How to Be a Leader, Not Just a Manager: It Starts with Emotional Intelligence

When seeking that next promotion, it’s key to be able to show your leadership ability. But many people start by trying to learn how to manage direct reports before managing themselves. Until recently, emotional intelligence has not been a common topic in career training, including leadership training. When in reality, it’s the foundation to your success as a leader. Today we’re going to share why!

Leader vs. Manager: How Does Emotional Intelligence Come into Play?

To rise from manager to leader, your emotional intelligence is key.

Author and psychologist Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence Quadrant breaks emotional intelligence down into four segments:

  • Self-awareness: Being aware of your own emotions.
  • Social awareness: Having an understanding and awareness of others’ emotions.
  • Self-management: Keeping yourself and your emotions in check to act with integrity.
  • Relationship management: Managing conflict in an empathetic way.

These four pieces come together in every decision and action you take at work in a flow:

Feeling 🡪 Acknowledging 🡪 Clarifying 🡪 Accepting 🡪 Reflecting 🡪 Analyzing 🡪 Acting

When you deal with emotions or thoughts, you first feel them. You must understand why they’re emerging (self-awareness), take time to clarify the facts and accept the situation (self-awareness), reflect and analyze how solutions will impact you and the team (social awareness), and you must react and manage solutions with others’ feelings in mind to inspire, not disturb (relationship management).

From having to lay off team members to dealing with a troublesome employee who lacks accountability, following this path of action via emotional intelligence is what will separate a manager who simply reacts from a leader who pauses, analyzes, and then takes the appropriate action.

There’s a famous, anonymous quote that says, “Ten percent of conflict is due to difference of opinion. 90% is due to the wrong tone of voice.” This process speaks to that, in that those who do not follow it and lead with their emotions first cause conflict. They act irrationally, with disrespect, rather than lifting people up and closing the gap between differing opinions with sound delivery and moral values.

Those who do lead with emotional intelligence first are those who will empower, support, and nurture teams like a true leader.

How to Develop Emotional Intelligence

Positive Psychology outlines thirteen different exercises to develop your emotional intelligence, like reflecting on your own emotions, trying to be more empathetic and observant, developing a growth mindset, creative stress relief, and more.

In all of our NimblyWise programs, we embrace these exercises and more. We address how to build emotional intelligence with personalized assessments and one-on-one coaching opportunities that are unmatched. Try some of these on your own first, but it may be important to increase your investment in personal and professional development to achieve your goals!

Want to Develop Effective Self-Management Skills to Level Up Your Leadership Ability? Let NimblyWise Help.

If you’re struggling in a new leadership role or can’t seem to land the promotion to manager you’ve been seeking, it could be due to your emotional intelligence. Working one-on-one with a coach to identify those skills gaps and fill them will allow you to achieve those goals you’ve set for yourself! Let’s talk about the opportunities that await you when you invest in your growth.