Here’s a fact that should be obvious, but some leaders tend to overlook it and fail to address it.
Humans are emotionally driven.
There’s no getting around it. When deciding what to do, your brain gives more weight to how you feel about what to do rather than what you think you should do.
Emotion influences and drives our moods, our decisions, and our behavior. That goes for all of us. Which is why healthy emotional relationships make for successful workplace teams. At Align4Profit, we sum up and stress this fact when we insist that relationships always trump skills.
In a decision-making environment like the workplace, it’s easy to understand why those who have a better understanding and control of their emotions do better. This ability is called emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence begins with your ability to manage your emotions and grows with your ability to understand, feel, and deal with the emotions of your clients, customers, manager, direct reports, peers, suppliers, and others.
It also involves the way you express your emotions as well as how well you perceive, understand and deal with the emotions of others.
No surprise then that the best leaders lead at the emotional level. When you speak to and touch the emotions of others, you influence them in a more direct way, you gain greater control, and you get more done.
If that sounds like manipulation, rest assured that only genuine emotion engenders greater control. While it’s possible, as Abe Lincoln said, to “fool all of the people some of the time,” on the emotional level, you must be absolutely genuine to be effective in the long run.
You can lead some people astray on the intellectual level with fuzzy logic and fake facts, but humans seem to be much more accurate at evaluating the authenticity of the emotions of others.
Emotional intelligence put into the practice of leadership, we call Leadership Intimacy. We define it more specifically as the intimate and accurate understanding of self and others, which leaders use in order to understand what specific changes they need to make in themselves and how to personalize their leadership approach with each employee.
Leaders who practice Leadership Intimacy know themselves as well as they know the people they lead. They help the people they manage rise to the most beneficial emotional state in order work most effectively and happily and to gain the greatest amount of satisfaction from their work.
You certainly know that when a leader is upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic, the people she or he leads pick up on that emotional state almost as if it were contagious. Performance, including creativity and productivity, rises. The opposite also occurs. People led by moody, rash, authoritarian leaders perform poorly.
As a leader, then, you have to manage yourself and your emotions, before you attempt to manage anyone else. Leaders emerge and succeed by knowing themselves, sensing and understanding the unspoken emotional states and needs of others, and by addressing situations with direction that moves those people toward what they believe will be good for them.
For a clear and candid evaluation of yourself as a leader, especially with regard to Leadership Intimacy, allow me to recommend our Leadership Attraction Profile. To learn more about how this works, why not try our obligation-free, Mini-LAP.
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