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Three Habits Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Can Embrace to Improve Their Team Members’ Motivation

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; They listen with the intent to reply.   Stephen Covey

Since 1984 when Daniel Coleman had begun sharing his work on Emotional Intelligence, the value of (EI) had gained tremendous momentum in the workforce. Today, EI is a core skill needed in life and more so for successful leadership. During the month of October, we celebrate Emotional Intelligence (EI) Awareness Month. While in the previous article we focused on Self-Awareness and self-regulation, this one will focus on Social Regulation

Social-Awareness and Social-Regulation are the third and fourth dimensions of Emotional Intelligence. It is one thing to become more aware of your own emotions, understand your triggers and how to manage any of your hot buttons. That will definitely help you control your own emotions.  Yet, it is another skill to be able to understand and be aware of other people’s emotional state as well as learn how to properly relates to them in both calm or heightened emotional states. 

According to a survey by career builder in 2011 (75%) of hiring managers stated they would be more likely to promote an employee with high emotional intelligence.  What about those that are already in leadership positions and have poor skills?  Well, Emotional Intelligence is a core skill that can be developed. Here are three habits to practice that help you develop better relationships regardless of whether you are currently in a leadership position or looking for your opportunity to be promoted.
Three Habits for better Social Awareness and Social Regulation 

  1.  Practice Active Listening – are you actually paying attention to what someone is saying to you or are you just waiting to have your turn in the conversation? Let your team members know that you truly are not just listening but you really hear what they say. Be patient when somebody takes longer to formulate an answer, make proper eye contact and pay attention to non-verbal cues from their body language hi Bruce, and double checking on when we can do the computer and parts hand off today.
  2. Develop a Sense of Empathy – not all people are born alike. Some of us are more emotional than others. As a leader, it is essential to understand and respect your team members emotions.  It does not mean that you justify emotional outbursts, it means you understand there are issues that might be challenging for them.  Support them by finding the right solutions and acknowledging their feelings.
  3. Show your appreciation – gratitude is a powerful gift one can offer. Regardless of whether you innately know you’re doing a good job; it is always validating when your efforts are appreciated. When you show your appreciation and acknowledge your team members for a job well done it helps them feel valued and ads to their confidence.  Neuroscience shows that appreciation causes the brain to release Dopamine and Serotonin which are the “feel-good” hormones. As a result, team members will choose to repeat the same “good behavior” in order to experience that same Dopamine rush in the future.

When These habits are modeled by the leadership and shared across the entire organizations, we create the opportunity to develop a more affective and engaged culture.  Cultivating an environment with a higher level of understanding and acceptance, ultimately results in a stronger more collaborative and productive organization.


Bio:  Dr. Karen Jacobson is the founder of Aligned Leadership Academy offering effective strategies for creating YOUR highest edge and setting a PACE to develop High-Performance organizations.  She is the author of Power Conversations bringing to the table over 30 years of training experience with extensive knowledge in fields of Neuroscience, Emotional Intelligence, and Human Potential