Leading self with character is a critical component of leadership. In fact, self awareness and self control are important prerequisites that must be mastered before a person can attempt to understand and influence others. These character qualities undergird a leader’s decisions and actions.

Leadership is primarily relational. Mentoring relationships are crucial to any emerging leader.

Emotional Intelligence is measurable. Daniel Goleman, who popularized this idea in his best selling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, asserts the theory that our ability to understand and control our emotions may be more predictive of our success than than our intellectual abilities.

A few important things to understand about Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional Intelligence can be taught. Although some of our ability to deal with our emotions is innate, people can increase their emotional intelligence through counseling or coaching. We can teach others how to identify their emotions and how to understand the difference between their emotions, thoughts, and actions. Once people gain this self awareness, they are able to harness their emotions toward useful solutions.

Good social skills and awareness of social networks are essential in the workplace. To say that people need to be able to communicate well with others to be successful at work may seem obvious. However, most of us overestimate our emotional intelligence. An understanding of how well we actually function in our relationships with others may be the motivation we need to make a change toward more productive interactions with others. Those of us who manage our relationships well soon create a valuable network of people who will join with us in achieving our goals.

Emotional Intelligence is essential during stressful times. Leaders strong in Emotional Intelligence are able to listen well and empathize with others. Goleman says that the emotional task of leadership is primal, the original and most important act of leadership. In difficult times, leaders can redirect people toward an optimistic outlook that will help them combat the negative impact of stress.

Take some time to reflect on your own Emotional Intelligence. How have you seen these issues affect your job performance?

This post was originally published at Mountain State University Leadertalk and is republished here with permission.