Emotional intelligence has now become one of the most important points of ineffective leadership. For sure, one thing we should know is that it has become a trait that can be developed and measured. But now, the question is “what actually is it” and “how it affects the leadership concept?”

Emotional intelligence is referred to as an important characteristic for everyone within the organization but particularly it is important for leaders. In leadership, emotional intelligence shows how to manage a team, the ways in which they interact with each other, etc. 

However, let’s dig in depth!

Define the term ‘emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is explained as the ability to recognize and manage your emotion and understand the emotions of the people being around. The emotional intelligence concept was developed by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1990. Later on, it was popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman. 

After a decade, Goleman highlighted the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. Over the years, emotional intelligence was termed EQ, which is comprised of several skills. However, as per Daniel Goleman, the five key elements related to emotional intelligence are:

  • self-awareness
  • self-regulation
  • motivation
  • empathy and
  • social skills

Understand, How Emotional Intelligence is Important in Leadership?

Leaders who show and nurture a great level of emotional intelligence to become great leaders. However, here are a few ways that show the ways in which emotional intelligence is important for leaders and their leadership. 

Internal awareness: In leadership, making appropriate decisions need a well-understanding of how your feelings are going to affect the attitudes, productivity, judgment, and more. Good leaders are self-aware of their emotions, limitations, weaknesses, and strengths. 

Self-regulation: Many leaders generally fail to control their emotions or take impulsive decisions, and it results in quickly losing the respect of their subordinates. Such moments can undo the rapport of the leader which can be quite difficult to earn back. Thus, it is said that emotional intelligence breeds self-regulation.

Increased empathy: Experts say that leaders having a high level of emotional intelligence have a sound understanding of their emotional states. It generally allows them to gauge others’ emotions more accurately. If we talk about the business leaders, empathy places them in their employees’ shoes, thus it leads to deliberate and thoughtful decisions.

Collaborative communication: If you have all the above three elements of leadership, then you might be able to understand your coworkers. And, it will help you immediately choosing the tone of an individual or group and helps in speaking honestly. 

Less stress: Stress at the workplace are common. It cannot be avoided, but leaders having emotional intelligence are capable to manage workplace stress better. Also, they avoid taking any sort of negative feelings out on their families and coworkers. These leaders enjoy life balance and better work as they know the work emotions and environment. 

Apart from helping leaders in leadership, emotional intelligence also benefits the organization. Several businesses and organizations encounter difficulties in preventing the turnover of employees. However, see how emotional intelligence assists an organization. It helps in providing:

Better team engagement: Emotional intelligence helps the organization in acknowledging the team dynamics and helps them capitalize on the inherent benefits of team working. 

Improves company culture: Organizations always talk about their working culture, but have you ever thought of the culture without emotional intelligence? Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein write in Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust, that “In our view, leadership is always a relationship, and truly successful leadership thrives in a group culture of high openness and high trust.”  

High-performance: Trusted employees who are not subjected to be negative and whose emotions are valued generally perform the best and high-level productivity that benefits the bottom line.

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