As I continue my journey with emotional intelligence, one of the most enjoyable practices I have is noticing language and behavior that is or isn’t emotionally intelligent. Sometimes it’s my own and sometimes it’s others’. But in all cases, they’re delightful learning moments that are important to share with others. Last week, I overheard someone I don’t know tell a team member, “I need you to get that report draft…” It occurred to me that there was a time I used that phrase quite often. And it’s a classic example of emotionally unintelligent leadership. Using our building blocks framework, “I need you to…” is a statement that lacks the use of social awareness and relationship management skills. It’s command-like, showing virtually no interest in the other person and demonstrating a lack of empathy. In addition, it’s not an effective way to inspire and influence someone. “I need you to…” comes across as being self-centered, making it all about the person saying it. So the next time we find ourselves about to utter those words, let’s try engaging our self-awareness skills (knowing the impact we have on others). Instead, let’s use a polite request to ask the same thing we’re trying to communicate. It’s more likely to demonstrate effective leadership: moving the other person in the direction we’re going.