It doesn’t matter how smart you are – without emotional intelligence, you won’t become a leader.
I work with leaders every day as a personal digital marketing consultant helping people brand themselves. Some of these people base their businesses off making others wealthy, some are multimillionaires, and many are young and ambitious entrepreneurs.
All of them want to be leaders. It’s easy to spot the ones who won’t make it unless they have that light bulb moment. The truth is it’s not hard to size someone up if you’re great at analyzing body language and word usage.
Having read numerous psychology books when I was younger, they came in handy when I started to take on clients years later. A few ups and down, but overall almost every client I have has been ready to become a leader.
I have learned that there are many bright people, but few with the emotional IQ that can catapult them to high levels of leadership. The difference between those who are great leaders and those who are average is small. What it comes down to is how often they implement their emotional intelligence.
For example, most of us know it’s important to be empathetic and listen, but how often do we put these thoughts into actions?
The reality is that we can all become leaders. I see it with the people I help; they have inspirational stories from rebounding after open heart surgery or from broke and unemployed. It’s not easy; it starts with understanding what it takes, more specifically, these nine aspects of emotional intelligence possessed by every successful leader:
1. They listen first
Great leaders are always striving to learn, and if you want to learn, you must listen. Listening shows others respect for their opinions, and respect is the base of any relationship. Every successful leader must encourage their community to ask questions and communicate their issues.
Successful leaders help by listening to the troubles and aspirations of others; then they use their position to help them overcome these roadblocks and achieve their goals. Without listening, you don’t know where to help others; as a result, no one will follow you. Moreover, great leaders know listening to employees and customers is critical to receiving the feedback to improve company culture and products.
2. They posture themselves correctly
Body position is critical to how you communicate with others. From handshakes to straightening your back, to knowing when to lean in. It’s vital you can communicate effectively with your body otherwise you might come off as needy or even worse, arrogant.
When someone sits down and immediately leans into a conversation, psychology tells me they have already given up their position of power or what they’re about to say must be extremely important. Also, people who fidget are either nervous or bored. It’s not good to be either one. And if your mouth is open when someone else is speaking, then you’re not listening, but waiting for your turn to speak. A successful company leader can quickly spot these body signals in a negotiation, always giving them an edge.
3. They understand the benefits of failure
Leaders embrace failures, and the great ones move on quickly from them. Thinking about failures for too long begets more negative thoughts that with enough fuel can undercut any leader.
Successful leaders assess downturns to see where they can improve the next time around, and then they do. They know each opportunity in life is a learning experience, even the ones that result in some of the worst case scenarios like bankruptcy or a failed startup.
4. They analyze every action you take and sentence you say with incredible speed
Top-notch leaders analyze people with expert speed. They worked their psychological evaluation down to a science, so they don’t let their analysis interrupt their communication. If you read enough psychology books and act as a leader, it becomes easy to identify those who aren’t.
Most leaders can make conclusions about others in seconds just by evaluating someone’s walking posture or the first words they speak. Always keep yourself straightened, always open with a smile, and steer the conversation to something mutually beneficial. If you can do that, you’re off to a good start.
5. They keep their cool under surmounting pressure
When other people see dead ends, company leaders will keep pushing. Part of being a leader is being determined that you’ll find the answers to your problems along the way. It takes confidence, instilling faith in those who follow you, and an incredible focus on moving forward.
I’ve seen leaders survive under immense pressure whether as a CEO of what appears to be a soon-to-fail startup or a football captain motivating their team during halftime while 21 points behind. A successful leader will keep his team thriving at almost all costs because without their team, they’re not a leader.
6. They say everything with purpose
Leaders can be extremely emotional. Sometimes this can be exactly what their followers need for inspiration. Other times, it can result in disaster. Good leaders recognize the emotions that bring out the best in people, so even though they may not know the exact words to say, they’ll make sure to exhibit their passion in the right direction.
Also, successful leaders don’t waste time with needless conversation because they have important projects to finish to help their company grow. So, asking the right questions, being concise, and getting your point across in an efficient manner is crucial.
7. They take every action with purpose
As a leader, every move must be somewhat calculated. There’s too little time to waste on things that are not vital for success. They understand the value of keeping their actions strictly revolved around projects and habits that maintain their leadership.
Without adherence to specific actions that brought you up to become a leader, you’ll soon find yourself losing control. New company hires, waking up at a specific time every morning and making time for family on particular days, they plan appropriately.
8. They are experts in managing relationships
Keeping healthy relationships is a sign of high emotional intelligence. But keeping the right relationships healthy is a sign of leadership. As you grow, not everyone who you’ve met and established communication with can remain as close to you as they were before.
Leaders know that maintaining a healthy circle of people around them is key to keeping their emotional stability. The last thing they need are employees, partners, or friends with negative attitudes. Sometimes this means family, too. Leaders understand their limits to bringing up and keeping others on their journey before they have to move on. Knowing when can be the difference in their success.
9. They self-evaluate
Self-evaluation is critical to improving. I suggest everyone take up journaling and write down a few areas where they need to improve. Self-evaluating is an excellent technique for staying humble and keeping in mind that you should always be learning. But be careful, because too much can lead to a succession of negative thoughts.
Successful leaders are always looking to better their results. If something is not working, then it requires a change from them. For example, if their company is in trouble or their relationships are deteriorating, they don’t look to blame others, but instead they always ask, “What can I do differently?”
You think you have what it takes to have a high emotional intelligence? If so, time to step up and become a leader.
Featured photo credit: Business Insider via static3.businessinsider.com