Emotional intelligence and leadership
What makes one a successful leader? Is it their sense of control over the situation and their own moods? Is it the respect that their team has or perhaps their communication skills? Is it the ability to make careful decisions and find the best solution to every problem? The answer is all of them, as these qualities are part of a broader trait, known as emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is namely the ability to understand and control your own emotions and those of the people around you. It involves a high degree of self-awareness, self-management and social awareness, also known as empathy. The people with high emotional intelligence know how to recognize destructive emotions in themselves and others and how to deal with them in time; they also know how to enhance the positive qualities and serve as inspiration for their team members and colleagues.
It’s not that technical knowledge or intelligence don’t matter. Quite the opposite, they’re essential for every professional and they can serve as thresholds for a position. But it’s the emotional intelligence that turns the talented professional into an excellent leader. In general, there are 5 components of EI – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill. Most people possess a certain portion of these skills, but are rarely trained how to further develop or use them.
To be self-aware means to be able to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses and know how to take advantage of both. Self-aware people become confident leaders, able to perform a realistic assessment of their positive and negative sides. Self-regulation is linked to the ability to work on your weaknesses and control any destructive emotions or urges that might arise. People with a high degree of self-regulation can learn to think before acting, and never resource to prejudice or judgments. Motivation is, of course, an essential trait of every leader. A manager needs to be passionate about their work and know how to inspire the same passion in their team. Motivated leaders tend to be more energetic and readily pursue their goals, producing outstanding final results.
But if motivation and strong leadership qualities are to help you and your team it requires sincere empathy and social skills as well as communication skills. Good leaders listen to and understand their coworkers’ concerns and are eager to offer emotional support. This skill also makes them incredibly talented in creating and retaining client networks. High social skills also means natural ability to lead, and these people are generally more efficient in persuading others and inspiring them to make a change.
Intelligence and capabilities are vital for the productivity of every employee. Cognitive skills, motivation and long-term vision are perhaps essential for a good leader, but what makes an emotional intelligent leader is how well they have developed their EI as that plays a significant role at the highest levels of the company, where usually there’s little difference between the individuals’ technical capabilities or knowledge. If you’re hiring a CEO, you need to know that they’ll be someone that your employees would like to follow. Someone who can be persuasive and engaging, and will inspire a desire for action and productivity. High degree of emotional intelligence is an integral part of leadership – it is what we call “people skills”, a driving force that unites people behind a single figure… and what makes a great leader.