Are Great Leaders Born?
Are great leaders born? Some would say so but I think that great leaders are nurtured for success. How would you describe a great leader? I’d say that she would have purpose, self-confidence, fearlessness and determination. You could also say that many people (who are not necessarily leaders) have purpose, self-confidence and determination, but I believe that great leaders have Emotional Intelligence – this is their defining characteristic. There are a few definitions on Emotional Intelligence but I love the way the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” It is crucial to have Emotional Intelligence as a leader, I’ve listed six reasons why. Let’s have a look:
Everyone feels that being respected in the workplace is very important, regardless of your title. Leaders feel this way more so than ever, especially in a diverse workplace. You can tell that Emotionally Intelligent leaders continually show respect forward all their employees. They also exercise self-respect. You’ll notice this by the way they take pride and confidence in their abilities. It reflects in the people they manage. Great leaders tend not to be disrespectful towards their employees when mistakes are made. They understand that getting the best out of people requires everyone to be treated the same. Perhaps be more aware of how you show respect and see if changing your approach works for you.
Here’s the deal: Employees look to their leaders on ways to respond when issues arise. Whether big or small, when a crisis hits, great leaders tend to stay calm and not overreact. They are able exude confidence when making decisions and don’t second guess their decisions. Great leaders are confident in their decisions – this rubs off on the people they lead and reassures their fears. I find that being able to inspire people brings such a great feeling. It makes you and your employees feel good. At Feel Good Leadership, one of our goals of the High-Achieving Women’s Leadership Academy is to teach practical, purposeful and measurable leadership strategies that will give you the confidence to develop your own people and organisation. Having confidence will help you achieve your goals with energy, determination and drive!
Leaders who possess emotional intelligence have compassion and are aware of the emotions of others – it is a very admirable quality. Showing compassion, you’ll discover that people are more attracted to you for being genuinely interested in the wellbeing of others. It shows that there is culture of respect and consideration. Having compassion, it’s an expression of self-realisation, that life is more valued than our work success. It also improves our well-being and vitality, which is one of the core Feel Good Leadership models.
Great leaders constantly share their vision with their employees so that everyone is on the same page. Having compassion and being confident is not enough if you’re not able to effectively communicate your vision. Often Emotionally Intelligent leaders are able to master the skill of effective communication. Furthermore their clear and concise communication techniques inspire and motivate. All employees feel that they better understand what is expected of them and it builds confidence and belief in their leader. Try to work on improving your communication skills. This can develop help your Emotional Intelligence.
Courage and Heart
Many leaders focus on being analytical in the workplace. It doesn’t help to be over analytical though as it can come across as being cold and calculating. Winston Churchill once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” I think that he meant that any failure, we should show courage by getting up, dusting ourselves off and trying again. Leaders who show that courage and passion connect with people on an emotional level. You’ll come across as being a warm, friendly and relatable person.
Leaders that are self-aware recognise their strengths and weaknesses, which is vital. They can effectively manage their own emotions and thoughts, support, and build up employees. One thing that I love to do is promote a positive, dynamic and open work culture – you’re able to build positive relationships and have a better collaborative team spirit. It will also lead to less conflict in the workplace and it grows your employee’s confidence – making them feel good about themselves too.
Developing Emotional Intelligence
To summarise: Great leaders are extremely aware of their leadership style and how they influence others. They can identify, understand their own emotions and are able to use those emotions to empower others. They have courage and heart, can effectively communicate with their teams, and have compassion and respect towards everyone. Great leaders are also confident and feel good about what they do. I hope that you’ll be inspired to try and incorporate some of these ideas to develop your Emotional Intelligence.
About the Author
Jenny Rossiter is a leading coach and human behaviour specialist and founder of Feel Good Leadership. Author of The Masks that Men Wear and The Masks That Women Wear, for more than 20 years she has delivered practical strategies and techniques to form healthy habits. Because people who feel good achieve extraordinary things.