Do you draw on the wisdom of your emotions as a leader? If you do, wonderful, but if not, making wise decisions – which is an important aspect of leadership – also depends on our ability to draw on the wisdom of our emotions. And the good news is you can develop and build your emotional intelligence leadership skills. It's also one of the top 10 skills we'll all need in the future for work.
As an example, how many of you like me were told that in order to make important decisions in life, just write down a logical list of pros and cons? While helpful, neuroscientists tell us that's only accessing one dimension of the intelligence available to us.
Here's a big decision I was faced with just a few months ago. I had an opportunity to move to Chicago for a great job. A pros and cons list – or using only rational analysis was not enough. This was a big, difficult life decision! It meant moving from the country I love – Australia – to start again in a whole new city. It was only when I visited Chicago that I could tap into how I felt emotionally. In fact, I vividly remember the day I walked across the Chicago River, looking at all the beautiful architecture, and my emotions were putting up the big 'warning sign'. Once I brought online the wisdom of my emotions, I realised they were giving me some very useful information. I ultimately turned down the opportunity, and while difficult, it was absolutely the right decision.
So developing emotional intelligence is about developing CLARITY within ourself and our emotions. And approaching this with a sense of curiosity and non-judgment toward ourselves. So how can we develop greater emotional awareness?
In the program I teach called Search Inside Yourself which was developed for leaders at Google, one of our core practices is journaling. Journaling gives us perspective on our thoughts and emotions–helping us to clarify them and respond more resiliently and skillfully.
Here are a few ideas:
- Journal at the start of the day to collect your thoughts and set your goals for the day.
- Or write down some observations at the end of a day and do a brain-dump. Helps to get things off your mind.
- Finally , like I like to do, consider journaling about a challenge or growth area you're working with.
If you haven't tried this before, you may just find it relieves stress, and importantly offers you new insights. In one surprising landmark study, a group of laid off professionals journaling about their feelings for 5 days (20 mins each day) found new jobs at a much higher rate. After 8 months, 68% had found new jobs vs 27% for the non-writing control group.
I encourage you to give journaling a try. You may find new insight for you is just waiting to be discovered!
P.S I've also discovered the power of this incredible app
for highly motivated professionals like you to help you become a better, more emotionally intelligent leader. It's inspiring me every day with really practical tips from some phenomenal leaders and coaches. That's why I'm using it as a platform to share my Emotional Intelligence courses for free, and you can check it out here: https://trampolineplatform.com/HPL