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Boost Your Emotional Intelligence With These Simple And Incredible Techniques

Boost Your Emotional Intelligence With These Simple And Incredible Techniques

We’ve all experienced challenges in life that test our emotional intelligence. It’s usually a time when we feel disconnected from others, confused by what is happening, or our emotions got the better of us.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that can mean more connection with the people in your life and a higher ability to cope with these challenging situations. When you read people well and respond in a way that helps everyone feel comfortable, you are onto a good thing. Your relationships are not only more satisfying, you are more likely to make that business deal and deal with that conflict situation in a calm and rational manner.

We could all do with more tips on how to boost our emotional intelligence, so here it is: five things emotionally intelligent people do, that you can practice, too:

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They are aware that working with others is a strength, not a weakness

If you’re emotionally intelligent you’re aware of both your weaknesses and your strengths, and accept both wholeheartedly. You know yourself well enough to understand that having weaknesses is normal; so you are not afraid to ask a colleague for help in order to get the job done. If you’re able to admit defeat and ask for guidance, you can see working as a team and sharing your vulnerability as a strong move. Sharing your problem just became an opportunity for you to grow.

They can take a hit

No one likes being criticized for anything, and most people will react on some level, to a critique of their work. The difference between someone who is emotionally intelligent or not, is, that they will process their emotions differently. They are more self-aware when reacting, manage any unpleasant emotions better, and this could be because they more aware of what might be going on for the person doing the criticizing, able to connect with that reality. Once they have taken a step back and processed their emotions, they can more easily look at the reality of whether the criticism can help them to improve whatever it is they are doing, or not.

Failure doesn’t phase them

Similarly, failure affects everyone, but if you’re emotionally intelligent, you will move on from setbacks quicker and more efficiently than someone who is stuck in self-criticism and doubt. They tend to have an unfaltering self-belief that means they are confident no matter the obstacle or problem, they will still succeed. This means they are less likely to get too upset about the small stuff, and to carry on doing what they love without worrying too much about it.

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They bring the good feeling, even when things are looking dire. They keep their cool outwardly and end up being the kind of people want to follow as a result.

The next time you have a setback, notice what you think about it, and how it makes you feel. If you can spot any self-criticism, change the direction you’re heading in. Try telling yourself instead, that you know this sucks, but at the end of the day, you know you can do it, no matter the obstacle or challenge.

“What was that?…”

When emotionally intelligent people are misunderstood or misheard, they don’t get into a fluster. -It is their aim to communicate effectively with their audience, and nothing will hold them back from getting their message across. So you change your plan instantly to meet their needs. Even when the projector you have been working with breaks down, or you spill coffee down your shirt, or even turn up to an interview in filthy clothes, you get your message across and end up with people appreciating you even more as a result.

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Next time you’re caught off guard, try improvising and enjoying the moment, instead of worrying about what ‘went wrong’. This builds rapport more than any planned interactions ever could.

They see actions and not reactions

Emotionally intelligent people see what actually happens in a conflict, not a blurred version with their judgments mixed into their interpretation of what happened. They are aware of what they felt at the time, but they do not let that color what they actually saw. They know how to take social cues from others at the time to inform them of what’s best to do, and they know how to manage those strong feelings in the moment, so that they don’t get out of hand, and can be calm enough to find a resolution. So next time you find yourself in the middle of a conflict take a deep breath, connect to your feelings first and react from a place of calm to what’s happening.

They’re connected to themselves

Emotionally intelligent people do not rely on the approval of others, nor do they heed their doubtful or negative thoughts.

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Having trained as a computer programmer, I learned early on the principle of ‘garbage in, garbage out’. While this works for creating websites, it also works with our own mental health. The beliefs we choose to believe or the unconfident people we spend our time with can have a huge effect. Sometimes we can’t avoid certain people, but we can add to the amount of positive people we surround ourselves with. So next time someone says something that leaves you feeling unsure of yourself, check your own opinion about it, before believing it to be true.

Connecting to your inner knowing can help free you of worry about what anyone else is saying or doing, and allow you to get on with your life’s work.

I hope these quick tips will help you to practice more emotional intelligence in your own life, so that you feel more able to be yourself, to put your whole self in your work, and to connect deeply with those around you.

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Daniel Owen van Dommelen

Coder, Director, Writer, Human

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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