In case you missed it, here is another article with practical tips.

In 2019, leaders told us time after time that emotional intelligence helped them conquer their toughest challenges at work. Whether going into a difficult conversation with a colleague, motivating a team, or dealing with the stresses of the unknown, leaders relied on their EQ to keep their emotions in check and model positive behaviors.

Emotional intelligence skills help you deal with stress and model positive behaviors.

“When you occupy a leadership role, you are required to anticipate and control your emotions, understand emotions felt by others, and continually adjust your communication style to fit varying situations. In other words, leadership performance relies heavily on emotional intelligence. It’s vital for leaders to nurture the growth of their EQ in order to practice genuinely effective leadership,” says Malhotra.

With 2020 fast approaching, it’s wise to add emotional intelligence development to the top of your list of resolutions. We gathered some of the best tips we shared in 2019 to help you lead with emotional intelligence in the year ahead and tackle difficult situations that come your way.

1. Counteract the fight or flight response

Think back to a difficult situation you dealt with in 2019. Maybe work piled up, deadlines were missed, or a co-worker was getting on your last nerve. Did you want to scream? Run? Fight? Emotional intelligence can help you pause, breathe, and take notice of how stressful situations affect you.

“In critical conversations, avoid triggering the fight-or-flight threat response by creating a sense of safety,” says Halelly Azulay, CEO of TalentGrow. “Ensure that the conversation is based on constructive intentions – and communicate those openly.”

Doing this consistently takes a lot of practice. “The key to not reacting emotionally in critical conversations is to learn to regulate our emotions,” Azulay notes. “Three ways from scientific research to regulate our emotions during critical conversations are labeling our emotions, reframing them, and becoming more mindful and present to the moment by shutting off the internal ‘narrator’ in our head.”

2. De-personalize criticism of your work

Jaeson Paul, senior strategist at CI&T wrote a five-step process for dealing with negative feedback from a colleague, and it’s a master class in emotional intelligence. He recommends that we de-personalize the message when people criticize our work.

“Our natural response is the opposite of this,“ he points out. “They say ‘that color is not working,’ and we hear ‘you are bad at picking colors.’ They say ‘this rollout strategy is not thought through,’ and we hear ‘you are a bad strategic thinker.’

“Instead, consciously keep the focus on the work itself, where it belongs,” Paul advises. “If you are so attached to the work that even that feels like a personal attack, it’s a signal to reevaluate your relationship with the product. You are the work’s way into the world, not the work itself.”

3. Prepare for the unexpected

Margery Myers, a consultant and coach with Bates Communications, shares a method for dealing with sudden or unexpected issues: It’s dubbed, appropriately, “ABC.” We can think of a number of other stressful situations that the “ask-breathe-count” approach can be applied to in order to keep negative emotions from derailing your day.

  • First, ask questions. Instead of reacting, ask for more information. “That is a great way to make other people feel heard and for you to learn more about a situation, as long as they are non-judgmental questions,” Myers says. “It is also a way to put a pause in the situation and buy some time to think.”
  • Second, breathe. Take a few deep breaths. “Breath control is an important method to refocus the brain when you are feeling tense or emotional,” says Myers. “Breathe in through your nose on a count of three and exhale on a count of three, to calm and focus yourself.”
  • Third, count. Pick a number that works for you – three, ten, whatever. Then, when confronted with a tense or emotional situation, count to that number to give yourself time to get control of your emotions and respond more calmly.

4. Embrace what you don’t know

Do the words “I don’t know” make you feel defeated? Use emotional intelligence to recognize this as a perfectionist tendency, then reframe it as an opportunity – to make a connection, learn something new, or solve a problem.

“Perfectionists think they need to be in the know,” says psychologist and executive coach Dr. Melanie Katzman. “Don’t understand what’s being asked of you? Pick up the phone – or better yet, walk down the hall. Have a verbal interaction. Sometimes the person requesting your services doesn’t really know what they want, but together, you can articulate the ‘right’ question.”

How are your listening skills? Let’s explore:

5. Listen to what people really mean

Leaders who master emotional intelligence gain a superpower – the ability to hear not only what someone is saying, but also understand what they really mean. Dr. Steven J. Stein, founder and executive chairman of Multi-Health Systems, calls this “listening with a third ear.”

“It’s not just what somebody says to you, it’s also the underlying message,” Stein says. “What do they really mean? When somebody says they’re fine, for example, is that really true? Or is there more going on in their life that they’re avoiding talking about for now?” Emotional intelligence helps leaders gather data beyond what is being said.

Leaders also have the power to elicit more emotional intelligent behaviors from their teams by modeling the behaviors they wish to see – and applying self-control to suppress their own negative responses and thought-patterns, notes Janele Lynn, owner of the Lynn Leadership Group.

6. Find your mindset sweet spot

Drew Bird, founder of The EQ Development Group, explains how emotional intelligence can help leaders find apatheia, a state of being where you care appropriately about what is going on around you but are not disproportionately impacted or affected by these external events.

“We don’t want to be so emotionally close to others that they can have too much of an impact (what we call enmeshment), nor do we want to be so far away from them that we become uncaring (dissociation),” Bird explains. “When you are in an enmeshed state, you may care way too much about someone else’s behavior, actions, or beliefs, even when their actual impact on you is minimal.”

7. Practice empathy every day

Empathy is a hallmark of emotional intelligence, and it’s one that leaders can practice every day. Bringing phrases such as “I hear you,” “I understand,” and “Are you OK?” into your daily vocabulary is a simple way to show empathy and continually improve your understanding of others’ emotions.

“There are times that people are not able to be the best, most productive versions of themselves. In times such as these, the response of emotionally intelligent leaders is not to berate them for missing a deadline or allowing the quality of work to slip. It’s to ask them, in an empathetic way, whether they are OK,” says Colin D. Ellis, author of The Conscious Project Leader. “The wellbeing of other people is uppermost in their minds, and this is just one way that they show it.”

By Enterprisers Project (Source Link)