We need to listen to, guide and empower people as whole human beings.
Emotional intelligence has been correlated with great leadership in a large body of research over the last 20 plus years. There are many ways we can develop our emotional intelligence and several models have been developed to explain what it is.
We are focusing on 4 core stages that build on each other progressively: Self awareness, Other awareness, Self Management and Relationship Management.
Self Awareness is the first and most important foundation to continually develop over time to have the greatest impact on our emotional intelligence. The more we are aware of ourselves the better able we are to understand others and not only manage our selves well, but really manage our relationships, particularly as a leader.
There are lots of ways we can improve our awareness of ourselves such as taking psychometric tests which give us an indication of how similar we are to particular frameworks of personality or characteristics or traits. These tests are often used as part of assessment which go hand in hand with weakness/deficit development and therefore can incorporate a tone of judgement in their application or interpretation.
Creating An Engaging Experience for Leaders
It’s important, more so than ever, to start creating a more engaging learning experience for leaders. They need to focus on developing self-awareness and understanding what is good about us as humans as well as what we bring that is unique and positive that builds our self-esteem and confidence. Understanding our own strengths, embracing those along with our weaknesses can be hugely empowering to help us understand our own authenticity along with our purpose.
To flourish and thrive in work and life people need a sense of meaning and purpose and discovering what that really is helps us identify and apply ourselves to our lives more decisively and intentionally. Not only do we recognise how much this helps with our own intrinsic motivation, but others notice too. If a leader is confident in who they really are and what they really care about most, others can tell and are more likely to trust and feel safe with leaders who consistently show their authenticity in their actions.
Whilst there may be quick wins in completing online tests to know more about our strengths and purpose, we can have deeper and more impactful learning by:
– Exploring our self-awareness through dialogue with others.
– Openly sharing and discussing our personal experiences – we bring our own language and context to understanding ourselves and positively challenge our beliefs and behaviours as a result.
– Learning about ourselves through reflection of our personal life experiences. This makes it easier to apply that learning to our future selves as it is likely to be more directly relevant, which helps us understand more easily than a scenario we cannot recognise.
This approach to increasing self-awareness feels inclusive in that we are not fitting into someone else’s model or framework. Being able to explore and label our own strengths and purpose in the way we best understand them, helps us feel valued as part of this human network, maximising the virtual and global populations we can now reach and feel connected to more easily beyond traditional boundaries.