The article written by the Harvard Business Review on ‘Primal Leadership’ discusses the importance of emotional intelligence within leadership. A few things worth mentioning are as follows:
- The concept of ‘mood contagion’ – the effects of one’s mood and behaviors and the connection to how both drive the moods and behaviors of others.
- The connection between a leader’s emotional intelligence and the culture or work environment that is created as a result.
As I continue to research and test what truly makes an effective leader not only within the workplace but as a whole, I’m able to connect the dots to what is proven to be scientifically true. The fact is our moods whether direct or indirect play a huge role in molding others, and some may find this concept to be non-sense but I find it to be real.
Take myself for example, life happens and there can be times I show up to work feeling like the world has just crashed down on my soul. As a leader within my organization, I am tasked with a great responsibility of leading others daily, and to make it even deeper, I do this by managing Human Resources. Yikes! I am expected to be in a positive, objective space at all times. I’ve found that if my energy is low and I’m drifting towards being a ‘complainer’, that negative energy tends to shift to those around me. I cannot stress enough that I’m human and not a robot (not to mention there are times it’s ok to be down); however, it’s all about finding a balance, remaining mindful and working consciously to not allow what is happening outside of work to be brought into work. The same goes for my personal life. Being conscious of what has happened during the workday, should not be top of mind when I’m coming home to my family. Emotional intelligence is in play either way you shift the focus.
It’s definitely easier said than done but by being intentional about how I will navigate the day whether it is by being a resource to my team or being an ear for my loved one, I am learning to be more conscious of my mood and behaviors in everything that I do. I encourage this for everyone and a great way to start is by completing HBRs simple yet effective 5-part exercise which is outlined below:
- Who do you want to be? – spend some time imagining your ideal self without limitations.
- Who are you now? – this is more of a discovery process which can trigger some strong emotions within. Let’s face it, it’s hard for us to look ourselves in the mirror at times, but this portion of the exercise will encourage us to understand how others view us. *Tip: Remain objective and don’t beat yourself up!
- How do you get from point A to point B? – this step is about creating your action plan. Once you have worked on the above items, you can begin to devise your plan of attack for change.
- How do you make the plan stick? – as with any change, it’s never easy and with anything you want to become good at, you have to practice. Learn to practice your desired behaviors in all that you do. HBR notes that working on your desired behaviors and using the mental rehearsal exercise of merely envisioning these new behaviors, will eventually trigger within our brains the connections necessary for actual change.
- Who can help me? – the last step in this exercise requires creating a support system. In health coaching, we call this concept ‘finding an accountability partner’. It doesn’t have to be super fancy. Think of who belongs to your tribe and who will keep you honest and go for it.