Outstanding Leaders Exhibit More Than Just Emotional Intelligence–They Have These 7 Traits, According to Neuroscience

The topic of emotional intelligence (EQ) continues to dominate leadership conversations. Rightly so. However, in a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article that highlighted research by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis (experts on the topic), EQ is only the beginning.

Whereas EQ has an emphasis on individual psychology, there is a more relationship-based version called social intelligence. Social Intelligence, as defined by Goleman and Boyatizis, is a set of interpersonal competencies built on specific neural circuits and responses that inspire others to be effective. In other words, based on neuroscience and biology, there are certain leadership behaviors that elicit positive emotional responses in your team members.

Although there are a few, one important neurological discovery that supports the importance of social intelligence are “mirror neurons.” In short, a mirror neuron fires in social situations telling our brains to mimic, or “mirror,” what someone else does. That’s why you might find yourself copying people’s body language or drawing off of other’s energy. As you can imagine, this research has extraordinary significance in organizations especially for those in a position to influence others.

To ensure that you set the right tone. Here seven traits, from the same HBR article, to gauge your social intelligence and ensure that you’re leading by example:

1. Empathetic

Great leaders are cognizant and receptive of others’ needs, backgrounds, and motivators. They listen objectively and make sure not to pass any preconceived judgments. They are understanding and use compassion to relate to employees and then redirect them down the right path.

2. Attunement

Socially adept managers actively listen to others and consider their feelings. They tune into their employees’ frequencies and adjust to their approach to match their communications style, therefore, maximizing their effectiveness.

3. Organizational Awareness

Leaders with a high social quotient appreciate…

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