In this piece, we are going to focus on six areas that create an engaging leader. Through the course of this blog post, you can identify, or pick the one or two behaviours that you think you should work on.
No matter what our calling is in life, our success depends on our interactions with others. Even in this pandemic, we have found ways of connecting and reaching out to others.
Emotional intelligence is managing how people feel.
“Emotional Intelligence is the way we ‘show up’. This determines the way people feel, and the way people feel determines the extent to which they can engage. In turn, this impacts pretty much everything about the outcome of that relationship.”
This is the Genos Mantra that you may have heard if you have attended previous Genos presentations.
What do these engaging leaders have in common?
Engaging others can also be referred to as charisma. Charisma is a special quality of leadership that captures the popular imagination and inspires allegiance and devotion. The names of some charismatic leaders that come to mind are Richard Branson, Mother Theresa, Nelsen Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Dalai Lama to name a few.
The origin of the word ‘charisma’ means ‘a God-given gift’. So many have wondered and questioned ‘do these people have it from birth or is it developed?’ If you run a simple Google search for “How to boost/grow engagement as a leader,” you’ll find a whopping 40+ million articles offering guidance on how to become more engaging or how to boost the engagement levels of your teams.
It doesn’t matter if you are a leader, a politician a businessperson, or a parent we can all be engaging but it takes effort. Engaging people helps us and make us feel good. So, we can describe engagement as a heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organisation, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort in his or her work.
So, the good news is that anyone can learn how to be an engaging and charismatic leader - but yes it does take effort. Here are six behaviours to focus on to become more engaging. These practical actions are things you can start doing today.
1) Creating a positive atmosphere
Between any human, there must be a 3:1 positive to negative ratio – in order for relationships to start thriving. If you want to engage people then you must ensure that you work at creating positive interactions. Creativity thrives, relationships are enhanced, engagement rises, people work in ‘flow’, & productivity rises – this is called a flourishing zone. Charismatic & engaging people focus on keeping the environment & people around them in the Flourishing Zone.
You may need to work harder on the positive interactions, since you may probably need to discipline or give negative feedback at some point. Have a look at your interactions – have you ever done anything that has affected your significant other or forgotten a birthday or special occasion – what would it take to overcome this negative interaction?
If you seriously want to improve, you must create as much as possible 3 to 4 positive interactions. An exercise you can consider doing is identifying the Emotional Bank Account balance – read more about this in the ‘7 Habits for Highly Effective People’ written by Stephen Covey.
2) Be aware of how you ‘Show-Up’
Take 2 minutes in a quiet space, allow some silence in your mind to do this activity.
Write about “When I am my ‘Best Self’ I am …” don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, just focus on what does your ‘best self’ look like, – don’t stop writing till the time is up …
Think - this is the best version of myself, this is my intention, this is how I want to show up….
Through this activity, you will raise your self-esteem, develop the habit to check in with yourself to ensure you are consistently showing up as your best self. This is what being self-aware (an emotional intelligent behaviour) is all about. Knowing how we show up and focusing on making slight adjustments will create your legacy to show up as your best self.
3) Make others feel seen and valued
Imagine what it would be like if we paid attention to the people around us if we show that we sense what they are feeling or sensing at that point. This is referred to as Emotional Contagion. It describes how people who observe the emotions and behaviours of another tend to copy those emotions and behaviours. For instance, when someone smiles happily around others, those around them are more likely to smile and feel happy. Emotional contagion can arise from interactions between people and can spread through facial expressions, vocal tone, and posture.
When we create this interaction, we release the Dopamine hormone in our brain. This Dopamine hit strengthens the knowledge that more of that behaviour will create more praise, resulting in another Dopamine drench, and so on. So, recognition for good work releases Dopamine in the brain, which creates feelings of pride and pleasure.
Be intentional in your interactions and pay attention to those around you. When you ask “Hi, how are you?” wait for the response or give a little more intent such as “You seem a little distracted - is there anything I can help you with?” or “You look pretty satisfied with yourself -what did I miss?”
Develop behaviourally agility in your leadership approach. Focus on how you connect, communicate and influence those you lead.
4) Be Authentic
We all hate fake, unauthentic or untrustworthy people. Being authentic means being consistent, saying what you're going to do, and honouring your promises.
Not keeping promises is a big withdrawal in people’s emotional bank accounts.
Facilitate difficult conversations with openness and finesse. Learn to effectively express emotions in your leadership role and facilitate challenging discussions on performance. Enhance how you connect and build relational trust with others.
5) Recognise emotional triggers in others when making decisions
Remember, not everyone on your team is the same, and each person can react differently to a particular situation. For example, an introvert will likely shy away from public praise, while an extrovert may feel energised by it. So:
ii. Involve people in decisions that affect their work
iii. Consult upon & explain the thinking behind decisions
Just like a tailor, there is no one-size-fits-all. We need to tailor-make the way we come across to every individual. Adjust your communication style to inspire performance through persuasion, coaching, and influence. Learn to empower others and unleash their full potential by understanding the fundamentals of human motivation at work.
6) Managing your emotions under pressure
In these exceptional Covid times. we feel the pressure from others around us. Take time to breathe, relax, and calm down by paying attention to your best self.
Develop personal resilience and create a mentally healthy working environment for others. Leaders need to pay attention to the way they manage time, how they behave and continuously improve how they lead others. Identify a range of techniques for managing stress and bouncing back from challenging situations.
These are the six most critical behaviours I'd like you to set an intention. Reflect on the behaviours I’ve described and choose one or two you should be focusing on to create a positive atmosphere at the place of work. From being aware of how you show up, making others feel seen and valued, being authentic, recognising others emotional investment when making decisions and/or managing emotions under pressure.
There is no magic wand and there is no secret formula. However, consistency is the key to doing that one thing until you can master it. So, it begins here and now. Set your intention to do something about it.
I provide award-winning Genos international programs that can support you and your team to become the emotional intelligence leader that you aspire to be.
I’ve chosen this quote from Maya Angelou which describes the effect of managing how people feel:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Article in collaboration with Genos International Europe
As a Performance Coach & Leadership Trainer, I help mid/senior leaders inspire, motivate & engage their team. I support people to gain confidence in their leadership roles and overcome challenging situations. Contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org