LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report showed that 92% of talent professionals and hiring managers say soft skills are just as important–or more important–than hard skills. Emotional intelligence (EQ) includes soft skills such as collaboration and relationship building. EQ is what makes working with someone enjoyable—not just effective. So, this blog post covers three ways to cultivate emotional intelligence as a leader.
Emotionally intelligent leaders are adaptable. They have a can-do attitude and are willing to imagine new operating methods. Adaptability was the secret sauce to why some businesses thrived during the Covid-19 pandemic while others died.
There are two types of change that require adaptability—forced change and proactive change. You don’t have a choice regarding forced change, but you have control over how you respond. Choose to be adaptable, and let the Holy Spirit guide you in all truth and wisdom. (See John 16:13)
On the other hand, proactive change is change that you can choose. Proactive change involves adapting to better practices that champion personal growth and organizational growth. A growth mindset is one of the foundation components of emotional intelligence as a leader. Invest in yourself, read books, listen to podcasts, attend conferences, and pursue relationships with people who push you to grow.
2. Collaboration (vs. Competition)
Emotional intelligence as a leader requires a willingness to work with others. It can be tempting to do everything yourself. Andrew Carnegie said, “No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.” The Bible makes it plain—there is no room for competition in the Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:18-22 says, “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’”
As Christian leaders, we really need to meditate on that scripture and take it to heart. Your job is not more important than another person’s job. We need for each other. The quickest way to stunt the growth of your organization is to hoard the work. You must delegate, collaborate, and champion the growth of the people you lead. Though the work is important, people will always be your greatest investment. You get pulled up by association.
3. Effective Communication
Communication is not what you say; it’s what the other person hears. This is easier said than done. Emotional intelligence as a leader will require you to work overtime in order to communicate effectively.
The first key to emotionally intelligent communication is empathy. Seek to understand before you’re understood. Can you recall a conversation where you felt truly seen? When an emotionally intelligent leader talks to someone, that someone feels like they’re the most important person in the room.
Once you’ve connected and affirmed, say what you need to say. Ask questions to gauge whether or not your audience heard what you intended for them to hear. I’m not trying to be too transactional, but the reality is that an effective conversation isn’t much different than an effective business deal. Three words apply—verify, verify, verify. Don’t assume you understand, and don’t assume they understood.