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3 Reasons Why Leaders May be Resistant to Emotional Intelligence

When it comes to emotional intelligence skills, leaders may undervalue their significance because they lack an understanding of the benefits of EI and have the misconception that if they develop these essential skills, they will lose respect or power because they perceive emotion as a weakness. Additionally, leaders may feel pressured to perform and increase profits, not realizing these skills are essential for tangible growth. Here are three psychological blind spots that may hinder the way leaders view emotional intelligence in the workplace:

Operate from ego-based thinking

Leaders who tend to operate from ego-based thinking patterns often put their needs before others due to their strong desire to be recognized for their accomplishments. They may be skilled at increasing profit margins but can lack the ability to solve internal conflict or lead a team due to a Me Mindset.

These leaders are more focused on seeking validation and approval for their effort because they believe they are entitled based on their executive position. As a result, they may make short-lived decisions that make them feel good about themselves, even if it costs them their best team members.

While striving for professional success is admirable and rewarded greatly, recognizing the entire team is a sign of excellence. On the contrary, when a leader operates from a We Mindset with heart-centered thinking, it allows an organization to function fundamentally as a collective. Every level of leadership within a company works towards a shared goal that benefits the entire team and clientele. When team morale is positive, and the company culture is healthy, each employee becomes a leader within the organization. The stronger the leader, the greater the company will yield growth for long-term success.

Fears loss of respect, control, and power

A fear-driven mentality is where leaders can fall short due to their position of power. Leaders who allow their fear of losing control and power to override their ability to have compassion for their team members can be detrimental to an organization. While fear can be a great motivator to push outside one’s comfort zone, it's often utilized negatively when seeking power. As a result, leaders fail to build a strong connection necessary for mutual respect and the company's long-term growth.

Focusing on superiority over others can create a team that is divided, unmotivated, and has a self-centered mentality, leading to high turnover. On the flip side, any high-value leader knows that emotional intelligence is key to managing internal self-control rather than external control.

Internal control allows leaders to sustain relationships, achieve mutual respect, and excel to greatness. Understanding and exercising emotional regulation enables leaders to keep calm in the face of adversity and make clear-headed decisions from their internal power. However, emotional intelligence isn't just about staying calm under pressure; it's also about being able to read the emotional states of others and respond in a way that inspires respect and trust.

Lacks self-awareness

Emotional intelligence requires a certain amount of self-awareness, which many people find difficult to achieve because they weren’t taught the value of it, or already assume they have self-awareness. Studies show that only 12%-15% of people are self-aware, whereas 95% believe they are self-aware. Emotional intelligence requires knowing your values, professional strengths and weaknesses, and how they contribute to the organization’s success. However, some leaders are unwilling to reflect on their mistakes which prevent building trust, transparency, and a teamwork mentality. It takes daily effort and practice to maintain a certain level of emotional intelligence, whereas leaders can find themselves short on time. Other times, leaders focus more on task-oriented skills and goals instead of leading their teams.

When it comes to being an effective leader and creating a positive workplace knowing how to impact, inspire, and influence your team members can be one of the greatest assets to taking your organization to the next level. The ability to develop self-awareness leads to higher performance, stronger relationships internally and externally, and better decision-making. Overall, this can promote long-term growth for years to come. A leader's willingness to be humble, learn, grow, and prosper is essential to develop greater self-awareness and sustaining emotional intelligence.


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