Four Characteristics of a Heart-Smart Leader

Book smarts and street smarts aren’t the only types of intelligence that make up effective leaders. Many leaders focus primarily on decision-making, problem-solving and the company vision — and rightly so — but they may fail to recognize the importance of emotional intelligence. Your Emotional Quotient (EQ) is all about how you connect with people and understand human emotions.

Daniel Goleman, author of “Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence,” explains in his book that there are four capabilities of emotionally intelligent leaders, or as I like to call them, heart-smart leaders.

1. Self-awareness. Recognize not only your own strengths, but also your weaknesses. Learn when to depend on other team members for tasks that you’re not as well versed in.

It’s also important to understand your feelings. What sets you off, for example? If you don’t do well under the pressure of tight deadlines, don’t put yourself in those situations; complete your work ahead of time.

2. Self-management. Keep your feelings in check. Don’t blow up at a team member if he makes a mistake. Tell him what the issue is and how to solve it.

Self-management is also about adapting to change. Be resilient. If you lose a client or face a crisis, your team will look to you — their leader — to reassure them.

3. Empathy. Great leaders don’t do all the talking. They listen to their team members, take the time to understand what they are saying and consider their feelings when making decisions. With empathy, you will build positive connections and trust with your team members.

4. Relationship skills. As the head of the company, you must constantly inspire and motivate your team members. Make sure that the full team is knowledgeable and aligned with the goals of the company, as this will help them understand how their work is positively impacting the business. On the other side of the spectrum, leaders must also use these relationship skills to manage conflict and ensure there is a positive office environment.

If you’re a good listener, great conflict-resolver and emotionally mature person, then you don’t need me to tell you how to be a heart-smart leader. Someone like that will rise to the top of any organization. But it may not have occurred to you that one of the best ways to help your business is to recognize these traits in others.

Use your talents to develop these leaders and mentor them. The more emotionally intelligent leaders you can place in management positions within your company, the better your overall picture will become. Heart-smart business leaders look out for the next generation to ensure the stability and longevity of the business.

Andy Bailey is lead entrepreneur coach with business coaching firm Petra and serves as the entrepreneur organization’s global membership director. Visit his blog atwww.petracoach.com for more business and leadership insight.

This article originally appeared in the Tennessean