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Emotional intelligence is an important asset for any endeavor that involves dealing with other people, which naturally includes leadership. Any leader can improve performance and effectiveness through enhancing this important trait by focusing on these three constituent qualities.

Awareness Of Self

The first step in becoming aware of the state of mind of others - which is what emotional intelligence is in essence - is becoming aware of yourself and your own state of mind. You may object saying that of course you are aware of your own state of mind, but don't dismiss the idea so hastily. The truth is that much of the time we go through life unaware of how much we are influenced by our own emotions and knee-jerk reactions without a true sense of self-awareness. It takes work to be become more self-aware, but as you do, you have the potential to be much more cognizant of how your presentation and attitude affects others and their responsiveness to you.

Considering Your Approach

No matter how self-aware you are and how much you want to be considerate of your colleagues' or employees' circumstances, you still need to approach them the right way. All the good intentions in the world can be undermined by a clumsy approach. This is one of the key aspects of emotional intelligence – tailoring your approach to the person you are approaching. Some people respond well to humor while others appreciate earnestness. While you must not stop being you, an emotionally intelligent approach involves taking note of the person you are interacting with and trying to convey your message to them in terms they are best equipped to deal with. One of the skills of a leader is doing some of the hard work of conveying the message to others as effectively as possible for them to receive it. It's analogous to what in the entertainment world is called 'reading the crowd'.

Getting Useful Feedback

The mere act of asking for feedback (which is a form of judgment when you think about it) is in itself a display of emotional intelligence. It shows a fearlessness and vulnerability of the best kind when you are prepared to ask another person for their honest opinion of how you are performing. It also functions as a means to develop trust and honesty between you and those whom you depend on. It's important not to be defensive when you make such a request. A good leader knows how to take honest criticism in stride, and to dismiss it when it's counterproductive or ill-intentioned.

Make sure you are taking full advantage of the power of emotional intelligence to be the best leader you are capable of being.

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