Photo credit: Tom Hermans,

Leadership is no longer about captaining the ship. Rather than commanding the crew to action, effective leaders must influence and empower their teams, peers, and employees. As organizational hierarchies shrink to nearly flat lines leaders form project “pelotons” and network teams to respond to “change as a constant,” executives and managers are discovering their role is to motivate others to achieve collaborative goals.

Consciously practicing emotional intelligence can help leaders develop these collaborative skills.

Here’s a few EQ tips:

• Listen to understand, not respond.
STOP talking. Really listen by acknowledging what someone has said.

• Communicate the “why” behind decisions.
And then keep repeating it.

• Seek input, give recognition, and acknowledge effort.

• Say “thank you.” Mean it. Say it a lot.

• Deal openly and respectfully with conflict.
Re-frame conflict as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship.
Here’s some great EQ strategies for managing conflict by Judith E. Glaser entitled, Tackle Conflicts with Conversation.

• Know what energizes your team and peers.
Create an environment that fosters that energy. Lead with that energy.

• Recognize that today’s leaders do not have all the answers. No ONE person does. Situations move too fast and are often too complex for one person to know it all. Re-frame your role from problem solver to solution facilitator.

• Develop your EQ. Your current levels of self-awareness, emotional expression, and capacity for forging meaningful employee relationships, were likely influenced by your past childhood experiences, teachers, coaches, and former bosses.

The good news is EQ is not static. It’s not dependent on your past. It can be heightened… balanced… and with attention can transform your effectiveness as a leader. Not only will focusing on your EQ result in greater influence and help you empower your team, you’ll receive the added benefit of seeing improvements in all aspects of your life.

Where to start? Try reading Dr. Steven J. Stein’s book, The EQ Leader: Instilling Passion, Creating Shared Goals, and Building Meaningful Organizations through Emotional Intelligence. Dr. Stein takes a practical approach with illustrative examples, case studies, and compelling data.

• Get EQ feedback. Work with a certified and experienced Emotional Intelligence Coach who can help you get accurate 360 EQ feedback and serve as a catalyst to help you consciously practice your emotional intelligence skills as you navigate your new role as an empowerment coach, motivator, and influencer.