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As you embarked on your journey to develop good leadership skills, you have probably come into contact with the term, Emotional Intelligence or EQ.  While many use this term in their management endeavors, few truly understand its implications. So, what is Emotional Intelligence?  EQ is the demonstration of good leadership skills by leaders who are self aware, self regulating, motivated, empathetic, and possess great social skills.

Leaders with a high degree of Emotional Intelligence, as we've discussed, Do The Right Thing.  They come to the table with the right technical and knowledge based skills, or “table stakes”.  Because Emotional Intelligence is a part of their good leadership skills, these leaders inspire and drive those around them. 

Let’s dive into a little more detail about each of the components of Emotional Intelligence so that you can begin practicing it in your day to day interactions with your employees and teams.

Emotional Intelligence Starts with Self Awareness

Self-Awareness is about recognizing and understanding your emotions, moods, and values.  These aspects have great affects to those around you.  The self-aware leader is confidant and realistic about his/her strengths and opportunities and uses this to inspire those around them.

Does the Leader let his/her emotion and mood affect others?  No, that’s where Self-Regulation comes into play.  Leaders with high Emotional Intelligence levels, or EQ, have the ability to control their emotions and to think before acting.  They are not easily flustered and are comfortable with ambiguity and change.  This is often times a hard skill set to master as a great deal of practice occurs under high stress.  In these situations, it is crucial to take a momentary step back to assess the situation, remind yourself of the goals, allowing you to act in a calculated and exact fashion even in the most challenging situations.

A Leader with Strong Emotional Intelligence is Goal Oriented 

Leaders demonstrating Emotional Intelligence are motivated by intrinsic versus extrinsic values.  They have the desire to achieve goals, not a focus on money or prestige. The leader is optimistic, particularly during trying times.  This motivation lends itself to great aspiration and accomplishment and in turn inspires those around them.

Interpersonal Relationships Are Key

While leaders demonstrating Emotional Intelligence are persistent in the achievement of goals, they do not ignore the emotions of others.  This type of leader always shows empathy for others as they have learned this is a part of good leadership skills.  They strive to understand the emotional makeup of others, value diversity, and take that into consideration during interactions.  Because of this desire to understand the makeup of others, they tend to build and retain talent while having a strong customer centric focus.

Given that leaders with Emotional Intelligence are empathetic and self-aware, is it any surprise they have good Social Skills?  This type of leader is proficient at building and managing relationships, as well as establishing common ground.  They are able to influence others, lead through change, and build strong teams.  This ability to build relationships and their solid people skills allows the emotionally intelligent leader to influence others through change and to inspire them to take on new endeavors.

With the diversity of a leader practicing Emotional Intelligence, it’s no wonder that some of the power house companies of today achieve such great heights.  This is, at least in part, due to the leaders at the helm.  We have all heard stories of the Sam Walton’s or Jack Welch’s that led their companies to glory, but it’s only after some reflection that we understand the good leadership skills they used to do so.