Most of us have experienced a great leader some time in our past. This experience provided a model of great leadership which we let ourselves forget and are co-opted by poor or mediocre leaders. Leadership is about the relationship between the leader and the people around him or her. The best leaders build or rebuild resonant relationships. These are relationships in which the leader is in tune with or in sync with the people around him or her. On the whole, resonant leaders inspire others. Most of the time, when you leave a conversation or their office, you feel charged up, excited and inspired.
What most influences your company’s bottom-line performance? The answer will surprise you—and make perfect sense: It’s a leader’s own mood.
Executives’ emotional intelligence— their self-awareness, empathy, rapport with others—has clear links to their own performance. But new research shows that a leader’s emotional style also drives everyone else’s moods and behaviors— through a neurological process called mood contagion. It’s akin to “Smile and the whole world smiles with you.”
Emotional intelligence travels through an organization like electricity over telephone wires. Depressed, ruthless bosses create toxic organizations filled with negative underachievers. But if you’re an upbeat, inspirational leader, you cultivate positive employees who embrace and surmount even the toughest challenges.
Emotional leadership isn’t just putting on a game face every day. It means understanding your impact on others—then adjusting your style accordingly. A difficult process of self-discovery—but essential before you can tackle your leadership responsibilities.