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How to be emotionally intelligent during ambiguity and change

Good morning!

Welcome to my first blog of 2022!

Emotional Intelligence for Leaders

I’d like to start by wishing you a fulfilling year. I don’t wish people a happy new year because life isn’t always happy…and that’s okay.

For example, are we all happy that omicron is sweeping through the world and causing so much illness and additional lockdowns? Hell no!

However, as I think about the shaky start to 2022, I’m reminded of a little orange book called The Emotionally Intelligent Leader by Daniel Goleman.

On page 4, Goleman says, “I have found that the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of emotional intelligence.”

Technical skills are entry-level requirements for any leadership position. 

But it is a leader’s emotional intelligence that makes or breaks their effectiveness. 

 I see proof of this concept every single day!

For example, one of my clients recently shared with me that her boss, an executive in her organization, is overly critical, lacks empathy, and is prone to emotional outbursts.

When I heard this comment, I immediately knew that this executive lacked the following two traits of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-Awareness 
  • Self-Regulation

Self-awareness is a foundational aspect of being emotionally intelligent. It means that you are aware of your emotions and how they impact you and the people around you.

Self-regulation means that you are able to manage the natural and biological impulses that drive your emotions. 

So, let’s get real. 

Because you are human, you will sometimes…

  • Be in a bad mood
  • Feel like screaming in frustration 
  • Be tempted to pound your table in anger
  • Want to roll your eyes at a stupid comment in a meeting (or is that just me???)

However, if you can access your self-awareness and self-regulation, you can respond to any challenging situation more gracefully. 

Here are 4 ways that you can be more emotionally intelligent as we ramp up for yet another year filled with ambiguity and change: 

  1. Don’t be impulsive: Step back and assess a situation rationally before you respond.
  2. Choose your words carefully: Select a response that will de-escalate conflict.
  3. Be honest with your team: Definitely give them constructive feedback but don’t be overly critical.
  4. Be frank about your emotions. You are not a robot. There is no need to hide your emotions from your team. Feel free to share how you are feeling in a productive way. Then move on to finding productive solutions to your challenge at hand. 

As we start 2022, my hope for you is to be more thoughtful and reflective and more comfortable with ambiguity and change.   

These are all traits of emotionally intelligent leaders. 

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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