The longer I lead the more convinced I am that much of one's leadership stands or falls on their EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Good EQ gives our leadership credibility while poor EQ sabotages it. Yet it remains a skill set that many pay too little attention to. If I had to identify three EQ skills that a leader or supervisor had to have to be successful in the long run they would be these.

One: Personal security. Insecurity is the menace of many leaders leading to all kinds of behaviors to mask that insecurity. Personal security is knowing who we are with our strengths and weaknesses and being OK with that. Secure individuals do not need to be right, they have no need to be defensive and can live from a "nothing to prove, nothing to lose" perspective. Secure leaders are healthy leaders while insecure leaders are not.

Two: Self awareness. The better we understand ourselves the better our leadership can be. Other awareness and empathy toward others are not possible without self awareness. Self aware individuals understand their emotions and control them, their motives and regulate them and their relationships and keep them healthy. They also understand how they are perceived by others and how to manage their dark side (we all have one).

Three: Other awareness. Those who cannot understand the emotions, reactions, motivations and behaviors of others come off as uncaring, aloof and arrogant. Maybe even narcissistic. One cannot have empathy toward others without being aware of their needs and concerns. The best leaders are acutely aware of those around them and their needs. Only those who understand others can help them succeed and grow.

There is one more thing. It is possible to possess these skills but to neglect them - to become so consumed in our own stuff that we become careless with our self awareness, other awareness and it is possible for our personal security to become arrogance if not guarded. These three areas of EQ must be guarded, practiced and evaluated regularly for our leadership to be healthy. 

(Written from Berlin, Germany)
  • Mar 11, 2014
  • Category: News
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