Do you have enough emotional skills to be a leader?

In a previous article we talked about basic skills that a leader should possess, and we have listed four basic and most important categories of skills: self-management, relational skills, strategic thinking and systematic thinking skills.

As skills of self-management we would consider:

  1. Behavior in a particular context
  2. Emotional self-control
  3. Managing personal beliefs and values
  4. The question of identity – who am I in the system?
  5. A sense of personal mission and purpose

In this article, we will elaborate on emotional self-control.

Leaders and emotional self-control

Great influential people, leaders who changed history – according to everything people said about them these leaders knew how to control their own emotions, how to govern them. Also, history has shown us that controlling emotions of other people, the process also known as emotional manipulation, is used in politics in order to achieve various political and even military objectives.

There are also many cases where the leaders were losing influence (political, military, state) in situations where they were losing emotional self-control and allowed their temperaments to dominantly influence their behavior. People were saying, for example, that  Josip Broz Tito wanted to control even being sick and that his medical record was guarded like a state secret. In addition to physical weakness he did not show the emotional weaknesses either, people say that he always had a firm grip and decisive step even though his sciatica and diabetes symptoms got worse with age.

In recent years, the research about capabilities of leaders and competence framework in about 500 companies show that emotional intelligence is, in average, 2 times more important for career success than intellectual abilities and technical skills together.

“When we talk about emotional intelligence that does not indicate that it should be beyond logic or overly emotional, what this primarily means is an intelligent use of emotions and using the information contained in emotions in a way that will help us make better decisions. “(Kornicki, Caruso 2007)

What is achieved by working on emotional intelligence? And how can emotional intelligence help us?

  • A leader effectively controls the thoughts that come after the emotion and is thus able to determine how we will feel
  • A leader becomes aware of his “emotional triggers”, exactly what causes strong emotions to manifest, which situations, behaviors or sentences.
  • A leader with emotional control makes better decisions
  • A leader becomes aware of the impact of his emotions on the environment and thus creates a healthy productive climate within the team and organization
  • A leader becomes a superior leader who allows others to show their best and achieve better results at work.

The influence of leader’s emotions in the environment

People say “A fish rots from the head down”. As in everything else, when transferring emotion it’s very important for a leader to bring emotions to a daily work environment, because emotions are “contagious”.

“The fundamental discovery of science is that we are wired to connect. Neuroscience has revealed that our brain is made sociable by its shape, that it’s inexorably drawn into close connection “brain to brain” whenever we engage in interaction with another person. That neural bridge allows us to influence the brain – and thus the body – of everyone with whom we interact the same way that person can affect our brain and body. “(D.Goleman) 2006

The fact is that every day in the office, meeting room or on a factory floor, people “infect” one another with feelings, and are very quickly overtaken by the same feelings from anger and envy to euphoria and enthusiasm. But the strongest influence is that of a leader because people adopt the emotional “codes” of the one who is at the top. Even when the director is working behind closed doors his attitude affects the mood of those who are directly subordinate to him and is then transferred to the overall emotional climate in the company. The behavior of the leader and his mood affects the mood and behavior of others. Cranky and negative “boss” who only knows how to criticize will create a negative work environment in which people pay more attention to the problems and therefore do not notice new possibilities, faster or easier solutions, and the desire to innovate disappears.

Although the climate in the organization itself does not determine the business results, the analysis shows that 28-30% of the business results generally depend on how employees feel within the company. We can say that the way a leader manages their mood is no longer a private matter, but becomes one of the factors that will determine the results. And perhaps most importantly – our emotional state significantly affects the quality of our life and the lives of people around us.

NLP is a model which includes, among others, and techniques used to change the emotional state, and therefore our behavior in a particular context.

Danijela Dimitrić
NLP Trener