Emotional intelligence or EQ isn’t just an attribute; it’s a set of skills that anyone can learn through proper training and practice. Emotionally intelligent leaders are better at building stronger relationships, having more positive interactions, and communicating clearly to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

Want to build a community of emotionally intelligent leaders in your organization? Here are some suggestions on how to get started.

3 key traits of emotionally intelligent leadership

Before you can build a community of emotionally intelligent leaders, you need to understand what makes such leaders. Research shows three key traits of emotionally intelligent leadership: Developing others, trustworthiness, and social sensitivity. If you want to know if your leadership operates with emotional intelligence, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I encourage people to succeed?
  • Do I recognize their contributions?
  • Do I help them grow?

If so, you’re on your way toward becoming an emotionally intelligent leader. But what about you, as an individual? It’s not just about how you relate to others at work; it’s also about how you lead yourself. Are you trying new things in your job—and constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone? Are you open to feedback and constructive criticism from colleagues and those who lead you? And do you seek to understand before being understood? If so, then congratulations! You’re already on your way to developing emotionally intelligent leadership skills.

Step 1: Embed emotional intelligence in your leaders

First, it’s important to have an individual-level focus on emotional intelligence. You need to start by ensuring that all employees understand what emotional intelligence is and why it is important. It means providing learning experiences for each member of your organization so they can realize their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to emotional intelligence. It is key that leaders who model effective behavior toward their peers also receive similar training so they can share those skills with others in their team or community.

The most successful organizations use peer assistance leadership programs where individuals train one another. These are proven models to help spread emotionally intelligent leadership throughout an organization quickly and effectively.

Step 2: Embed emotional intelligence in your community members

What’s interesting about Star Factor Coaching is that it doesn’t just teach people how to understand themselves and their co-workers better. It also helps them develop a deep awareness of their strengths and weaknesses as leaders and coaches them on when to step in or back off in certain situations, depending on what they do best. On top of that, Star Factor Coaching relies heavily on peer assistance leadership. In other words, group members help each other through various challenges by sharing insights gleaned from successes and failures at work (or elsewhere). The result? A better understanding for all community members of how everyone fits into a healthy team dynamic— – and what needs to change to make that happen.

Step 3: Embed emotional intelligence in the way you communicate with everyone

If your goal is to build an emotionally intelligent community, you need to focus on three key areas:

  1. Your tone with everyone
  2. Your word choice in conversation
  3. Your general disposition toward people

You can watch how you’re coming across by videotaping yourself and your team. Then, use some tips from Dan Goleman’s book Primal Leadership or Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves; both will help increase empathy in an organization while also bringing out strong leadership skills within everyone on staff. Read, Marc Brackett’s Permission to Feel. It is a delightful, informative book that will deepen your understanding of our emotion skills and how we use them.

Once you know and understand what makes an emotionally intelligent leader and what traits they should have to effectively lead others, you can build a community of such leaders.