From the above scenarios, if a leader lacks personal and social competence, he cannot emotionally connect with his followers. Basically, leadership is a process – it’s not automatic. The leaders have to understand the art of influencing the followers, which requires the leader to apply different leadership styles in any given situation. Personally, my own leadership framework is to make things clear to my followers. I adopt different approach and at different times. This could be democratic style, in order to seek other peoples’ opinion; autocratic style, when the followers must be compelled to carry out an instruction; and laissez-faire style, when followers can be allowed to take decisions and report back to me. For a leader to maximize his influence and lead his followers effectively, he must possess all these styles of leadership. When he lacks the ability to combine these styles, he becomes emotionally unintelligent, of which makes his leadership unbearable to his followers.
The question now is: How would today’s leaders at workplace begin to apply emotional intelligence in their dealings with their people? As John C. Maxwell said, "People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision". Meaning, the leaders’ actions and attitudes toward those he is leading are closely watched. His success as a leader is judged by his “influence” and to what extent the followers are willing to follow his lead. And it is very interesting to know that a leader cannot influence those he is not willing to connect with on an emotional level. There is an adage that says, know them well to work better with them—this is emotional intelligence in action. As Henry Ford puts it, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” The Leaders’ success in working together with his followers begins by first seeking to understand and know the personalities of each team member he is leading. Once that is achieved, the leader can then spot what motivates each individual team member. In so doing, he can be able to position them according to their area of strength so they can achieve maximum performance. Finally, we should know that emotional intelligence isn’t talent we are born with; rather it is a skill that is learned. Therefore, building one's emotional intelligence as a leader has a lifelong impact not only for our own well-being but to our relationships with others.
As a leader, to be emotionally intelligent you should note the following:
(1). Become Conscious of your Emotion: Understand your emotional make-up, and observe your emotional reactions to other people. A lot of times we assume we don’t bring emotions to work but that isn’t true. We all carry emotional baggage (like anger, resentment, offence, rage, bitterness etc.), and how we deal with it matters. It all begins by recognizing it and then exercising some safety valves to avoid emotional outburst that could be detrimental to your work and relationships.
(2). Stay Positive: Since positive emotions are the key to health, happiness and well being, the more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area. Staying positive enables you build your mental energy. If you do not consume all your energy units in the expression of negative emotions, such as fear, doubt, anger, and resentment, your emotional energies are conserved.
(3). Control your Anger: You’ve probably heard someone described as “shaking with anger.” When a person is shaking with anger, it is an indication that he has burned up the glucose or sugar-based energy in his system, and he is actually weak from his angry outburst. Anger is a deadly negative emotion that can sap your mental energy to think properly and relate well with others.
(4). Learn to Let Go: Don’t take things too personal. To build emotional intelligence, you should learn not to take offence. Emotionally intelligent people stand back and refuse to take things personally even when other people upset them. They do not allow themselves to get drawn into arguments or other people’s matters. They save their energy for more productive purposes. Never forget—life is too short to make it a boring adventure. So, learn to forgive and forget and life goes on.
(5). Look For Good In Others: Long before leadership books were in vogue, Andre Malraux, French novelist and statesman, reminded us that one of the central objectives of a leader is to make others aware of the greatness that lies in them. Be known in your organization as someone who is always on the lookout for what is right with people. It engenders good will and is good for personal and business success.
(5).Consciously Build Relationship: No man is an island. You need people, close associates, and formidable team of network to achieve success and greatness in life. As Michael Skye wrote: “Life is too short to play small, too short to try to figure everything out yourself or do it all yourself. Look out for those who are the best at what they do that you are also doing, and learn from them.” Relating with people by building solid relationship with them, helps you develop emotional intelligence.
See you at the Top!
Dr. Elvis UKPAKA
Author. Trainer. Coach. Consultant
Lead Consultant, Visiondrivers Mgt. Consulting
+234 810 654 5127, +234 817 123 5284