Whatever role you're in, it's imperative to exercise the traits of emotional intelligence (EQ) to enhance your leadership and professional development and work effectively with others.

To that end, ask yourself five simple questions to determine where you stand against the high bar of leaders with emotional intelligence. 

1. Do you openly share what you're feeling?

Some leaders are not comfortable expressing all of their emotions. No, I'm not talking about yelling expletives down the hall with unrestrained anger when something goes south. What I mean is showing up with "emotional honesty" by speaking your truth. This could be sharing both good news and bad news or facing conflict when someone violates trust. So many of us are afraid of being vulnerable because of several factors -- fear, uncertainty, or lack of confidence. We then put on a mask that hides who we truly are, which shows up in counterproductive ways, like false charisma, micromanagement, or people-pleasing. A leader with emotional intelligence, on the other hand, shows up with his or her most authentic and best self, while honoring the authenticity and best in others. 

2. Do you practice self-control?

A leader with emotional intelligence is able to redirect disruptive emotions and
impulses and not jump to any hasty conclusions. When a team botches a delivery, a leader with EQ resists the urge to go off and point fingers. She will step back, look at all the possible reasons why things didn't work out as planned, explains the consequences to her team, and explore solutions with them.

3. Are you visible to others?

During the pandemic, leaders with a high degree of EQ don't hide behind their computer screens and devices or conveniently delegate important communication needs to others. They are highly visible, sharing plans for the future and addressing questions and concerns to calm fears and apprehensions. Employees look to such leaders for information clear expectations of what's going on when the chips are down. 

4. Do you run toward conflict (instead of away from it)?

Let's accept the fact that conflict is unavoidable when human beings are involved. Rather than being passive-aggressive and conflict-avoidant, leaders with emotional intelligence courageously run toward the eye of the storm. They are keenly aware that cutting through conflict with active listening skills to understand the other person is a much faster solution to resolving an issue than the negative consequences of running away from conflict.

5. Do you seek understanding?

It's crucially important to explore the "why" of how others feel and strive to see things from their perspective, not just your own. Slowing down and trying to grasp an understanding of other people's day-to-day, and how a shift to remote work may be affecting their performance and wellbeing is a critical lesson in exploring the "why" in people's stories. By seeking meaning and understanding, it will allow you to provide your fellow employees or co-workers with a solution that they need.