Emotional intelligence is one of the fastest growing job skills, according to the World Economic Forum. This skill has two sides. On one hand, it’s the the capacity to notice, control, and express your own emotions. On the other, it’s the ability to understand and respond appropriately to the emotions of others. The interesting thing is you can actually improve your emotional awareness by managing others.
Understanding Other Perspectives
When you’re managing a team of people, it’s important to understand and explore the perspectives that others bring to the table, even when you don’t agree. A lot of judgement comes from a place of misunderstanding, so instead of rejecting another person’s viewpoint, try putting yourself in their shoes. By challenging yourself to understand someone else's perspective, you are opening your mind to possibilities you may not have previously seen. It can also help you understand where your own beliefs and thoughts emerge from, which is key to self-awareness.
Expressing Genuine Interest
Expressing genuine interest in the lives of your team members has many benefits. You can ask how their weekend was, get to know their family life, or ask how their kids are. You could even get their thoughts on a certain idea or news story. By making a conscious effort to understand what someone else believes, thinks, or feels, you are developing your own capacity to understand emotion.
Part of leading others involves dealing with difficult times. These challenging times are inevitable - they are a part of life. Having to deal with these situations helps you become more emotionally aware. It challenges you to put your ego aside and have the tough conversation that needs to be had. Think about a time when you swept something under the rug instead of confronting the issue. As you become more emotionally aware, you begin to realize the difficult conversation often alleviates a lot of tension and misunderstanding. This in turn helps you to become even more emotionally aware.
Emotional awareness isn’t necessarily a skill people are born with, however, it’s a skill you can learn. A regular mindfulness practice will help you become aware of your emotions and connect with your team.