Add these words to your leadership vocabulary.

7 powerful phrases of emotionally intelligent leaders

Emotional intelligence is a must-have soft skill for leaders, and it’s not hard to spot the ones who possess it. People are drawn to high-EQ leaders. It’s apparent in the ways they interact with colleagues. You can even hear it in the words they use every day.

“Tell me more.”

Emotionally intelligent leaders typically possess another valuable soft skill: communication know-how. They also understand that it can be challenging for others, and they’d never make assumptions based on a colleague’s words. “Tell me more about that,” or “What did you mean when you said/did that?” is a judgment-free way to get clarity. When leaders use these words, they are operating from a place of curiosity and compassion instead of judgment, she says. 

“The phrase ‘can you say more about that’ demonstrates a desire to better understand what the other person is saying or trying to get at, but is non-evaluative.”

“How do you like to be communicated to?”

High-EQ leaders also don’t make assumptions about how others like to receive communication from them. For instance, some people might appreciate face-to-face conversations while others prefer a simple text message. Emotionally intelligent leaders want to know about those preferences so they can adapt their communication style for each individual on their team. 

“Emotionally intelligent leaders know how to communicate with empathy. And they recognize that in order to do so, they have to get to know the other person and to ask how they like to receive their information. “As humans, we all like to receive communication in different ways, and high-EQ leaders will always ask.”

“I appreciate you.”

Giving feedback is one area where emotionally intelligent leaders shine. 

It’s not just for the team, though. Leaders who use this phrase build stronger relationships and deeper trust with their colleagues, which is a good thing for everyone involved. “Showing gratitude and acceptance is a surefire way to have positive engagement and employee satisfaction.”

While it’s nice to hear “good job,” putting some context around it makes it even more meaningful. “Helping people to understand why you are grateful makes it more meaningful than simply saying thanks.

“What are your thoughts?”

Feedback is a two-way street for high-EQ leaders. “Emotionally intelligent leaders are inclusive by nature and never stop looking for opportunities to bring the thoughts and views of others into a discussion.” “They recognize that they are not the smartest people in the room and look for ways to elevate others.”

“I have a different perspective.”

High-EQ leaders don’t shy away from difficult conversations. Instead, they use disagreements as opportunities to start a dialogue and find common ground. 

“The phrase ‘I have a different perspective’ is a more emotionally intelligent way to say ‘I don’t agree.’ “Having a different perspective simply means you have an alternative view of this opportunity or challenge.”

“Are you OK?”

For most people, creativity ebbs and flows. Some days we’re firing on all cylinders, some days we need a few extra cups of coffee just to get through the workday. Emotionally intelligent leaders know this and give their employees the benefit of the doubt. They also check in to make sure employees are OK.

“There are times that people are not able to be the best, most productive versions of themselves. In times such as these, the response of emotionally intelligent leaders is not to berate them for missing a deadline or allowing the quality of work to slip. It’s to ask them, in an empathetic way, whether they are OK. “The wellbeing of other people is uppermost in their minds, and this is just one way that they show it.”

“I’m sorry.”

Emotionally intelligent leaders aren’t afraid to admit when they are wrong. “Apologizing, in an honest way, demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence as it shows a modesty and humility that followers really appreciate.”

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