We’ve tracked the development of emotional intelligence in leaders over many years working with executives, managers and aspiring leaders to increase their confidence and competence. We have metrics that show the change in emotional intelligence level from the start of the leadership development journey to the end, one year later. Based on this, we've identified 6 key indicators of lacking emotional intelligence:
#1 Very limited self-awareness, which really goes back to a lack of feedback. If employees are irritated, act annoyed, don’t respond to what you want them to do, have no idea as to why you’re asking them to do things, it could be something that you’re completely blind to, a particular behavior or a mannerism that you are completely unaware of, you have no self-awareness and also you have no feedback, therefore, you’re lacking that self-awareness.
#2 Having perfectionistic tendencies, being hyper-critical of others, and having unrealistic expectations that no one around you can live up to which deflates the morale of team-members.
#3 Defensive when accepting feedback. When people attempt to give the feedback, the recipient doesn’t see it as a gift, they see it as criticism and respond either defensively or angrily when others attempt to give them feedback.
#4 Inability to manage emotional impulses is another area or sign of lacking emotional intelligence. People who can’t quite control what their reactions are, become victims to their emotional impulses, whether its anger or depression or whatever it might be that they don’t have the ability to recognize that emotion and bounce back quickly or manage it effectively in the moment.
#5 Lack of accountability and not taking ownership for performance situations like lack of results in the organization or when something goes wrong on a project.
#6 Being inflexible, not just in behavior, but inflexible in one’s thinking and inability to adapt to changing environments and changing situations and other people.
Lynda Silsbee is Founder and President of the Alliance for Leadership Acceleration. She has spent more than 30 years creating and leading high performance teams. Along with the other LEAP Certified Coaches, she reports that helping managers make the LEAP to leader is one of the most fulfilling aspects of her work.