Although being a leader requires many strong traits, it could be argued that the most important of them all is empathy--the ability to understand and react correctly to what other people are feeling. In fact, 91% of adults reported that they found interpersonal communications to be a huge barrier that prevented leaders from leading effectively.

If you're a millennial leader (or if you work for one), here are the 7 worst emotional intelligence mistakes that you are likely to make.

1. Not giving credit where credit is due

Sometimes, without even realizing it, we take credit for the work of others--especially in an age obsessed with self-validation and recognition. When you're a leader, the brunt of the work is already largely credited to you, so it's important to recognize the efforts of others who helped you along the way.

2. Putting distance between those who work for you

Accessibility is by far one of the most appealing characteristics of a good leader, and acting like you're better than those who work for you--especially if you're a younger face yourself--is definitely not professional behavior.

3. Giving unclear directions

Millennials often feel like people are able to figure stuff out themselves, since they were more often than not forced to do the same thing. However, when in a leading position, giving unclear directions ultimately leads to confusion, and a lack of respect for the leader.

4. Too much texting and emailing

While millennials have been known to prefer written modes of virtual communication to hearing people's voices or talking in person, it can definitely reflect poorly on their interpersonal skills. Employees might perceive this reluctance as disrespect for them, which if not addressed may eventually lead them to quit.

5. Being afraid to critique

Offering constructive criticism is one of the most important things a leader can do to improve members of the team. Millennials--who are often people pleasers--are usually too afraid to share their honest opinions in place of progression.

6. Not recognizing achievements

Small steps lead to completion of big, long-term goals over time, but you'll never get there if you can't encourage people along the way. Recognizing when a little bit of work gets accomplished and validating it is important for staff--and something millennials should keep in mind.

7. Not making enough time to meet with others

Millennials are busy people--but that's no excuse for not making time to spend with your coworkers. Carve time out to spend with others so that you're able to make real connections, foster respect, and get to know them outside the cubicle.

Published on: Feb 9, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.