“How you make others feel about themselves, says a lot about yourself.”

I talked about the difference between leadership and management in the last post. Personally, I clearly recognise to be more of  leadership type persona: I see the world full of possibilities. I will become very passionate and excited about many things. My enthusiasm often leads to inspiring and motivating others. I love to set goals and visions. I recognise relationships between situations and human chemistries. I love to discover people’s strengths and passions.

On the other hand, I am not great in dealing with practicalities and organising. I love generating creative, out-of-the-box ideas, but I may lack the ability to take these ideas on practical level. I do not place much of importance in detailed, maintenance-type tasks. Every personality has their strengths and weaknesses, which of course can be developed when recognised. I will talk more about the relationship between personality and leadership & management later, and on how important is it for anyone to know their personality traits to find their true passions and strengths and utilise them. In this post, I will briefly touch the topic of qualities of conscious leaders derived from Conscious Capitalism, and then go a bit deeper into Emotional Intelligence, mostly based on a great post from Lifehacker.com.

Qualities of Conscious Leaders

Conscious leaders display many of the qualities we most admire in our role models, the people we look up to. They possess qualities we would like to possess too, consciously or unconsciously. They usually find great joy and beauty in their work, and in the opportunity to serve, lead and help shape a better future. Since they are living their calling, they are authentic individuals who are eager to share their passion with others. Being very dedicated to their work, it recharges and energizes them.

Conscious leaders commonly have high analytical, emotional, spiritual and systems intelligence. They also have an orientation toward servant leadership, high integrity and a great capacity for love and care. Being unique individuals, a common feature, however, is that they are self-aware and recognize their own deepest motivations, not trying to be someone they are not. They know who they are and what their purpose is. “Your True North is what you believe at the deepest level, what truly defines you – your beliefs, your values, your passions, and the principles you live by.” – Bill George

Most leaders have high analytical intelligence. We now recognise however, that having a high IQ without also having high emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence and systems intelligence prevents ability to deal with different situations and can be harmful to an organisation. Bad decisions will be made based on short-term considerations that lack a system wide perspective of what is good for all of the interdependent stakeholders over the long term. Relationships, stakeholder management, and a keen appreciation for values and purpose are essential for effective leadership in the complex world of today, and analytical intelligence by itself does not equip leaders to handle these. A crucial difference between the different types of intelligences is that a person’s IQ does not easily change very much after adulthood begins, while emotional, spiritual and systems intelligence can be developed and enhanced all our lives.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is used to describe how well individuals can manage their own emotions and react to the emotions of others, combining intelligence of understanding oneself and understanding others. People who possess EQ have the less obvious skills necessary to get ahead in life, such as managing conflict resolution, reading and responding to the needs of others, and keeping their own emotions from overflowing and disrupting their lives.

The mixed model created by Daniel Goleman has five key areas:

1. Self-Awareness: knowing your own feelings; having an accurate assessment of what you’re capable of, when you need help, and what your emotional triggers are. Being able to know your own feelings is the first step to identifying any problem area you’re facing. Ways to improve your self-awareness:

  • Keep a journal: At the end of every day, write down what happened to you, how you felt, and how you dealt with it. Periodically, look back over your journal and take note of any trends, or any time you overreacted to something.
  • Ask people: Who know you well of where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Write down what they say, compare what they say to each other and, again, look for patterns. Most importantly, don’t argue with them. They don’t have to be correct. You’re just trying to gauge your perception from another’s point of view.
  • Slow down or meditate: Emotions have a habit of getting the most out of control when we don’t have time to slow down or process them. The next time you have an emotional reaction to something, try to pause before you react (go offline!). Meditation is great to slow your brain down and give your emotional state room to breathe.

One strategy I personally use is to go on long walks or have conversations with myself discussing what’s bothering me. Often, I’ll find that the things I say to the imaginary other end of the conversation can give me some insight into what’s really bugging me. The important aspect is to look inwards, rather than focusing solely on external factors.

2. Self-Management: being able to keep your emotions in check when they become disruptive; being able to control outbursts, calmly discussing disagreements, and avoiding activities that undermine you like extended self-pity or panic. Handling your emotions, controlling your outbursts, distinguishing between external triggers and internal over-reactions, and doing what’s best for your needs.

One key way to manage your emotions is to change your sensory input. Giving your physical body a jolt can break the cycle. If you’re feelings sluggish, bothered, dull, stuck in an emotional loop – do some exercise. Anything that can give a slight shock to your system or break the existing routine can help.

3. Motivation

= your inner drive to accomplish something, thought of achieving a meaningful goal. Goleman’s model refers to motivation for the sake of personal joy, curiosity, or the satisfaction of being productive. It consists of:

  • Will for social power; personal fulfillment by having a positive affect on others or towards the greater good
  • Need to connect with others, be around them and do things together
  • Need to accomplish, work towards a meaningful goal. People who find this important strive continuously to enhance their performance, learn new and always strive for better outcome

Everyone has something they want to do with their life. When your motivation is working for you, it connects with reality in tangible ways. Motivated people act towards achieving their goals. Daniel Goleman suggests that in order to start making use of that motivation, you first need to identify your own values. Many of us are so busy that we don’t take the time to examine what our values really are. Use your journal to find times when you’ve felt fulfilled. Create a list of things you value. Most of all, accept the uncertainty in life and just build something.

4. Empathy: skill of reading the emotions of others and responding appropriately.

Your emotions are only one half of all your relationships. It’s the half you focus on the most, sure, but that’s only because you hang out with yourself every day. All the other people that matter to you have their own set of feelings, desires, triggers, and fears. Empathy is your most important skill for navigating your relationships. Empathy is a life-long skill, but here are some tips you can use to practice empathy:

  • Shut up and listen: This is the most important. You can’t experience everyone else’s lives to fully understand them, but you can listen. Listening involves letting someone else talk and then not countering what they say. It means putting aside your preconceptions or skepticism for a bit and allowing the person you’re talking to a chance to explain how they feel. Empathy is hard, but virtually every relationship you have can be improved at least marginally by waiting at least an extra ten seconds before you retake the conversation.
  • Take up a contrary position to your own: One of the quickest ways to solidify an opinion in your mind is to argue in favor of it. To counter this, take up a contrary position. If you think your boss is being unreasonable, try defending their actions in your head. Would you find their actions reasonable if you were in their shoes?
  • Don’t just know, try to understand: Understanding is key to having empathy. As we’ve discussed before, understanding is the difference between knowing something and truly empathizing with it. If you catch yourself saying, “I know, but,” a lot, take that as an indicator that you should pause a bit more. When someone tells you about an experience that’s not your own, take some time to mull over how your life might be different if you experienced that on a daily basis. Read about it until it clicks. It’s okay if you don’t spend all your time devoted to someone else’s life, but putting in just some time—even if it’s idle thought time while you work—can be beneficial.

By definition, empathy means getting in the emotional dirt with someone else. Allowing their experiences to resonate with your own and responding appropriately. It’s okay to offer advice or optimism, but empathy also requires that you wait for the right space to do that. Be mindful of people’s feelings and allow them space to feel it.

5. Social Skills: application of empathy as well as negotiating the needs of others with your own. This can include finding common ground with others, managing others in a work environment, and being persuasive.

Social competence takes many forms – it’s more than just being chatty. These abilities range from being able to tune into another person’s feelings and understand how they think about things, to being a great collaborator and team player, to expertise at negotiation. All these skills are learned in life. We can improve on any of them we care about, but it takes time, effort, and perseverance. It helps to have a model, someone who embodies the skill we want to improve. But we also need to practice whenever a naturally occurring opportunity arises – and it may be listening to a teenager, not just a moment at work.” Daniel Goleman

Resolving a conflict, for example, can be one of the best ways to learn how to apply your emotional skills. Social skills also involve meeting new people , socializing with people of different mindsets , or just playing games . Disputes are best resolved when you know what you want, can communicate it clearly, understand what someone else wants, and come to favorable terms for everyone. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that this involves every other area of the emotional intelligence model

Sources:

Lifehacker

Conscious Capitalism, 2013 John Mackey & Raj Sisodia

Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman

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