Guest Post:  The Gottman Institute (author Chris Dollard)

Leadership skills are, in many contexts—the workplace, schools and classrooms, politics, volunteer organizations, and even within families—fairly recognizable. People who take initiative, who have a vision, and who can strategize, plan, and accomplish goals to achieve their vision are considered good leaders. They display those skills when working in a team setting and, hopefully, their team members are appreciative of those skills.

But what about other kinds of skills that make up a good leader? Not just professional skills—you may be highly trained and proficient in your field—but skills that contribute to your ability to work well with others and to lead your team to success?

That’s where emotional intelligence comes in, which, as we’ve defined in the first part of this series, as “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions.”

Women looking at a computerThink about a great manager that you’ve had in the past. You likely felt comfortable going to that person with your questions, concerns, and needs, and they were likely receptive to you and worked to address them and make sure that you felt supported. And if (or when) you both had disagreements, they were likely respectful and productive exchanges.

That kind of dynamic between employee and manager is similar to what we encourage couples to create in their own relationships—keeping a positive perspective, validating each other’s positions despite disagreement, and being intentionally respectful, even during difficult times. It’s a dynamic that works. It helps everyone involved feel supported and valued.

And let’s be honest: teamwork, especially when attempting to achieve difficult, long-term, and even lofty goals, can lead to intense emotions, such as (if things aren’t going well) frustration, anger, worry, or disappointment, or (if things are going well) excitement, anticipation, enthusiasm, and shared celebration. For example, look at the vivid displays of emotion from players on cohesive sports teams. They celebrate each other when things go well. They lift each other up when things don’t. Emotions, even on the field, play a huge role in working with others to succeed.

Yet all of those emotions, even the good ones, can lead to immense stress under challenging circumstances at work. And understanding and managing both your and others’ emotions in that team setting, just like in a relationship, is an important trait of all good leaders…..


Read the rest of the article at The Gottman Institute website