The concept of emotional intelligence has continued to rise as a key topic of conversation in recent years; especially in terms of its impact on leadership capabilities. Having emotional intelligence is what sets you apart from the rest, the quality that gives you a better chance of securing those promotions before your peers. But what exactly is it, and why is it considered to be so important for those who are in leadership positions?
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence can be defined as your ability to both control and understand your own emotions. It might seem like quite a simple definition, perhaps even pointless as many feel that they have a good hold over their feelings. However, many of us really don’t.
If you have a high level of emotional intelligence, you don’t just manage your own emotions; you understand how they can impact the people around you. It means that you can relate strongly to your team, offering them empathy and kindness instead of yelling at them over every mistake. Emotional intelligence is truly the difference between a good leader and a bad one.
Why is it Important?
It’s important because the level of emotional intelligence that you possess will set the tone for your company. It is the basis of the atmosphere that your team are working in, as well as how comfortable your employees are around you. If you aren’t able to communicate with your team in an effective and calm manner, you are likely headed for collapse. Success begins with a strong grasp of your feelings and correct management.
Traits of Those Who Lack Emotional Intelligence
What about the features of leaders who are not emotionally intelligent? To help make things clearer, here are some of the traits that those with low emotional intelligence are likely to display:
- Lashing out in stressful situations. Usually, by yelling at and blaming those around them.
- Working alone and having trouble collaborating, often because employees are nervous.
- Difficulty recognising and resolving conflict, as well as general emotional issues in the workplace.
Traits of Those Who Have Emotional Intelligence
For those who have high emotional intelligence, the traits displayed are more positive and in line with a happy workplace. They are as follows:
- Comfortable environment where collaboration is the norm and employees are confident.
- Emotional awareness in terms of other people, fostering a safe environment that leverages emotions in a positive manner.
- Able to go forward with plans easily because they don’t take things personally and their egos are not impacted, especially by constructive criticism.
The Five Aspects of Emotional Intelligence
In addition to all of this, there are actually five key elements that come with being emotionally intelligent. It’s possible for any leader to learn these as long as they are willing and passionate about change in the workplace. Here are the five things you need:
- Self-awareness. This means that you understand your emotions, where they are coming from, and how to handle them correctly. You also realise how they can impact others, and can see your strengths and weaknesses clearly.
- Self-regulation. This is about keeping control, thinking before you act or speak. It’s where you take a moment to contemplate what to do next before acting based purely on emotional need or desire. You hold yourself accountable.
- Motivation. Keep your standards high, be passionate about your work, and remind yourself why you are in the industry in the first place. Adopt a positive mindset, and try not to linger on any negatives.
- Empathy. Earn the respect of your team by showing them that you understand how they feel. Put yourself in their shoes and respond to their feelings. It’s important that they know you care.
- Social skills. All you need are the basics. Learn conflict resolution, improve your communication skills, and learn how to praise your workers. Be open to hearing both good and bad news, and make sure they know that they have your support.
A happy leader means happy employees, and they will work harder, knowing that you care about them and also respect them. Emotional intelligence can make or break a business, because if your employees are unhappy, they aren’t going to stay with you any longer than they need to.
So, if you haven’t quite mastered emotional intelligence yet, now is definitely the time to get started.