Top-Shelf Tip No. 151:

"A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see and who sees before others see."

Leroy Eimes

Your Leadership EQ

Your emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important key to effective leadership as there is a positive link between EQ and employee engagement, client satisfaction and the bottom line.

All models of emotional intelligence start with a foundation of self-awareness. In today's Promotional Consultant Today, we pass along these tips from the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) for increasing self-awareness.

There are two steps to increasing self-awareness: Listening to and honestly examining the stories you are telling yourself in your head (Are they true? How do I know?), and seeking feedback from others.

The first simply requires time alone; quiet time for self-reflection and practicing mindfulness. The second requires you to identify people with whom you feel safe, and whom you would freely invite to tell you how they react to you and how they think others react to you. It requires honesty and, of course, the right time and environment for the conversation to occur without interruption.

Both steps take time and commitment to change. Coming face-to-face with your flaws, defects of character, pride, ego, distrust, fear-being vulnerable-does not come easily. Further, if business is booming, deadlines are met and stock value is going up, why go through this exercise? Why dig deeper when all is well on the surface?

You dig because you can always boost your leadership skills and because it will make a difference in how you engage with your team, vendors and clients.

Here are suggestions on how to practice these steps right now:

Listen to Yourself: Force some quiet time every day when your cell phone is turned off and your door is shut for 10 minutes. Breathe deeply and slowly, and see what surfaces. Let the thoughts roll through your brain like a digital ticker tape. Notice what is happening and see if you can articulate how that experience feels. Pay special attention to anything that feels difficult or sparks negative emotions, as these feelings point to something larger underneath. When you take the time to look below the surface, you can see a glimpse of the source.

Listen to the Feedback of Others: Pick one person whom you trust to tell you the complete truth about how they perceive you. Ask them to point out something you do that causes others to disconnect from you-to avoid you. It requires courage to accept this feedback and a desire to hear it.

Following these two simple steps will put you well on your way to better self-awareness as a leader and as a person.

Source: Since 1991, Kevin McHugh has worked with YPO members in forums, and at chapter and global events around the world. He is an accomplished speaker, author and executive coach on emotional intelligence in the C-suite. He is a Fellow in the National Association of Corporate Directors and also a YPO Certified Forum Facilitator.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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