“It isn’t stress that makes us fall–it’s how we respond to stressful events.”
– Wayde Goodall
Importance of Emotional Intelligence for an Effective Leadership
You’ve probably heard before what emotional intelligence is but not quite as to how it is important for people leading teams or organizations. Psychologists define emotional intelligence as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions as well as those of other people. If you are emotionally intelligent, they say, you can read people’s feelings aside from your own. Generally, emotional intelligence encompasses three skills: emotional awareness; the capacity to control emotions and use them to tasks such as problem-solving and thinking; and the ability to handle emotions.
Why do leaders need to be emotionally intelligent?
The current trend in leadership defines great leaders as those who possess transformative qualities. These so-called transformative leaders serve as models to inspire others through their charisma and vision to change the society. They are creative, innovative, compassionate, and effective communicators. They have the ability to resolve disputes reasonably, negotiate huge deals, and understand their strengths and weaknesses. In short, they are the people with high emotional intelligence.
Why is it necessary for leaders to be emotionally intelligent? It is for the simple reason that when a leader knows how to read others, he also knows how to plan his actions ahead. A good leader has a sound understanding of his emotions. He is also sensitive to the feelings of the people around him which is why when he decides, he does it with others in mind. He knows how to control his emotions even in difficult situations. He knows how to deal with difficult subordinates. He sees the bigger picture when everything else in the workplace is in chaos. He is a source of inspiration to people around him.
People with high emotional intelligence have the capacity to accentuate positive thoughts by thinking what works best for the entire organization. Since the workplace is a diverse network of people with a different outlook, perspective, and beliefs in life, most companies would love to employ people with high emotional intelligence.
“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
– Jonathan Swift
What are the qualities of an emotionally intelligent leader?
Effective leaders need to have the following characteristics.
Self-evaluation: A good leader has the ability to recognize his emotions, values, strengths, and weaknesses, and how these affect others. He maintains a good judgment of what is good and what is bad. When he knows his strengths and weaknesses, he has a better understanding of what areas in his life need improvement.
Compassion: A compassionate leader takes care not only of his employees but also those who he does business with. He knows how to motivate his people physically and emotionally towards the betterment of each individual and the entire organization. He treats everyone in his team with respect and consideration.
Self-regulation: A leader with a high degree of emotional intelligence is good at regulating himself. He does not blame others for mistakes committed under his control. He demonstrates calmness in challenging circumstances and does not overreact to certain situations.
Motivation: A leader who is motivated works diligently and consistently toward their goals. He is naturally optimistic about anything that has to do with his job, as well as the organization where he belongs. He gives praise to whoever deserves it, which in turn earns him the loyalty of his employee.
Effective communication: An emotionally intelligent leader communicates effectively so that everyone under him works towards a common goal. When a leader is clear and consistent in delivering his message to his employees, the latter would understand what their leader expects from them, thus, resulting in a productive and efficient workplace. Moreover, we need to admit that employees nowadays tend to give more respect to leaders who actually communicate well compared to those who are not. Effective communication equates to credibility.
Confidence: Conflict and issues are not new to any organization. A leader with a high degree of emotional intelligence is confident that he can resolve issues and manage conflicts in his organization without overreacting. He maintains a sound judgment even in highly stressful conditions. He is keen when it comes to decision-making in times of adversities.
Initiative: Emotionally intelligent leaders are proactive. They have the initiative to identify problems before they arise and address concerns immediately. They ask for feedback about their job and they know their strengths and weaknesses. They always find a way to acquire learning and experiences that are beneficial for their job.
American writer Dale Carnegie has this to remind us: “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.”