“Don’t Make Me Angry. You Wouldn’t Like Me When I am Angry.” Dr. Bruce Banner, just before turning into the Hulk.
Here it is. Another article about leadership. Blah. Blah. Blah. Yada. Yada. Yada.
You have heard it all before.
Or have you?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is not about the latest corporate-speak, flavor-of-the-month, woo-woo, out there, meaningless team building exercise in futility. This is about hitting your numbers, making the sale and keeping your profits up in a competitive market.
In other words: sales in the real world.
How High is Your IQ?
The research is in.
Genuine leaders all have one thing in common: a High IQ. Now, we are not talking about how well you did on your college entrance exams. We are talking about emotional intelligence. Being a strong leader has less to do with how well you crunch numbers, create brilliant solutions and solve complex problems than it does with how well you play with others. Yes, those skills are valuable, even necessary, but what really sets you up for success is how well you get along.
What is emotional IQ and why does it matter?
According to the work of Daniel Goleman, a leading researcher and world renowned author and business analyst, emotional intelligence (EI) is one of the hallmarks of the top business leaders around the globe.
In his book (based on his work for the Harvard Business Review) What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters, Goleman asserts that, “90% of the competencies that distinguish star leaders are built on emotional intelligence.”
Genuine Leaders Commonly Share Certain Traits
Among these are:
· The ability to communicate and connect to others in a meaningful way- this includes active listening/speaking.
· A talent for fine tuning your words so that they have a positive effect on the listener- creating empathy.
· Being able to remain calm under pressure- self management and self-awareness.
· Being present and attuned to the people that are right in from of you.
· An ability to collaborate and encourage creative solutions.
· Social and relationship building skills.
Like a master woodworker who sees all of the potential beauty in the grain, authentic leaders have an innate gift for bringing out the best in those they work with. They know how to come alongside people, to encourage and motivate them by providing them a greater vision.
Far from having inflated egos, real leaders have a rare quality of vulnerability. They tend to be more transparently human. Not in the sense that they are over-emotional, but in the way they are able to create meaningful and impactful communications that stick. They are real— genuine.
Show Your True Colors
Other studies have pointed out that the ability to be transparent, even vulnerable, matters. Not to be confused with weakness, vulnerability means that you can admit to mistakes. Showing your common humanity does not put people off. In fact, admitting that you have struggled is a way to actually build stronger social bonds. In other words, it makes you relatable.
Strong leaders often admit to personal or work related challenges. Steve Jobs was famous for allowing himself to be seen as human. He took risks, admitted shortcomings and allowed people, including himself, to, well, fail. He succeeded because genuine accountability leads upward. Even if you fail, you fail as a team. This allows you to regroup, learn and rise as a much stronger force.
Rather than creating a culture of fear, embracing our shared humanity and vulnerability can build a culture in which people thrive. Fear creates scapegoats. “I failed because of such and such and so and so. It’s his or her fault, but never mine.”
What Can You Do to Increase Your Emotional IQ?
Perhaps you do not have the highest EI score. That is okay. Research has shown that being motivated and practicing these traits increases them.
Here are some tips, but be warned, this is not for the faint of heart. It takes real work. It is much easier to revert to old habits, demand respect rather than earning it and simply dictating how the cow ate the proverbial cabbage.
First, pay attention to how people respond and react to you. Does everyone tense up when you enter the room? How well do you handle stress? Are you like Bruce Banner? All calm and normal until the heat gets turned up a notch?
Can you take responsibility, admit your own culpability and answer for your own mistakes? Can you take ownership of problems? Do you have empathy— the ability to read the emotional states of others? Can you be honest, really honest, about what you fear? Can people come to you when they are not at their best?
If you are really in it to win it, take a fearless inventory of where you are. It just may put you where you really want to be.
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