February 2021 Leader Letter

Make Emotionally Intelligent Decisions

Learn how you can incorporate emotional intelligence into your decision-making process.

By Andy Tonge

A new type of intelligence is leaving its mark on the world, and it might not be what you think. While artificial intelligence (AI) is shaping the future of industries, emotional intelligence (EI) is shaping hiring decisions in companies across the globe. In fact, emotional intelligence checked in as the fifth most in-demand soft skill in 2020, according to LinkedIn.

Leaders can find themselves in situations where they are asked to make tough decisions that may upset others. Let’s look at how you can use your emotional intelligent to help inform your decision-making process.

Listen Up

As you work towards a decision, be sure to listen to your team members and those who will be affected by your decision. An emotionally intelligent leader will be fully present when others talk and will let the speaker know that they understand what they are saying. One way to accomplish this is to listen for the key points in one’s message and to restate these points.

Listening shouldn’t end once a decision has been made. An emotionally intelligent leader will listen for feedback and fallout from their decision. In doing so, they can use the information they gather to inform them as they make future decisions.

Have Perspective

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Walk a mile in their shoes.” When people say this, what they really mean is to try and understand how that person would feel given the situation. Emotionally intelligent leaders will try and look at how a decision will affect those around them and weigh that into their deliberation.

Tough decisions are made all the time. For many, it’s a lot easier to accept a decision when you know you have been heard and your point of view was considered. By seeing and analyzing a situation from all angles, not only are you ensuring you are doing the necessary research to make an informed decision, but you are exercising your emotional intelligence.

Show Empathy

Empathy is a key factor in emotional intelligence and, according to studies by Development Dimensions International, it is the most needed skill in today’s leaders. Empathy should be shown both before and after a decision is made. Before, leaders should work to understand their team members needs. After, they should share their appreciation for their feedback, even if the decision goes against what that person wanted. In leading with empathy, especially when tough choices need to be made, a leader shows their true character and that their team matters.

Trust Your Instincts

At the end of the day, strong leaders will have the courage to make tough decisions. They will listen to what their heart is telling them to do. While this should be an emotionally intelligent decision, it can’t be the only factor that matters. For example, business decisions will still need to rely on the bottom line and if it makes fiscal sense. By following this advice and trusting yourself, you too can ensure you are making decisions that are emotionally intelligent!

Additional Resources:

Emotional Intelligence: The Other Kind Of Smart