10 emotional intelligence must-reads for leaders

You won't succeed if you don't do the hard work on soft skills. Let's build your emotional intelligence
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Maybe you have a colleague who seems allergic to the phrase “thank you.” Maybe you have worked for a boss who was oblivious to growing burnout within the group. Maybe the person “coaching” you doesn’t offer actionable advice. These are all examples of people who lack emotional intelligence – and unfortunately, they’re quite common.

You don’t want to be that person, even unintentionally.

You want to be the one who can listen attentively, give feedback constructively, and put yourself in someone else’s shoes – that crucial thing called empathy. These abilities are all part of emotional intelligence, a quality that distinguishes great leaders from mediocre ones. It’s especially true in the age of digital business, when walls in the organization have come down and so many of us work on cross-functional teams, at high speed.

But emotional intelligence bedevils many people. “Soft” skills, such as listening and empathy, aren’t easy to learn. Calculus may look like a walk in the park compared to communicating difficult news, for example.

“It's funny that we even talk about these skills as ‘soft,’ because they are very hard to master and are frequently the cause of more trouble than lack of ‘hard’ skills,” as Anders Wallgren, CTO at Electric Cloud, told us.

But master them you must, if you wish to advance your career. Two keys to building your emotional intelligence are committing to lifelong learning on the topic – and practicing the skills.

We’ve been covering many aspects of emotional intelligence in the past few months, and our readers have devoured all of the advice. Clearly, you’re eager to grow your emotional intelligence skill set. To that end, we’ve rounded up our best articles: Consider it a mini-class in being an emotionally intelligent colleague and leader – and please share with your team.

Emotional intelligence test: 5 self-evaluation tools for leaders

5 TED Talks to increase your emotional intelligence

Top soft skills for IT leaders and how to master them

How to cultivate soft skills in your IT team

How to run meetings that hurt less

How to prepare your team for turbulence

Transformational leadership: 4 ways to inspire employees

5 TED Talks on transformational leadership to watch

Transformational leadership: 5 big mistakes execs make

9 tips: How IT leaders can build better relationships


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Laurianne McLaughlin is Editorial Director, Digital Communities for Red Hat, leading content strategy. Previously, she served as Content Director for The Enterprisers Project, Editor-in-Chief at InformationWeek.com, and Managing Editor at CIO.com.