Emotional Intelligence In Leadership
What is emotional intelligence in leadership?
Emotional intelligence in leadership, which is often shortened to just EI is the ability a leader has to be able to recognize, understand and manage both the emotions of others and their own emotions.
It’s about guiding your thoughts and actions based on the emotions of others to make effective decisions.
Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are often strong communicators that can build productive, effective working relationships. They can often handle stress and pressure and create positive work environments.
EI leaders are able to manage conflicts and tend to be effective negotiators. Emotional Intelligence in leadership is bout empathizing with the people that you lead. It is thought to be a crucial component of effective leadership as it enables team members to feel valued and assists them in reaching their full potential
Why is emotional intelligence important in leadership?
There are a number of reasons why emotional intelligence in leadership is important…
- It helps you manage and control your own emotions which can help you stay cool and calm in stressful or pressured situations, giving you more chances of making responsible, thoughtful, fact-based, and level-headed decisions.
- It fosters good, strong working relationships through understanding and empathizing with those that the person leads and other key stakeholders that a leader deals with in a typical working environment. Thus ultimately should lead to a productive working environment.
- Emotionally intelligent leaders can often inspire trust and respect in those that they lead. This in turn will often increase employee engagement and motivation.
How can emotional intelligence improve leadership?
Leadership is ultimately about getting things done by a team of people. To do this requires the leader to understand and motivate the people they are responsible for. Emotional intelligence helps leaders better understand and motivate people – it’s about reading the signs of an individual. What makes them tick? What do they like or dislike, etc? What communication styles work best with a particular individual?
Having emotional intelligence as a leader can prevent you from taking actions or making decisions that could damage team morale or create a conflict in the workplace.
What are the 5 essential tools for an emotionally intelligent leader?
There are said to be 5 essential tools for an emotionally intelligent leader, these are:
- emotional regulation
- social skills
- and motivation.
Allows a leader to put themselves in another person’s shoes so to speak. To see things from their perspective. This often results in the building of stronger working relationships, making better decisions, and creating a more positive work environment
This is about the leader being aware of their own emotions in the main but also having a strong awareness of the emotions of others. Being able to manage and understand such emotions is conducive to an effective, productive, and positive work environment.
Enable the leader to stay in control of their emotions. Regulating one’s emotions enables you to better make decisions with the best interests of your team or organization at heart. It’s also important for keeping conflict at bay.
Social skills are all about interacting with others effectively. Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware and understand emotions, and to use this information to guide your thoughts and actions. Strong social skills are a complement to emotional intelligence.
Motivation allows the leader to influence and inspire others. Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to read key emotions from individuals to better enable them to best understand what motivates those individuals most effectively.
Does leadership need emotional intelligence?
In short, yes it does! It allows leaders to better understand and relate to the people they are leading. It enables better response to difficult situations from the understanding of the emotional needs of the people you are surrounded by.
What is a good example of emotional intelligence?
I think a good example of emotional intelligence that I experienced during my time as a leader was picking up on the skills, strengths, and motivations of others. I had one individual who was highly technical, providing him with the latest bit of technological kit or software would make him happy, productive, and motivated for months. I had another individual who loved to be involved in the more strategic aspects of the business, if I invited her to the core strategy meetings she was made up and very useful in the meeting.
I personally see emotional intelligence as the ability to spot those kinds of things… What does an individual like? What do they dislike? What makes them smile? What do they like to talk about? etc. Armed with this knowledge it’s much easier to get things done at the right time and by the right people – meaning people who would be happy doing the task at hand.
Why is emotional intelligence important in the workplace?
The understanding of feelings and emotions tends to lead to more productive, efficient, and effective teams. It builds relationships, helps resolve conflicts, and creates a positive workplace and culture. It contributes to overall job satisfaction and employee engagement which ultimately leads to improved staff retention and improved performance overall.
Understanding and managing emotions in oneself and others
As was probably made clear in the previous parts of this post emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of and manage one’s own emotions, and the emotions of others. It’s an important life skill and one that can actually be improved with practice.
People who have high emotional intelligence tend to have more success in life. High EI enables people to better manage relationships, set and achieve goals and cope with more stress and adversity.
There are four key components to emotional intelligence:
1. Self-awareness: To be aware of and understand one’s own emotions.
2. Self-management: To manage one’s emotions and reactions in a healthy way.
3. Social awareness: To be aware of and understand the emotions of others.
4. Relationship management: To manage relationships effectively and take into account the emotions of others.
People with high EI are usually good at managing their own emotions and the emotions of others
Building and maintaining positive relationships
To effectively communicate with others a leader must build and maintain positive relationships. To do this they need to be able to understand the emotions of others and respond in a way that meets those needs. It’s about making people feel comfortable and respected.
Active listening and effective communication
Active listening is a key communication skill for leaders. Leaders need to be able to listen to their team and understand individual needs and concerns, which requires empathy and emotional intelligence. Active listening is a communication skill that is used to improve communication by concentrating on the speaker and what they are saying. It’s about making the speaker feel heard and valued, and responding thoughtfully.
Whereas effective communication is a process of exchanging information in a way that the message is accurately understood and acted upon. It involves understanding the needs of the person or people that you are communicating with and clearly conveying your message to them. It’s about ensuring that the message was received and properly understood.
Conflict resolution and negotiation skills
Having the ability to effectively manage conflict and negotiate solutions is a key competence for emotionally intelligent leaders. It’s about spotting emotions early and creating win-win solutions that satisfy the needs of all parties involved while building an environment of trust and respect. Making employees feel heard and valued.
Empathy and understanding different perspectives
Empathy is key to emotional intelligence as it involves understanding how others are feeling and being able to see the situation from their perspective. It can enable you to better understand exactly where your team members are coming from, and what point they’re trying to put across or what they’re dealing with. Understanding team needs and wants can be a powerful strategy for motivating them to get stuff done.
Self-awareness and self-regulation
Self-awareness is always the first step toward emotional intelligence. To be able to be aware of others’ emotions you must first be fully aware and able to regulate your own emotions. You need to be aware of things that trigger your emotions and be able to control your reactions even when in difficult or stressful situations. It’s about staying calm, keeping clear-headed, and focused, all of the aforementioned are essential for making good decisions.
Developing emotional intelligence in team members
To develop emotional intelligence in team members, leaders should:
- Encourage team members to have an understanding of their own emotions and what triggers them
- Encourage team members to be aware of and express their emotions and provide strategies or tools to help manage their emotions.
- Teach team members how to read and understand others’ emotions.
- Encourage team members to be supportive of one another, particularly in an emotional context.
- Help team members to resolve conflict in a constructive and positive way.