Leaders Build Relationships
Our upcoming book, The Shift from Me to Team, is in production! We will continue to share excerpts we hope will resonate with you and inform your approach to work. This week, we touch on the concept of emotional intelligence and its importance in relationship building.
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Great leaders today and, more increasingly, tomorrow will need to be relationship builders inside and outside the organization. These relationships start with caring about and respecting team members at all levels of the organization. A key to caring and relationship building is understanding our emotional intelligence.
Psychologists who study emotional intelligence, including Peter Salovey, Robert Sternberg, and Daniel Goleman, describe it as the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions. Emotional intelligence includes the following elements:
- self-awareness – the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions as they happen, and understand the links between thoughts, feelings, and reactions
- self-management – the ability to manage one’s emotions, including, for example, by self-soothing, and the ability to harness emotions in service of a goal
- social awareness – the ability to identify and understand emotions in others, understand subtle social signals, and be empathetic
- relationship management – the ability to understand how others feel, and then behave in a way to shape those feelings; the ability to listen well and ask good questions
How we make others feel impacts a team member’s ability to think and act. Starting with our self-awareness that we are doing the best we can and are open to learning and growing, we can be vulnerable on our journey to deeply care about team members. In doing so, team members will learn they are in a safe, secure place. When there is deep caring from the leader, it is an emotional feeling of being seen, heard, and understood. The leader’s words are not as important as the leader’s emotions and feelings. New leaders who deeply care can jump in vulnerably and stumble with the words, but the caring will be felt and understood. This is a foundation for the intrinsic stability of your team.