Leaders with Emotional Intelligence
The age of the self opinionated, directive leader is over. The age of the heart based leader has begun. In fact this has been true for some time now, as leaders emerge in all sectors willing to be responsible and accountable for their actions and feelings. Take note of the word, ‘feelings’.
In this article, we shall look at why emotional intelligence is so important for leaders – and how you, as a leader, can improve yours.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Way back in 1990 the first sign of Emotional Intelligence as a concept was muted by Mayer and Salovey in the USA. They defined that Emotional Intelligence involved ‘the ability to monitor one’s own and others feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions’. So, Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they are feeling, what their emotions mean, and most importantly, how these emotions can affect other people.
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who further helped to popularize EI during the 90’s, there are five main elements of emotional intelligence:
If you are self-aware, you always know how you feel, and you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you. Being self-aware when you are in a leadership position also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses and it means behaving with humility.
So, what can you do to improve your self-awareness?
Leaders who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control. This element of emotional intelligence, according to Goleman, also covers a leader's flexibility and commitment to personal accountability.
So, how can you improve your ability to self-regulate?
Self-motivated leaders work consistently toward their goals, and they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.
How can you improve your motivation?
For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else's situation. They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, then show them you care by being empathic.
How can you improve your empathy?
5. Social skills
Leaders who do well in the social skills element of emotional intelligence are great communicators. They are just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and they are expert at getting their team to support them and be excited about a new mission or project.
Leaders who have good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically. They are rarely satisfied with leaving things as they are, but they do not sit back and make everyone else do the work: They set an example with their own behavior.
So, how can you build social skills?
For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a leader who shouts at his team when he's under stress, or a leader who stay in control, and calmly assesses the situation? Take the time to work on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Working on these areas will help you excel in the future!
Read more on EI with Daniel Goleman. His 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books) was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half; with more than 5,000,000 copies in print worldwide in 40 languages, and has been a best seller in many countries.
Mayer and Salovey http://www.unh.edu/emotional_intelligence/EIAssets/EmotionalIntelligenceProper/EI1990%20Emotional%20Intelligence.pdf