Having emotional intelligence, often referred to as EI, is an important part of being a stronger, more effective leader.
But too many people assume that it’s all about being sweet and chipper. Sure, some EI competencies are related to sociability, sensitivity, and likability, but others are connected to leadership skills like achievement, influence, and conflict management.
The key is to have a balance. If you’re strong in some of the softer, emotional skills, then focus on honing skills like giving unpleasant feedback.
For example, rather than using your EI to smooth over interactions with a coworker who is overbearing and abrasive, work on bringing up the issue to your colleague directly, drawing on conflict management to give direct feedback and on emotional self-control to keep your reactivity at bay.
Adapted from “Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?” by Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis