Hello SOTGC Community,
Welcome to the “How to Define Yourself as a Leader” saga. During the next few months we’ll be listing out some key steps to take when starting down the path of professional development to get that promotion you want. Some of them are what I myself did, and some are tips from executive leaders, from many industries, that I interviewed. This saga will share the feedback I got and delve into how to apply them in your everyday work life.
Below are the previous posts in this saga:
Part 1: Dress for the Next Level Up
Part 2: The Perception Your Peers Have of You Does Matter
Part 3: Eyes Are Always on You
Part 4: 5 Words Your Leadership Team Should Describe You As
Part 5: 5 Things to Avoid Doing at Work
Part 6: The Importance and Purpose of a 360 Review
Today’s Topic: Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness
When I interviewed multiple high-level executives, from CEOs to Executive Presidents through regional managers, and asked what characteristics someone needed to get promoted, these two were in EVERYONE’S answer: emotional intelligence (EQ) and self-awareness.
One of the most helpful resources to fine tune this characteristic is to buy the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and take the quiz at the beginning of your professional development process, and continuously through the never-ending process.
There have been studies showing that people with higher EQ hold higher positions in companies as well as make more money. The good news is EVERYONE can raise their emotional intelligence. How? By doing the opposite of what you think the definition is. Take the emotions out of your reactions and decisions. Analyze the facts of a situation or conversation, etc. and respond without letting your emotions (anger, hurt, defensiveness, etc.) guide how you react.
Here is where you CAN let emotions and intuition play a role. Self-awareness has helped me enormously in my sales career. The best way I can explain this is by asking yourself, “how well can you read the temperature of the person(s) that you are interacting with, and can you figure out how they’re responding to you, even if they do not verbalize this?” If you’re able to tell when people are following along and agreeing with you, if and why you lost them during your conversation or presentation, and you can tell whether those people need you to up the energy or lower it, then you are on your way to self-awareness.
Be careful not to mix self-awareness up with “personalizing.” An example of personalizing would be to assume a coworker is upset with you if you’re having a conversation and they are short with you or a bit distant. It could be simply that they had a bad morning, didn’t sleep well the night before, or got some bad news before you walked up.
An example of self-awareness: You’re normally a high-energy person and come bounding into the room excited and happy about the day. The energy in the room is a bit more subdued, and others are talking in quiet voices. You tone your energy down to fit the room and the people you’re interacting with, and you correctly judge how the people you’re interacting with want information delivered and received.