It’s pretty much common knowledge at this point that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is big deal. 90% of high performers test as having high EQ, but at the same time, only 36% of folks tested could accurately identify their emotions as they happened. Today, we’re going to look at some symptoms of leaders with low emotional intelligence.
Just for a quick review, EQ is made up of four basic components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. As leaders, each of those plays a vital role in our ability to lead well.
However, even though it’s common knowledge at this point that EQ is a critical skill that can have a massive positive impact on our ability to lead, we all still have room to grow. Further still, there are some cases where the lack of emotional intelligence is so severe that leaders can and do actually cause hurt and pain to their teams on a regular basis.
Symptoms of Leaders with Low Emotional Intelligence
Leaders with low emotional intelligence rarely, if ever, take responsibility for issues on their teams.
Since there’s such a lack of self-awareness, leaders with low emotional intelligence will blame issues on their teammates, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
Leaders with low emotional intelligence are quick to attribute others’ emotional responses to their behavior to those people being overly emotional.
Because of their deficiencies in the areas of social awareness and self-management, leaders with low emotional intelligence, when confronted with how their behavior is affecting others negatively, will often opine that the issue is that those other people don’t have appropriate control of their emotions. Their lack of self-awareness prevents them from realizing that it’s actually their own behavior that is often deeply hurtful to others.
Leaders with low emotional intelligence tend to overreact to perceived slights.
Because of their deficiencies in all four areas that comprise emotional intelligence, leaders with low EQ tend to take everything personally, even when nothing is actually intended.
Leaders with low emotional intelligence say “I’m sorry you feel that way” more than “I’m sorry.”
The former doesn’t acknowledge that any “real” or “legitimate” reason exists for the other party to be hurt or offended. This demonstrates a lack of EQ, and is a favorite go-to line for leaders who lack emotional intelligence.
Leaders with low emotional intelligence like to claim that they’re being “direct” or “candid” when most people on the receiving end of that “directness” just feel like they’re being jerks.
Another classic tactic of the low-EQ leader, this one again sets up others as not being strong enough or capable enough to handle something, when in fact it’s not that at all. It’s a woeful lack of emotional intelligence on the part of these sorts of leaders.
Leaders with low emotional intelligence often blame the people they hurt for the situations leading to them being hurt.
This has such a devastating effect on individuals and teams. Like many of you, I’ve seen this happen firsthand. Someone expresses that they’ve been hurt by something a leader has done. The leader, rather than apologizing or admitting fault, instead proceeds to twist it all around and somehow, by the end of the conversation, the person who was hurt is the one who’s not only being blamed, but is now even more deeply wounded.
As you can see, leaders with low emotional intelligence can do serious damage to team and organizational dynamics, so it’s crucial that we constantly strive to check ourselves on this stuff. What other symptoms would you add? Leave them in the comments!