The core of leadership is making great decisions. Any good leader knows how to make the right decision for the right time—that’s why they’re the leader! And to make better decisions, it’s important to have high emotional intelligence.
So, how can we increase emotional intelligence? It comes down to four aspects of emotional intelligence:
- Social awareness
- Social management
Let’s look at each of these four areas of emotional intelligence so you can grow in them and help you make better decisions and, therefore, be a better leader.
This is the first area of emotional intelligence, and potentially the most important. It’s the ability to understand what’s going on inside of you and then apply it to what’s going on externally. With self-awareness, you can read your emotions in the moment and discern emotional triggers in your life.
For example, you might find conflict or confrontation difficult. But when you have self-awareness, you can see that you are avoiding a tough conversation because you don’t want to make someone upset. And once you see how you are handling (or avoiding) the situation, you can better overcome your fear or anxiety about it.
When you’re able to see your triggers and understand the emotions you are feeling, you can better manage those emotions. You can be more deliberate in how you handle situations because you are aware of how you might react or respond in a situation.
If you’re going into a potentially triggering event, you can use some healthy practices to get through the experience in a positive way. For example, you can practice deep breathing or calming techniques before moving into a potentially triggering event.
The next aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to read others in the moment—social awareness. This is important because we work with people all the time in professional settings. Social awareness includes the ability to read expressions in someone’s face, even if they are just “micro” expressions or not very obvious.
If you can read the facial expressions and body language of other people, you gain data about what to do and how to act in the moment.
Social and relationship management
When it comes to decision-making, you need data and input from other people. Some people are hesitant to share their thoughts or opinions in certain scenarios. But if you have strong relationship management skills, then you know how to draw them out and make people feel comfortable.
When people are comfortable, they are willing to share and provide data and information you need to make a good decision in the moment.
Emotional intelligence is at the heart of good decision-making as a leader. That’s because it’s about knowing and managing both yourself and other people. Through emotional intelligence, you’re able to manage your triggers, understand other people, and connect with them relationally. All these things will help you become a better leader by making good decisions in the moment.