Lioness manager, Sarina Wiegman, said yesterday that it was only a matter of time before there was a female manager of the England men’s team. The command and control management style adopted by Alex Ferguson is largely a thing of the past, replaced instead with an emotionally intelligent approach to leadership. This is embodied by both Southgate and Wiegman who prioritize mutual respect, encourage adaptability and foster resilience in order to build a high performance team. So what are the key qualities of an Emotionally Intelligent leader and how can we apply these to the world of business?
Emotionally intelligent leaders take the time to understand their communication style and the impact it has on those around them. Wiegman clearly demonstrates this trait in her ability to communicate effortlessly with her team. By recognising your own style and those of others, you can flex your communication style accordingly to help you build trust and rapport and get the most from your team.
This often underrated emotional intelligence skill is critical to anyone who wants to inspire others. You need to draw on your self-control to respond rather than react to challenging situations. It’s about staying cool calm and collected in high stake situations so you can make rational decisions. Both Southgate and Wiegman lead by example. They have the ability to drown out the background noise – whether it’s the media or the crowd – and stay focused on the task in hand.
Great leaders have the courage of their convictions. This means dialling up your emotional intelligence so you have to ability to back yourself and fight your own corner. This doesn’t mean you have to be autocratic or overly dominant, it’s about trusting your own judgement and having the confidence to say what needs to be said.
Emotionally intelligent leaders take the time to truly understand the individuals in their team. This helps them establish mutual respect and create a safe environment where both parties can open up to each other. Only then can leaders understand how best to motivate the different people in their team whilst still focusing on the collective effort.
Both Wiegman and Southgate clearly demonstrate why Emotional Intelligence is critical to effective leadership. It’s only be developing these key EQ skills that leaders can inspire their team to go the extra mile and achieve their full potential both on and off the football pitch.