The One Essential Habit of Emotionally Intelligent Youth Sports Leaders

Dear Sports Administrator,

Have you come to work in a lousy mood and figured no one would really be affected? Well, your mood may have a bigger impact than you think!

We’ve known for years that emotional intelligence plays a more important role in organizational success than IQ. New research indicates that the mood of the leader is a key dynamic in an organization’s performance on a day-in and day-out basis. 

One might wonder how the emotional intelligence (EI) of administrators in youth sports is connected to the performance of the staff, coaches, and athletes under them. It shouldn’t surprise us to learn that emotional intelligence is carried through an organization like electricity through wires. In other words, your mood as administrators is contagious and spreads quickly throughout the organization, and even can be picked up by parents and fans.

According to Daniel Golman’s article in Harvard Business Review, Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, “We found that of all the elements affecting bottom-line performance, the importance of the leader’s mood and its attendant behaviors are most surprising. The leader’s mood and behaviors drive the moods and behaviors of everyone else.”

Those two elements set off a chain reaction!

Researchers have verified that emotions spread irresistibly whenever people are near each other. Even nonverbal expressiveness can affect other people. And like so many things in leadership, moods that start at the top tend to move the fastest because everyone watches the boss. They take their emotional cue from him or her.

Of course, it doesn’t make sent to be bouncing off the ceiling when your team is in a slump. The most effective youth sports administrators display moods and behaviors that match the situation at hand, with a healthy dose of optimism mixed in.

“They respect how other people are feeling – even if it is glum or defeated – but they also model what it looks like to move forward with hope and humor,” says Goleman.

This is not to say we must all have extroverted, charismatic personalities. It does suggest that we become aware of how our emotional state influences others.

Emotional intelligence is the appropriate use of the energy of emotions in understanding ourselves, understanding others, and how we affect others. The challenge is to use the power of our most positive emotions to help others achieve more.

Further Reading

Manage Your Emotional Culture | Harvard Business Review
The Most Useful Leadership Guide to Managing Your Moods | Inc.com
Why Your Bad Mood Is More Toxic Than You Think | 15Five

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