Why emotional intelligence is important in leadership

Why emotional intelligence is important in leadership

What is emotional intelligence?

The capacity to recognize, comprehend, and manage your own emotions as well as those of those around you is known as emotional intelligence or EI. People who possess high levels of emotional intelligence are aware of their feelings, what they signify, and how they may affect others.

Emotional intelligence is essential for leaders to succeed. Consider this: Which type of leader is more likely to move the organization forward: one who loses control of their emotions and those of others while under pressure, or one who calmly analyses the situation?

The term “emotional intelligence” (EI) refers to a set of skills needed to recognize, comprehend, manage, and evaluate one’s own and other people’s emotions, according to the team Salovey and Mayer (1990). The American psychologist Daniel Goleman, who contributed to the popularization of emotional intelligence, identified five essential components.

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-control
  • Drive
  • Empathy
  • Social abilities

The more a leader’s emotional intelligence, the better they are at managing each of these areas.

Importance of emotional intelligence in leadership

People with high EQ are more self-aware, better at regulating their actions, better at controlling their reactions, and more empathetic. 

Having high EQ can also help you better manage stress, build trust, maintain healthier relationships, improve your performance, and make you more satisfied with the work you do. 

This is because it doesn’t just make you more aware of yourself and how your actions impact others; it also makes you more aware of the emotions of others and how those emotions can affect their attitudes, behaviors, and performance. 

In the workplace, emotional intelligence can help us:

  • Build trust
  • Coach and motivate others
  • Create a culture of collaboration
  • Improve communication
  • Increase accountability
  • Reduce stress
  • Resolve conflicts 

EI is important in the workplace and has a big impact on how workers get along with each other, deal with stress, and complete their tasks.

Importance of emotional intelligence in leadership
Importance of emotional intelligence in leadership
  • Despite challenges, working toward the organization’s objectives.
  • Staff members are more driven to comprehend their feelings as well as those of their coworkers.
  • Healthy communication results in shared objectives across the organization.
  • The workers have an optimistic attitude toward the task at hand.
  • Strong bonds and stronger connections among coworkers.
  • Flexibility; employees with high EI can adapt to change and manage any further stress it may cause.
  • Enhanced productivity as a result of sympathetic employees making choices that benefit everyone.
  • As they advance in their careers, employees with high EI are likely to succeed in leadership roles.
  • EI is also contagious. A higher return can be achieved by hiring emotionally intelligent personnel or by helping current employees improve their emotional intelligence. Other workers develop into better team players as they learn to comprehend and control their own emotions.

It is crucial to keep in mind that depending on the function within the firm, high EI has different benefits. EI, for instance, can be extremely useful in the human resources field. This is because HR staff members are always interacting with employees across the company, building connections, and attempting to address the problems that various employees may be experiencing.

They must develop good interpersonal skills, including the ability to sympathize with others and recognize issues even when they are not directly told about them.

They are also heavily involved in hiring new employees and identifying potential candidates for specific roles. EI is a critical competency during job interviews, and HR professionals must be able to swiftly learn about and comprehend potential candidates.

In studies, the importance of EI for businesses is clear. The important findings that support the need for organizations to take EI into account when developing their workforce are listed below.

Job Satisfaction

Numerous research from various industries has demonstrated that emotional intelligence has a favorable impact on job satisfaction. Employees who are happy in their jobs produce a variety of advantages for the company, including:

  • Increased productivity
  • Fewer staff changes
  • Greater involvement 
  • Loyalty

Various factors impact whether someone is happy with their employment or not (including recognition, growth opportunities, etc.). However, EI aids in the development of emotional well-being, greater self-esteem, and pleasant moods that support an employee’s happiness in their position.

However, EI also lessens negative consequences like stress, which can result in burnout and job unhappiness.

Job Execution

The biggest predictor of performance, emotional intelligence, accounts for 58% of success across all job categories, according to a study by TalentSmartEQ on abilities that are essential in the workplace. They also discovered that 90% of top performers had strong EI scores.

Examples of emotional intelligence in leadership

Here are a few instances that you may immediately start watching out for in your office.

Examples of emotional intelligence in leadership

1. A troubled worker gets a sympathetic audience

Nearly all workers experience frustration, bad moods, arguments, and plain lousy days. Your EQ is greatly impacted by how you respond to this.

Do you deny it’s happening or, worse still, do you criticize it and advise them to get over it?

A surefire indicator of emotional intelligence in action is compassion and understanding. The knowledge that everyone experiences intense emotions and acting accordingly demonstrates an understanding that a person’s feelings matter.

2. Attendees in meetings pay attention to each other

Have you ever been in a meeting when it seemed like everyone was trying to talk loudest or last? This is a telltale symptom of a lack of emotional intelligence as well as a sign of egos taking over and a lack of respect for others.

It’s a good indication of EQ in action when individuals are allowed to speak, and others listen without constantly interrupting. It demonstrates respect for one another and increases the likelihood that meetings will end positively.

3. Individuals freely express themselves

Emotional intelligence is also shown in the workplace when employees feel comfortable speaking their minds, exchanging ideas, and expressing their emotions. On the other hand, when feelings, ideas, and attitudes are suppressed, they might build up and explode at any moment.

Emotionally intelligent people do not become irritated when viewpoints differ from their own; rather, they expect diversity and enjoy it as long as interactions are always respectful. And they don’t expect people to act like robots at work, therefore they are okay with people expressing how they feel.

Individuals freely express themselves

4. Most reform efforts are successful

The workplace will inevitably experience change. How change is handled and reacted to will reveal a lot about the leadership and their interactions with the workforce.

When efforts are poorly managed and their human impact isn’t fully understood, change may be persistently opposed. It’s a good indication that emotional intelligence was used in the planning, introduction, and reaction to the changes if new projects are consistently implemented successfully.

6. Individuals are free to express their creativity

If you try to contain the creative energy, it will find a way to escape. Creativity may or may not be highly valued in your organization, depending on its nature, but creative people will always cherish it.

An inventive organization and a group of creative people working together are ideal. In this instance, individuals are allowed to be creative and to follow their rhythm to attain it.

7. People meet out of work time 

Whether it’s colleagues having a chat over the water cooler, having lunch together, or catching the train to work together, these are all signs of social behavior. It’s usually accompanied by people having fun and enjoying each other’s company – which helps to keep stress out of the equation. People forming close bonds like this should be encouraged as another important element of an emotionally intelligent workplace.

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