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9 Aspects Of Emotional Intelligence Possessed By Every Successful Leader

9 Aspects Of Emotional Intelligence Possessed By Every Successful Leader

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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