Why Leading with Emotional Intelligence is the Mark of a True Leader

People need love, support and respect. Help them, understand them and they will start understanding You

How you make your employees feel at work place is the true assessment of your skills as a leader. Emotional well- being of the employees is often under-rated in work-place culture. However employers often overlook the fact that if employees are emotionally disturbed, it can affect their behaviour and as a consequence their productivity .

Emotions are deep-rooted in our personality and they form an indispensable part of our existence. Can we imagine our world without emotions? The answer is, No we cannot. Not a single day passes by without experiencing an emotion. Consider how you feel about things that happen to you or happen around you. There is a whole repository of emotions within us – joy, sorrow, frustration, anger, compassion, love, jealousy, boredom or enthusiasm which affects our behaviour, communication and also our relationships. Emotions affect our mental and physical health. So for a leader it is absolutely essential to evolve his emotional intelligence.

More than ever than now is the time when a leader need to display exceptional emotional stability and courage because the world is dealing with a pandemic. The pandemic has destabilized both personal and professional life. It has made people vulnerable, anxious and lonely. Loss, grief, despair and depression have been some of the most common emotions that we have witnessed as a community during the present crisis.

Majority of the people have suffered and are still suffering ever since the onset of the pandemic in 2019. Without a ray of doubt the pandemic has exposed the fears of people and put them under stress. With remote working and work from home scenario, there are many who have found solace in the company of loved ones but there is a larger community that is struggling and juggling between work and family; job commitments and moral obligations; disease and deadlines; loss and survival.

So how and what can keep them afloat? It is the emotions that hold us together in such challenging times. Managing emotions is necessary to make people comfortable.

Emotional Management is possible only when we understand emotions and allow people to express themselves without guilt or remorse. People often fear to reveal their emotions because emotions are associated with weakness, they are considered as a sign of feeble- minded, nervous people who are not stable enough to manage their lives

As a leader, one has to play the role of a mentor. Responsibility of a leader is not restricted to meeting targets and achieving goals it is also related to giving the team members a happy and safe environment to work. The performance, participation and engagement of each member contributes to the overall success. In a time when maximum number of employees are unable to provide their best due to Covid-19 situation and lack of resources, a leader has to lead with courage and compassion.

When people hold back unprocessed emotions, it steals them of their potential, abilities, commitment, curiosity and their mental peace. It restricts them to engage, involve and participate in various job responsibilities with single-minded devotion. When the heart is ailing and wounds are unhealed the mind cannot be at peace. It is but natural that employess will lack focus and will fail to give their cent percent.

So how can leaders sensitise themselves towards emotional needs of their people? Developing and building a work culture which offers space to think beyond professional life and takes into account the human nature can help mitigate the losses caused due to emotional emergency or outbursts.

Here are five ways to help a leader lead his team through emotional intelligence and confidence. Emotional stability and confidence are interlinked parameters and one would directly affect the other.

1. Evolve Social Competence: Sitting alone in the office and confining oneself to one’s personal space distances you from rest of the group. Get active, get involved. Take interest in people, converse, mingle, drink coffee, socialise.

2. Practice Empathetic Listening: Train yourself to be an empathetic listener. Ask questions about the well- being of employees. Offer support and encouragement just by being a good listener. Sometimes that is all that people want.

3. Be broadminded and agreeable: Be willing to listen, tolerate and forgive people. Narrow minded approach will create more barriers. Negativity will breed toxicity. Toxic emotions will further build up and make the situation worse. If as a leader you are able to drive yourself through emotional courage you will appear more agreeable. It is easier for people to approach someone who is willing to resolve issues without losing temper and being nasty.

4. Use language to set the appropriate context and help people unburden themselves: Thoughts register in our brain either through words or images. Words help to create meaning. Choose the words carefully to suit the context. Language is a powerful tool of building trust and instilling confidence. Right words at the right time can create all the difference. It is said that leadership is a possibility in language. Choose words to inspire, motivate, and acknowledge people. Make them feel understood, connected and valuable. Language is a tool for building bridges.

5. Be Strong: A strong leader can act like an anchor person. Your exemplary courage will inspire the team to stay calm, to act bravely. It will show them the path when in doubt. You can lead them through difficult times with mental toughness and resilience. You can be their lighthouse in hours of despair, you can be the sun when the world fights darkness. Be stronger. Lead with courage and emotional stability.

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