Why Emotional Agility Can Improve Your Leadership Skills?
How do you react when you feel very emotional about something at work, like a situation or a decision? Do you keep it inside? Try to make it go away. Think about it a lot, even after work. If you do, you’ve probably noticed the negative outcomes of doing that.
But what if you didn’t react like that? What if you learned to be emotionally agile? According to an expert, it means “becoming more flexible, staying calm, and living with more purpose. It means deciding how you’ll react to your emotional signals.” It sounds like a better way to live and be a leader.
In this article, we’ll explain what emotional agility means, why it’s important, and how it differs from emotional intelligence, and we’ll also go through how to improve it to become a good leader. Let’s begin.
What Does Emotional Agility Mean for Leaders?
Emotional agility means recognizing and accepting your feelings so you can react to everyday situations in a way that matches your beliefs and values. This idea became well-known through the successful book called “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.” The book was written by Susan David, a respected Harvard Medical School psychologist known for her ideas on leadership and management.
Emotional Intelligence vs. Emotional Agility
To see how emotional intelligence and emotional agility are different, let’s first look at the definition of emotional intelligence:
“Emotional intelligence is about being able to control your own feelings and also being able to understand how others feel.”
So, the main difference between emotional intelligence and emotional agility is that emotional intelligence is about “handling feelings,” while on the other hand emotional agility is about having a deeper understanding of emotions. When you recognize and understand emotions more deeply, you can respond to them more aware and self-consciously. As a leader, this means that emotional agility is a bit more advanced than emotional intelligence, and it’s what you should aim for in the future.
Why Emotional Agility Matters in Leadership?
Many times, leaders try to manage, hide, or act like they don’t have the emotions that naturally show up in the workplace, like stress, letdown, or annoyance. For a long time, the story has been that there’s no place for emotions and feelings in business.
“Being emotionally inflexible when dealing with complex situations is harmful.” In simpler terms, in a complicated and turbulent world like ours, leaders who don’t handle their emotions well and keep them inside might not only suffer from more anxiety and sadness but also damage their affiliation with their workers.
You can’t skip emotional agility if you want to prevent those bad outcomes and become a good leader. Actually, there are a few important reasons why emotional agility is crucial, especially for people in leadership roles:
- Helps create better connections between managers and employees.
- Makes communication better.
- Helps you be more resilient.
- Fosters a sense of security for people.
- Aids in solving conflicts.
Helps Create Better Connections between Managers and Employees
Emotionally agile leaders show real care and support for their employees, which is essential for creating stronger bonds with them. According to studies, 80 percent of employees who had a supportive manager were content with their job. On the other hand, only 20 percent of employees with unsupportive managers were happy with their jobs and had no plans to leave. Furthermore, having a supportive manager increases the likelihood of an employee staying at a company by 300 percent.
Makes Communication Better
Leaders who are emotionally agile encourage open and truthful conversations with their employees. This helps prevent misunderstandings, build trust-based relationships, and handle conflicts before they harm team spirit or productivity.
Helps You Be More Resilient
Emotional agility and resilience work well together. A leader who is emotionally agile can handle and bounce back from challenges and the feelings that come with them more effectively. This matters because resilient leaders score a high 87 percent for leadership effectiveness, while non-resilient leaders score a very low 12 percent.
Fosters a Sense of Security for People
Emotional agility is a tool leaders can use to make a workplace where employees feel safe sharing their ideas and worries without worrying about getting in trouble. This matters because having psychological safety in a workplace has been shown to make employees more involved, reduce the number of people leaving, lessen exhaustion, and boost teamwork among workers.
Aids in Solving Conflicts
You’ll likely face conflicts that either concern you or your employees as a leader. In these cases, emotional agility helps you become a good leader because it enables you to grasp the conflict better and handle it thoughtfully. This way, you can guide discussions that help everyone involved find a solution.
What to Do Next: Developing Emotional Agility as a Leader
Do you want to be a good leader, someone you’re proud of, and someone your workers are honored to work for? If that’s the case, emotional agility is crucial. Certainly, learning emotional agility doesn’t happen quickly. It requires practice, time, and real-world experience to become at ease with it. Luckily, one-on-one coaching is a great method to build up emotional agility as a leader. A skilled coach can provide valuable support, direction, and ideas. They can teach you how to use new techniques and tools in your daily life and give practical advice for particular situations.
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