September 4th, 2023

Emotional intelligence is a term that has taken the spotlight a lot over the past few years, and for good reason. As a leader, how you handle your emotions, both good and bad, can have a direct impact on your success or failure as a leader. And as a business coach for more than 25 years, I have seen a lot of good businesses struggle because of emotionally immature leaders and managers, and I have seen just as many businesses turn their growth trajectory around when a leader learns how to manage their emotions and help their team members do the same. So today I want to address emotional intelligence and discuss ways that you can harness that intelligence to grow your business even faster.

Taking Inventory

Being introspective about your emotional health and well-being can be difficult for many leaders. It takes not only thinking about your behaviors in the past but also being able to recognize your emotions in the moment and make adjustments as needed. The first step is to think about how you have typically behaved in the past when you felt excited, scared, anxious, out of control, or triggered by something. Emotional intelligence is about recognizing things that may spark emotions for you in your business and day-to-day life, and understanding the why behind those reactions and feelings. It’s about having the understanding that you are reacting a certain way, that that behavior is negative or positive, and stopping or changing your reaction for the good of your business and your team. And for many, emotional intelligence isn’t something that comes naturally. It comes with time, deliberate attention, and reflection and practice. You may find keeping a journal helpful during the process.

Influencing Others

“David, does it really matter if I feel anxious or get upset as a leader? That doesn’t hurt anyone but me.”

That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. When you struggle with emotional behaviors as a manager, if we can’t deal with it ourselves, it’s going to strongly and negatively impact the rest of your team. You are modeling the proper behavior for everyone on your team, and showing them how you expect them to act when you aren’t present. If you get upset and throw a fit every time you don’t get your way, is it acceptable behavior for other managers in your company to do the same in the presence of their team members or clients? Absolutely not. Emotional intelligence starts with you.

Growth Through Emotional Intelligence

As you and your team get better at emotional intelligence, you will find that growth comes easier as well. When you are responding appropriately to different situations, you will understand when to celebrate victories within your team, when to redirect your time and attention elsewhere, and when to look within to adjust your methods or procedures to get a different outcome on future projects. And it is in those moments that the real growth happens.