Does climbing higher up the corporate ladder lower your emotional intelligence?

Heading an organization means having a lot of people under your watch. It would seem C-suiters should exhibit the highest degree of emotional intelligence. However, this is often not the case.

According to Forbes contributor Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, emotional intelligence scores increase up the corporate ladder from individual contributor to manager, but steeply decline beyond middle management. CEOs, on average, have the lowest emotional intelligence.

However, according to the article, for every title, the top performers are those with the highest EQ scores. So, while CEOs typically have the lowest EQ scores, the best-performing CEOs are those with the highest EQs.

Forbes suggests this general decline is attributed to the way companies focus on metrics when making hiring and promoting decisions for high-level positions, leading to a gross oversight of the individual's ability to work with and encourage others.

According to Forbes, "Once leaders get promoted they enter an environment that tends to erode their emotional intelligence. They spend less time in meaningful interactions with their staff and lose sight of how their emotional states impact those around them."

To help boost your EQ, consider the following five tips from Forbes:

1. Show you care about people. "Employees don't want to feel like a herd of cattle, but as people who are being appreciated for their hard work and effort," according to the article. Emotionally intelligent leaders find a balance between imposing demands on their employees and showing compassion.

Consistently saying thank you, dedicating time to mentoring employees and other gestures help remind people what is expected of them while simultaneously inspiring them to perform at a higher level.

2. Embrace peoples' differences. Simply filing employees into fixed roles and responsibilities is failing to take advantage of the potential benefits individuals have to offer. Differences among people inform unique perspectives and catalyze innovation, according to the article.

"Today's leaders must be more sensitive about how to manage and leverage differences in people to assemble great teams and assign unique talents and abilities to certain situations."

Doing this increases leaders' emotional intelligence by showing their employees they have faith in their individual strengths, while also lifting the notion that leaders have to dictate their employees' every action.

3. Show employees they're significant. According to Forbes, leaders with high emotional intelligence focus on motivating their employees by showing how the job can benefit their own lives, not just the company. Leaders should introduce their employees to opportunities that will allow them to produce both successful as well as significant work.

4. Don't be a mystery. Transparency is one of the most important things a leader can offer his or her employees — it takes a leader with high emotional intelligence to be open about areas he or she needs to improve upon. Being trustworthy, approachable, accountable and relatable makes a boss more genuine, and a more integrated part of the team.

5. Take good care of yourself. Finally, leaders who can relate to their employees and colleagues on an emotional level possess an understanding of their own emotions. According to Forbes, it's important to pay attention to the way certain situations make you feel so you can understand how your emotions influence the way you act.

Getting enough sleep is perhaps one of the most important aspects of overall health, in addition to emotional health. Sleep deprivation reduces self-control, attention and memory and raises stress, which only leads to added pressure for leaders who already experience high stress levels, according to the article.

Catching and ceasing negative self-talk is an important part of cultivating high emotional intelligence for anyone. The more attention you give negative thoughts, the more power you give them, according to Forbes.

More articles on leadership:
Week in review: 12 biggest healthcare stories this week
Chuck Lauer: 10 traits of real, unforgettable leaders
What healthcare leaders can learn from Brian Williams' mistake

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2017. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months