One of the fundamentals of emotional intelligence is that, as leaders, our emotions and moods spread to our team. No matter how skilled we are at “hiding” our true feelings, studies have proven they come out subconsciously through language, tone of voice, non-verbals, and other micro-behaviors.

In other words, leaders have a unique superpower just by virtue of their position: emotional wi-fi. We have this “wireless” energy that other people can connect to right away, and through which they can “access” a certain mood or emotional wavelength.

If we’re in a joyous mood, people are likely to feel happier. If we’re angry, people will not only avoid us, but will likely start feeling negative emotions. If we’re playful, they too will engage in humor, fun, and smiles. And if we’re anxious or worried, they will start feeling their own form of fear.

In other words, we’re the thermostat that sets the temperature and the people we lead are the thermometer that shows the reading.

As leaders, our ability to control that thermostat is one of the most powerful things we can do. At Junto, we talk about it as a core skill in emotional intelligence: building the self-awareness of what we’re feeling in every moment while at work, and that it’s being “transmitted” to others, no matter how much we’re trying to hide it. But it doesn’t stop there.

A more complex skill is then building our capacity (self-management) to tune into how others are responding to our emotions (social awareness). And when we begin to make progress with both of these skills, we’re in a much better position for teamwork, collaboration, influence, and inspiration (relationship management).

So when you walk into the office tomorrow or show up on a video call, think about what temperature you want to set. And then focus on taking a reading.