their team maximum freedom. These leaders are constantly asking themselves where they are in terms of giving their people freedom versus stepping in when they see things going in the wrong direction.
Am I listening and understanding well enough?
Leaders high in EI are great communicators. As well as being able to get their message and ideas across, they recognize the importance of being effective listeners. They excel not only at giving clear messages, but also at being aware of what is going on with their people. This helps them understand their teams and gives them early indicators of what their concerns and challenges are. They are able to become aware of (and deal with) issues before they get overblown and become a crisis.
Did I recognize people when they went above and beyond?
One thing that leaders high in EI excel at is to constantly look for opportunities to show appreciation to their team members who do something well. They are aware that blanket appreciation is the lazy way out for leadership and can actually be a demotivator for those who are going above and beyond. Because of this awareness, they spend the time and effort to get to know the roles of their staff in order to spot those who are excelling.
Am I supporting my people in achieving their goals?
Emotionally intelligent leaders not only know the roles of the people who work in proximity to them, but also are aware of these workers’ individual career desires and goals. They want to know if their current roles are satisfying, and if they are learning and growing toward their overall goals. Being aware of the individual goals of those that report to them, these leaders let people know that they care about what benefits they bring to the organization and show that they want to support their overall career and life goals.
Am I making my vision for the organization clear and consistent?
One of the chief roles of a leader is sharing a clear and consistent vision for their organization with their staff. The desired outcome is not only that everyone is aware of the goals and mission they are working toward, but also that they know how their individual roles contribute to that outcome. A highly emotionally intelligent leader is open, transparent, and timely in sharing changes within an organization, as well giving continuous updates in how well the team is doing at reaching their vision. Knowing they are always kept in the loop of organizational information increases employee trust and loyalty.