If you aspire to be in a leadership role, career progression goes beyond technical skills and teamwork. One of the top identifiable abilities identified in future leaders is emotional intelligence. The term “Emotional Intelligence” was first coined in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey and later popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman. They define emotional intelligence as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. Goleman highlights emotional intelligence as the #1 skill a leader can have.

The four components of emotional intelligence are

  • Self-awareness – the ability to understand your strengths and weaknesses and how to recognize how your emotions affect yourself and others.
  • Self- management – the ability to manage your emotions and maintain a positive outlook.
  • Social awareness – the ability to recognize others’ emotions and how to read the room.
  • Relationship management – the ability to coach, influence, mentor, and bond with others.

While you might be able to perform your job effectively without emotional intelligence, it’s likely you won’t make it far on the management track if you don’t have some degree of EQ. Like most skills, there are ways to increase your emotional intelligence.

  1. Practice Active Listening – Active listening requires leaders to spend more time listening than talking. Active listening makes sure listeners are truly understanding what is being communicated and prevents misunderstandings, miscommunications, and conflict.
  2. Maintain a Positive Attitude – A positive attitude has a big effect on others. It can be contagious during a stressful project and helps others have a good day and keep an optimistic outlook.
  3. Practice Self-Awareness – Self-awareness is one of the key components of emotional intelligence, and it is important for leaders to take a look at their own emotions, abilities, and effect on those around them.
  4. Empathize with Others – Empathy is important for a team leader. Understanding and empathizing with employees shows emotional strength and respect.
  5. Read, Learn and Grow – Like any skill, emotional intelligence can be learned and practiced. There are countless books, articles, and thought leaders on the subject to study and learn from.