A few weeks back, we talked about some key things you should think about before promoting someone to your executive team. Today, I wanted to expand on that concept and add one more: emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is someone's ability to identify and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Which, as you would expect, goes a long way to determining how good of a leader someone will become.
Here are the six emotional skills that I feel are most important for a leader and member of your executive team to possess. If they don't yet have these mastered, further coaching may be needed before inviting them to your team huddle.
1. Team Building: A leader's ability to build and maintain a team is crucial to scaling and growing your business. Executive team members should be able to help create a shared vision, meaning, and culture to shape belonging and behaviors within everyone on your team.
2. Motivation and Inspiration: Business growth is often anything but linear, so it is important that your leaders are able to inspire and motivate your staff when things get tough. They should be skilled in gaining buy-in, selling your vision of the company, and helping people want to do great work.
3. Self-Awareness and Self-Management: This is one of the areas that I think a lot of business owners struggle with and therefore have a difficult time training and seeing this skill set in other leaders in their company. If you tend to be a micromanager, for instance, it is important to know that about yourself so that you can self-regulate your behavior for the sake of your team and your business. Understand your default drives and behaviors and how they impact others as part of your becoming a role model for the behaviors you want to see in others.
4. Social Intelligence: Another really important aspect of emotional intelligence has to do with the ability to understand why those under you behave the way they do. Understanding the drives, attitudes, and behaviors of others is an important skill for any leader. In addition, it allows us to effectively work with other people and move toward a shared goal.
5. Communication: It is extremely difficult to build and manage a team if you struggle with communication issues. Your executive team should know how to effectively listen, give people a voice, share their message, and make sure your team is on the same page. This often occurs with time and practice, and is something that should be worked on at all levels of your business.
6. Navigating Differences: The last skill that I think your executive team should possess is the ability to deal with differences and have "adult conversations." I have worked with many business owners and leaders who are scared to have tough conversations and struggle for months or even years to grow their business because they have a difficult employee or vendor who is causing them to be stagnant. Your executive team should all know how to deal with people different from themselves, gain common ground, and have tough conversations if the need arises.
Promoting someone to your executive huddle shouldn't be taken lightly. It involves a lot of retrospection and coaching to help your team members get to where they need to be to be an effective leader. If done properly, however, the growth and strategic depth that follow are well worth the planning and waiting.