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Emotional Intelligence: Seven Traits To Successfully Lead Humanity During Crisis

-Bill Marklein, Founder Employ Humanity, Author of Endless Bloom coming August 17

Leadership at its core is the awareness of our own emotions and the emotions of others and the ability to manage these emotions healthily and productively. Leaders embrace the full wheel of emotion with an understanding that both positive and negative emotions make us human. In times of crisis, negative emotions become more intense and have the potential to unite and inspire resiliency, creativity, and innovation. Negative emotions also have the potential to create drama, hysteria, and dysfunction. To successfully lead and inspire people on the journey through thick and thin, we must use Emotional Intelligence—and our shared humanity.


Emotionally Intelligent leaders have the following seven traits in their leadership DNA:

1. Vulnerability: Leadership is not about always being right or bulletproof—but more about always being real. Leading by example, servant leaders demonstrate humility and vulnerability that they too are learning on the journey—the pandemic is a first for all current leaders—and don’t have all the answers during crisis. It is in being vulnerable that makes us authentic, relatable, and able to truly connect with ourselves and others. The best leaders are not perfect, the best leaders are authentic—and human.

2. Self-Awareness: The best leaders can look in the mirror and be brutally honest with themselves. They intimately know their strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots. They have great mentors and coaches to facilitate this process of self-discovery. With an accurate self-assessment, great leaders have a warm confidence to lead themselves first during adversity so they can successfully lead—and serve— their teams.


3. Empathy: Empathy is the most human we can be in our leadership to listen with curiosity and put ourselves in others’ shoes to better connect and serve. Everyone experiences and processes negative emotions differently. The iceberg is an excellent illustration of empathy. We can look at a human being and erroneously judge their entire situation above the surface with one snapshot. We must go below the surface and truly get to know and understand a person—and how they are truly feeling. Sympathy and empathy are different. Sympathy is feeling for someone, empathy is feeling 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 someone. Empathy is much more powerful in servant leadership.


4. Passion: The most successful teams come together from different backgrounds and become a family with a passion around a common goal. Servant leaders inspire people to become passionate around a common goal to unite and build resiliency during setbacks.

5. Adaptability: The exceptional leaders lead with both head and heart to process and serve constantly changing emotions. They can quickly adapt back-and-forth from using their head (logic, facts, analytical) to heart (compassion, empathy, servant) with the changing emotions and needs around them.

6. Compassion: Compassion and putting people first is the foundation for servant leadership. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Self-compassion, being gentle and kind with oneself, is required to be able to successfully lead others.

7. Integrity: One of the most unique qualities of humanity is the ability to choose and to do what is right for our organizations, our people, our community, and the common good. With self-awareness, the most human leaders are in alignment with what they say, think, and do. This conviction and authenticity builds trust.




Bill Marklein is an author, national speaker, corporate trainer, and trusted advisor in the space of Emotional Intelligence. His new book Endless Bloom: Planting Emotional Intelligence for Positive Growth will be released August 17 and is now available for order exclusively at employhumanity.com.

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