As South Africans gear up to the elections on 29 May, it’s difficult not to think about our first President of the democratic South Africa, and what a great leader Nelson Mandela was. Importantly, it wasn’t his technical skills, his cognitive ability nor his IQ that made him who he was. Indeed, it was his emotional intelligence (EQ).

Imagine the possibilities if you could replicate his leadership and vision in your business.

EQ is the ability to recognise, understand and manage emotions in ourselves and others.

People with high EQ have great self-awareness and social awareness and they also know how to manage themselves and relationships with others to get the most out of them. It’s no wonder that most people with high EQ are successful, great leaders, and happy. So it stands to reason that this is what we should be striving for.

Self Awareness

This is about knowing who you are and what you stand for. In addition, it’s an understanding of what you are feeling, why, and how it affects your performance. Self-awareness is also knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and having the ability to take action to address shortfalls. This is at the core of leadership.

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Nelson Mandela

Social Awareness

Empathising with others at an individual and a group level is being socially aware. By keeping your emotions in check, you can listen to and understand others in order to get the best out of them. Being aware of others and your impact on them is a vital and integral quality of great leadership.

“If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important, and you do that by being genuine and humble.” Nelson Mandela

Self Management

A lack of self-control has been found to be the main factor that stops high potential leaders achieving their full potential. Exercising self-control is the ability to remain composed, positive and unflappable whatever state your emotions are in. It’s about holding yourself accountable and being flexible to adapt and find solutions to problems in changing circumstances.   

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” Nelson Mandela

Relationship management

Effective leaders with high EQ are widely respected and liked and inspire the team to willingly follow their lead. They regularly provide constructive feedback to develop and challenge individual team members to grow. They are change catalysts and remove obstacles. It’s about having a natural aptitude for creating a cohesive team and building effective and lasting relationships.

“What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Nelson Mandela

Having spent 27 years in prison, perhaps Mandela had the ‘luxury’ of time for introspection, self-reflection and conscious awareness, but with a bit of effort and focus, you too can improve your emotional intelligence for the benefit of your business and those who work with you.

Improving your EQ is at the very core of business and executive coaching. Give me a call and let’s transform you into the iconic leader your business deserves.

Request an EQ assessment (R750)

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