How leadership embodies emotional and social intelligence

Your emotional intelligence builds your self-mastery, and your social intelligence develops your ability to influence through the interaction with others.

In highly complex matrix organisations, this is critical. Those leaders who are regarding as strong emotionally and socially intelligent leaders demonstrate that they are:

  1. Open minded and respect differences
  2. Practice active listening
  3. Demonstrate humility, acknowledging and apologising for mistakes
  4. Manage criticism without denial, blame or excuses
  5. Pays close attention to what, and who, is around them
"Emotional and social intelligence is a continuous journey of learning and refining your skills."

To get you started we have collated the 10 most effective ways to increase your emotional and social intelligence.

10 Ways to Increase Your Emotional and Socially Intelligence

  1. Be assertive when you communicate.

Emotionally and socially intelligent people know how to balance their assertive communication style, so they don’t come across as too aggressive or too passive but do communicate their message directly whilst respecting others. Getting this right earns respect. Most people appreciate an honest opinion expressed in a non-judgmental, non-critical way.

  1. Practice active listening

In conversations, emotionally and socially intelligent people are good at listening to others. They respectfully listen for genuine understanding and clarity instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. They make sure they fully understand the content and context of what is being said before responding, not reacting. They pay particular attention to the nonverbal details of a conversation including body language, facial expressions, and tone of the voice.

  1. Respectfully respond, don’t react.

When communicating, emotionally and socially intelligent people take the time to think before acting or speaking impulsively. They know how to stay calm during stressful situations and are conscious not to have emotional outbursts when experiencing situations of conflict. They understand that in times of conflict the goal is a resolution, and they make a conscious choice to focus on ensuring that their actions and words are in alignment with that.

  1. Are always motivated.

Emotionally and socially intelligent people are self-motivated. Their consistent motivation strengthens their resilience giving them the confidence to face challenges straight on. They set goals and work hard to achieve them. Their unrelenting attitude naturally motivates others around them.

  1. Practice self-awareness.

Emotionally and socially intelligent people are self-aware and intuitive. They are aware of their own emotions and how they can affect those around them.  They don’t react, judge, or impulsively respond. They pause and are consciously aware of their words and actions. They are also highly aware of other people’s emotions and body language and use that information to adapt or enhance their own communication skills.

  1. Maintain an optimist outlook.

Emotionally and socially intelligent people have an optimistic outlook, a growth mindset, and a positive attitude. They are aware of their own mood and how it can impact others. They are also aware of the mood of those around them. A negative and fixed mindset can easily impact and influence others if a person allows it to. They consciously focus on having an optimistic outlook.

  1. Manage criticism without denial, blame or excuses

An important part of increasing your emotional intelligence is to be able to take criticism without denial, blame, or excuses. Instead of getting offended or defensive, high EQ people take a few moments to understand where the critique is coming from, how it is affecting others or their own performance and how they can constructively resolve any issues. They view it as a learning opportunity and remain connected to the learning process.

  1. Empathize with others.

Emotionally and socially intelligent people know how to empathize with others. They understand how to relate to others, put themselves in their shoes to understand their perspective in a non-judgemental manner. They are open-minded and respectful to differences in perspectives, cultures, opinions, experiences, and mindsets. They understand that empathy is a trait that shows emotional strength, not weakness. When people sense empathy, they connect with you better.

  1. Be approachable and sociable.

Emotionally and socially intelligent people are approachable. They are engaging and have a positive presence when in social situations. They utilize appropriate social skills based on their relationship with those around them. They have great interpersonal skills and know how to communicate clearly, whether the communication is verbal or nonverbal. They learn how to connect well with people, making them feel comfortable in their presence making them feel like they are being listened to and understood.

  1. Develop strong leadership skills.

Emotionally and socially intelligent people have strong leadership skills. They take their leadership role seriously and lead by example. Utilizing all the 1-9 points explained above they can make great decisions and problem solve, taking initiative for a higher and more productive level of performance.

Emotional and social intelligence involves a basic understanding of human nature, plus a skill set for how to successfully manage emotions and interact with people. These are skills you can improve overtime with learning and practice. Some actions may be easier to adopt immediately whilst others require more rigorous practice and discipline. As an emerging or seasoned leader, at a frontline or executive level, your emotional and social intelligence differentiates the good from the extraordinary.


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