“Nearly all individuals can stand adversity, but if you want to test their character, give
– Abraham Lincoln
What qualities make an effective leader? Depending on who you ask, the list of answers will be varied and lengthy. One that many people vastly undervalue is emotional intelligence, which touches every area of a leader’s work. When we encounter trying times, as we all did in 2020, it becomes more important than ever for those in power to exercise emotional intelligence. Many large companies utilize executive leadership coaches for their upper management for precisely this reason.
I encounter many leaders who are excellent in their skilled area of expertise but lack the self-awareness, empathy, and interpersonal and listening skills that are essential for effective leadership. It is crucial that these skills are learned, honed, and applied as we move into 2021.
Here are 3 key leadership lessons related to emotional intelligence that I believe you should take to heart in 2021.
1. Be at Your Best When Things are at Their Worst.
As they say, character is forged crucible of adversity, not in comfort. There is an important distinction between reacting and responding that leaders must be acutely aware of, especially in turbulent times. As an effective leader, when you simply react, your thought processes are not fully optimal, which can cause you to make poor decisions that can cost you the respect of your followers. Emotions are a good thing; however, they need to be channeled correctly in order to be a positive leadership quality. When things are at their worst, it’s your responsibility as a leader to be at your best.
2. You’ll Never Be “Ready.”
So many of us use imperfection as a self-imposed barrier to taking action in our lives. For one reason or another- feeling inadequate, having imposter syndrome, or receiving a general lack of support and validation from others- we waste our motivation and talent because we do not feel prepared. What a reason to wait to do something great! You will never reach your full potential if you never get started.
None of us can predict the future, but we can listen intently, plan in detail, practice focus, and decide to embark on new challenges.
3. Masking Problems Makes Them Worse Later.
We all know that short term solutions, temporary fixes, and avoiding a problem will make that problem worse in the long run. So why don’t we act on our knowledge and face challenges head-on?
As humans, we have a natural impulse to ignore the “hard stuff” and hope that it either goes away or gets better on its own. But does this approach really serve us? I can tell you from experience that facing your problems with courage is the most effective way to deal with them; it is impossible to truly ignore a problem, and even if you’re not actively thinking about it, the issue still nags you subconsciously.
This is an important point because an issue you ignore can cause stress, anxiety, and in some cases, depression, regardless of whether you believe that you aren’t thinking about it. When we ignore a problem, we put it in the back of our minds; it takes mental energy to leave it there, and as it festers, it becomes more difficult to handle in the long run.
About Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MDA.
Do you want to develop and use your abilities to the fullest and better connect with and lead others? Coaching maximizes impact, and Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MDA, has more than 30 years of successful executive leadership coaching in the United States and internationally.
As a licensed pharmacist, he is particularly passionate about helping develop effective leaders in the healthcare community. Dr. Wilkerson has coached and trained thousands of managers and leaders. He is a certified coach and member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team.
CLICK HERE to learn more.