8 min read

Strategies for Emotional Competence of a Leader

Published on
April 25, 2024
Phoenix Baker
Product Manager
Lana Steiner
Product Designer
Drew Cano
Frontend Engineer
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As we well know, we’re not finished subjects. We can grow every day, and work on our evolution as creatures of change, so in this post, we want to share with you some strategies to train and strengthen the domains that can lead you to be an emotionally-fit leader, able to successfully lead the great ship of your organization and face the sea of waves that are crossed in the oceans of different organizational cultures.

1. Schedule your fitness training

Always choose to take care of yourself before taking care of others, you’re the pillar of everything, so it will be essential to keep you healthy. Just as you comply with your work schedule, adhere to a fitness routine at least three times a week; it should be just as essential to comply with this meeting as it is the appointment with a potential client for your company. You will be taking care of yourself.

2. Take care of your diet

You are what you eat. A balanced diet can provide you with the necessary nutrients to keep your attention focused, generate creative ideas, and have the daily energy to take on the permanent challenges of guiding your projects and teams. Get advice from nutrition professionals to review your dietary habits and undertake effective and careful ways to eat healthily.

3. Your mental health is first

This recommendation wants to be emphatic in making clear that mental health is essential to life; we could say that it is as important as physical health or even more; when you take care of your thoughts, recognize your emotions, identify your behavior patterns, you can interpret life differently: that your life in the company is a good replica of what you are in other scenarios.

Therefore, we suggest that you make a pact of love and respect for yourself, an agreement that will also provide welfare to those around you, in your home, your social and work circle, because it’s transparent: "When you change your thoughts, your actions are transformed and everything around you too".

From now on, your mental health should be on the list of your vital priorities, so it’s essential to make a step forward and to seek help with a qualified professional when necessary.

Don't wait until you’re in critical condition to take care of yourself, do it now, and you will be equipped with tools to overcome the different adversities that life brings you every day.

After you’ve taken care of yourself and your mental health, share the small victories, and promote a healthy behavior to those under your care. At DailyBot, we make it easy for managers to address the wellbeing of their teams. See our mental health checks template for more information.

4. Be aware of yourself

Always start by observing yourself before others. Check what you are displacing. A personal problem is often brought to the workspace, disguised as a difficulty in the company.

For example, you may feel fear for the future of the organization or have some concern or insecurity about the performance of your team, which you may translate as a direct perception of the poor performance of some member of your workgroup, focusing on a mistake or failure so that you may confirm your belief or insecurity, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For this behavior, we suggest a self-awareness exercise: when some situation disturbs you, we invite you to take a step back and review the root of what you feel, talk about it with someone you trust a lot, or write trying to describe your emotions and thoughts, assuming the responsibility that corresponds to you in it; all this before pointing out, judging or requesting a change in the behavior of an employee, teammate or collaborator.

It is common for some people to say, "You make me angry" or "You stress me out" when in reality the other person is only behaving, and you interpret their actions according to your patterns and thoughts, built up over your life.

The one who gets angry or stressed is you; you can also choose not to get angry or stressed. Again, we emphasize the importance of self-awareness, which can be achieved through psychology's therapeutic process.

Another step forward would be to build a self-awareness culture across your organization. DailyBot offers asynchronous 1-on-1 meetings where you and your team can assess pains and improvements over time. See our carefully designed template for more information.

5. Train empathy

Being empathetic is a natural process. The possibility of understanding the other, of putting oneself in their place, is a skill we are born with and develop thanks to family, educational and cultural upbringing, and training.

However, we can also learn empathy and review how sensitive we are to recognizing the dynamics of people's lives, their successes, and failures. You must ask yourself how the people on your team feel and how a decision or change can impact their psychological, family, social, and working worlds.

We know you can't just boss your way into anyone's life, except your own, but you can understand how your team feels, and even if sometimes you can't provide what each one requires, let them know that you are by their side and that they can count on you, that will be enough to make them feel supported.

You can also honestly ask how far as a leader or company you can support people, and what’s the limit to intervene in the lives of the people on your team; it’s not a question of solving everything, but showing genuine interest, listening, or knowing how the people who work in your organization feel and ask for support, can positively impact the culture of your company.

Once again, you can further this cause by promoting a culture of empathy in the workplace. DailyBot created kudos as a way to show appreciation when people do great things at work. Now you can use it too from the chat itself, and celebrate the small and big wins from everyone. Appreciation is a genuine way of showing empathy.

6. Play with your team

Playing is a vital human activity. Through games, we not only generate fun, but we can also create new ways to solve a problem, learn what we want, and finally, release tensions from the format of adult life that sometimes weighs so heavily on us.

As a leader, you must invest time in recreation and fun for the team; you can create short games before a meeting, make contests for employees to have fun, and very important, that you get involved so that they can feel closer and more human.

7. Activate your curiosity

Openness and curiosity are skills that will diminish over the years unless we always feed and train them. These conditions are essential for empathy and assertive communication, so we suggest you:

Use active listening when you need to solve a situation, listen carefully to your teammates and employees' proposals, do it with openness, allow each expression to enter your mental plane, without judgment, considering it feasible, and putting aside your subjectivity. 

It is crucial that you also rely on non-verbal language; when you communicate, you send many signals apart from your words, such as nodding your head, looking into the eyes, smiling... are some of the many ways to show your interlocutor that his/her message interests you and that you are not rejecting him/her without knowing him/her in-depth.

Finally, allow for pauses and silences in conversations with your team because, in most situations, the initial messages are not all that people want to communicate. If we do not allow them to express themselves, we will not know their real intention or need. 

8. Mindfulness training

Mindfulness is like a muscle that you can work as much as your legs, abdomen, or arms, and best of all, your training stimulates brain activity.

Being present avoids mistakes and decreases the levels of tension, stress, and anxiety.

Realize how you treat yourself, how hard you use to evaluate yourself, allow yourself to be you with mistakes and shortcomings, forgive yourself when something was not right on your part. Also, check if you can support yourself daily with small actions that you assign to your team members and ask for them openly.

Being present in the here and now also requires a radical decision in the face of thoughts; how much time do you spend thinking about your concerns? We suggest you choose a time of the day to accommodate all your worries; at that moment, unfold everything that rounds in your thoughts and generates anxiety or stress; in the other time, take care of every situation that you experience, because when a worrying thought appears, you reserve it for the time destined for it. 

9. Strengthen your resilience

It would be best if you had a network of leaders, entrepreneurs, or businessmen, which you can rely on to share experiences that are common in their daily lives, to be able to talk about how they feel about the challenge of guiding, leading, accompanying; which challenges they have overcome, how they have achieved it ... it can give you ideas for your own experiences in your company.

On the other hand, we suggest that you keep a journal of personal and team achievements, which you can consult when your strength is depleted, or your confidence is diminished because realizing all that your team has achieved under your guidance could recharge you and your collaborators or employees not to give up.

10. Communicate assertively

We have already discussed some important communication factors, such as empathy, curiosity, openness, and active listening.

You can also strengthen your team's communication channels, such as having a space to present comments of admiration and support for work processes or activities, a place or channel also to express appreciation for the people who work daily in your company.

On the other hand, when a problematic situation appears, we recommend that you detach yourself from the imperative desire to be right, allowing you to observe the attitude and perspective of the other, making it possible to reveal new ways of interpreting the same situation and thus observe more clearly what the best option or solution is.

Training self-awareness, empathy, mindfulness, and resilience can make it easier for you to manage your emotions and contribute positively to your performance as a leader.

You can rely on DailyBot to help you with follow-up practices with your team, where you can find expertly designed templates for measuring and monitoring the development of self-awareness and other skills.

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