Great leaders understand how to balance emotion with reason and make decisions that positively impact themselves, their employees, their customers and stakeholders, and their organizations. Great leaders understand how to balance emotion with reason and make decisions that positively impact themselves, their employees, their customers and stakeholders, and their organizations. Making good decisions in difficult situations is no small feat because these types of decisions involve change, uncertainty, anxiety, stress, and sometimes the unfavorable reactions of others.
There are three main skills that the leader has to practice everyday: emotional intelligence, the ability to handle uncertainty, and the ability to weigh evidence with intuition.
Emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others, is one of the most important qualities a leader must possess.
Emotional intelligence consists of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Self-awareness is the foundation for all aspects of emotional intelligence. It involves being able to accurately assess yourself. Before you can change, you must be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Self-management entails the ability to understand and control your emotions, adapt to change, and adopt an optimistic outlook. Social awareness is similar to self-awareness but the focus is external and involves understanding the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others, as well as how to relate to other people. Relationship management is crucial for great leadership and includes qualities such as being influential and inspirational and developing others.
Managing Uncertainty and Choices:
Uncertainty creates discomfort and analysis paralysis. We try to analyze the situation from every angle to alleviate the sense of uncertainty. These efforts are often futile and waste valuable time and energy because so often we must make decisions in the face of uncertainty.
We are often paralyzed by uncertainty and end up basing our decisions on things that aren’t even related. Question your attempts to find certainty before making decisions because you may be seeking a false sense of security. Much like the aforementioned method to reign in negative emotions to achieve emotional self-control, acceptance is a crucial starting place. If we are able to accept the uncertainty rather than try to resolve it, we can focus our limited time, energy, and money on making the best decisions in the face of an uncertain outcome.
Trusting Your Intuition:
Excellent leaders often say that they go with their gut to make decisions. They are able to trust themselves and their expertise and not get stuck in the cycle of over-thinking. The more you know about a subject, the more reliable your intuition will be. Make yourself an expert in your field and your intuition will be your best guide.