Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

 Leadership is far from a simple subject. In fact, trying to characterize effective leadership by a few common traits or attributes is no easy task. However, there is a high correlation between effective leadership and emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is a term that best describes the ability to be self-aware and self-accepting. It also involves the ability to effectively manage your emotions, as well as establish mutually satisfying relationships. Emotional intelligence is critical to your leadership success. Emotional intelligence increases individual performance, leadership effectiveness and organizational productivity.

In many instances, we are all too eager to analyze and diagnose those around us, while remaining a virtual stranger to ourselves. Self-awareness and self-acceptance are the building blocks for self-worth and high self-esteem. Self-awareness requires more than simply gaining self-knowledge, but understanding yourself and becoming keenly aware of your emotional state. Let’s be clear…self awareness is not about being self-conscious or overly self-critical. Self-consciousness is like a parasite that eats away at your self-worth and self-esteem. People who are self-conscious are often extremely judgmental of both themselves and others. Nothing they do is ever quite good enough. They exaggerate every flaw, and magnify every imperfection. At the same time, they are constantly striving for perfection. These people are typically not very happy with themselves, in a personal or professional sense.

Self-acceptance requires some level of emotional and social maturity. Self-acceptance can often be confused with “self-confidence,” although they are far from synonymous. I know several people that are incredibly self-confident, and yet they lack self-awareness. They are knowledgeable and confident about many subjects, and still lack personal awareness and self-knowledge. In the absence of self awareness and self acceptance, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to effectively manage one’s emotions, because we are more likely to personalize everything. In these instances, we become hyper-sensitive, easily offended, and overly defensive. Self acceptance involves understanding one’s unique self, especially strengths and weaknesses. People who are self-accepting are genuinely happy with themselves. While they may work toward self-development, they are generally satisfied with who they are, on a fundamental level.

Managing your emotions is the key to engaging and retaining talent.

The most effective leaders quickly learn the impact of emotional intelligence on productivity and profitability. Successful relationship management is a skill set that deeply impacts every area of our lives. Unfortunately, most of us would rather move straight into managing our relationships, before learning to effectively manage ourselves. These relationships typically don’t end well. Healthy people are far more likely to produce healthy relationships. These emotionally intelligent relationships can be incredibly affirming, as well as fulfilling. Yet, for many of us, tolerance seems to replace acceptance, leaving us insecure and uncertain about who we are. Understanding and knowing yourself is the key to self-optimization.

Learning yourself today is the key to knowing what to develop about yourself tomorrow. It’s time to become a subject matter expert on yourself! You are a subject worth exploring.

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Dr. Veronica Cochran

Veronica Cochran, DD, RN, BSN, MTh, president and founder of L.I.F.E. Concepts, has a passion for developing leaders. A seasoned leader herself, Veronica has served in a variety of managerial and executive leadership roles throughout her 20+-year career. A wife of 25 years and mother of two, she seeks to broaden the concept of leadership, exploring topics that support the purpose and practice of authentic leadership. Her aim is to promote an "it's me" philosophy of leadership that permeates beyond titles and formal positions while spreading the belief that leadership is for everyone.

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