How Emotional Intelligence Became A Key Leadership Skill

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EI for short) has become one of the most important leadership skills professionals look to develop. It is now being considered as an essential competency for anyone wishing to succeed in workplace settings.

With all too common stories of senior level leaders that have been accused of sexual harassment or assault, along with reports of internal bullying campaigns left untouched by management, it seems like every day brings another revelation about someone in power who does not know how to control their emotions.

It’s impossible to predict when these meltdowns will occur, but we can be sure they will if you’re under someone else’s employment contract. Unfortunately, many employers don’t seem to care very much.

In fact, some studies suggest that having high levels of EQ may even cost your employer money through increased employee turnover and less productivity. So, why would so many people be investing time and resources into developing this quality when it could easily hurt them?

This article will talk you through the importance of emotional literacy as a leader and what you can do to improve yours. You’ll also find tips and tricks to help you achieve this.

Relationship with effective leadership

how emotional intelligence became a key leadership skill

As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence (EI) has become increasingly important in our society. This is due to the way people interact with each other constantly through social media, work, and life.

As we live more of our lives via technology, it becomes crucial to be aware of your emotions and how they affect those around you.

Leaders are no exception to this rule. After all, being a leader means motivating others to do what you want them to do!

And yes, being able to motivate someone comes down to understanding their emotions and how they influence them.

The importance of emotional intelligence

how emotional intelligence became a key leadership skill

Over the past few decades, emotional literacy or EQ has become an increasingly important leadership skill. In fact, some experts consider it more significant than IQ.

Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions as well as those of others. It’s also referred to as “other-related skills” because you are conscious of how other people feels before you make decisions for yourself.

Research shows that having high levels of EQ can have profound benefits in your career and personal life. For example, studies indicate that individuals with higher EQ tend to do better at their jobs and achieve their personal goals.

It also correlates with greater success in relationships and overall happiness. While there’s no surefire way to develop EQ, most agree that just like with any other talent, you are born with some level of it, and some people are simply smarter about feelings than others.

No matter what position you hold, everyone else out there has their own set of internal experiences and perceptions they carry around with them. Becoming more aware of these experiences and why someone might be feeling a certain way will help you get ahead in your career and beyond.

Ways to improve your emotional intelligence

how emotional intelligence became a key leadership skill

One of the most important things you can do as a person is to understand yourself. Your personality, what makes you feel good about yourself, and how you relate to other people are key pieces of information that determine your success in life.

This is particularly true in the workplace, where relationships matter more than they possibly could anywhere else in our lives.

Your interpersonal skills are one of the biggest determinants of whether or not you succeed at work and help create either in a team environment or leading one.

Having strong social skills is an invaluable asset to any career. You will likely spend time working with people, so it is essential to be able to regulate your emotions and motivate others around you.

Emotional intelligence (or EI for short) has become one of the top leadership qualities employers look for. A growing body of research indicates that having high levels of EI helps professionals perform their jobs better and leads to higher employee engagement and productivity.

It also contributes to someone’s effectiveness as a leader, since successful leaders know how to influence, communicate, and manage people.

Hold on to your feelings

how emotional intelligence became a key leadership skill

Most people are not good at recognizing, understanding, and managing their own emotions.

In fact, many people feel that emotional sensitivity is a bad thing. Some refer to these individuals as “crybabies” or “water muddlers.”

Others perceive such individuals as being overly influenced by others and lacking self-confidence.

But what if I told you that having strong emotions is actually a key leadership skill?

And what if I told you that it can be a powerful tool in improving team productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness?

It’s true!

Emotions play an important role in teamwork. In fact, studies show that effective teams have high levels of empathy for each other.

Team members sense how much effort everyone else is putting into the project and they give each other credit for this. This helps motivate them to put in extra effort themselves.

Some experts believe that successful leaders use emotion to influence others. For example, someone who has never done something before might be given false hope when a leader expresses confidence in him/her.

Furthermore, leaders with low EQ sometimes victimize others by taking advantage of those with higher EI.

So why should we care about emotional intelligence (EI)?

Because becoming a more empathic person can help improve your relationships with others and yourself. It may also make you a better leader.

Know your opponent

As we know, emotional intelligence (or EQ for short) has become a popular term in today’s workplace. It is typically defined as someone's ability to identify their own emotions and those of others, be able to modulate or control these emotions, and use this information to achieve one's goals.

With all that said, there are several reasons why developing your EQ is an important leadership skill. First, being emotionally intelligent can help you get along with people more effectively. This includes colleagues, superiors, and even customers!

Second, research shows that high levels of emotional intelligence predict success across domains such as career development, health, and personal well-being.

Third, studies indicate that higher levels of emotional intelligence are related to greater job satisfaction and performance. In fact, a recent study found that having high emotional quotient (EQ) was linked to lower employee turnover.1

Fourth, there are many strategies and exercises that can improve your level of emotional intelligence. Therefore, it is not only something you should strive for, but also have at your disposal as a leader.

In this article, we will discuss some ways to strengthen your emotional intelligence - especially self-awareness, understanding emotion, and regulating anger. We will also look at how you can apply these skills in the workplace.

Take notes while reading our article about ways to increase your emotional intelligence.

Be realistic

how emotional intelligence became a key leadership skill

A lot of what is called ‘emotional intelligence’ seems to be an excuse for lack of leadership skills. There are even courses that teach you how to be more emotional so you can lead someone else to have a good laugh!

This isn’t the way it works. Being able to recognize, understand and manage your own emotions is a must in leader of any kind- not just bosses but leaders of teams or individuals as well.

As a leader, you will make mistakes, sometimes very big ones. You will say things you don’t mean, may take actions that aren’t productive, maybe even hurt people around you. All this happens because you were emotionally involved or affected by something.

It could be something you said, did or thought about somebody/something. It could be a situation that got under your skin and you responded with anger or frustration.

Whateverthe cause, if you are too focused on your own feelings instead of other people’s then you won’t necessarily realize there is a problem until it has already happened.

You might walk away feeling bad about yourself, but still think you handled the situation effectively. But you didn’t, you ignored signs there is a disconnection or conflict between you and others which could damage relationships or even their confidence in you as a leader.

Take time to reflect

how emotional intelligence became a key leadership skill

In addition to having self-awareness, you have to be willing to acknowledge your emotions and look outside yourself for sources of inspiration. This is particularly important as leader when no one else around you is always there for you.

As human beings we tend to get attached to things – positions, roles, people– that we feel connected to or invested in. When someone cuts us off, it can hurt deeply.

But that’s just what happens in life. We lose connections with people constantly. It’s impossible to remain detached all the time.

That’s why leadership requires not only expertise in specific areas but also emotional intelligence. You need to recognize others’ strengths and weaknesses, and how those strengths and weaknesses affect them.

And you have to maintain relationships even when things are difficult. Because leadership isn’t about being in control; it’s about serving and developing others.

Practice being emotional

how emotional intelligence became a key leadership skill

As we've seen, one of emotional intelligence is understanding your own emotions. This can be tricky because there are many different types of emotion that you use in this world, from crying at sad movies to laughing at funny things.

But when it comes down to it, all of these emotions stem from two basic human feelings: happiness and sadness.

So if you're able to recognize and understand your own level of happiness and sadness, then you're already doing some work towards mastering emotional intelligence.

However, most people don't do too well with the second part of this equation: they know how to show their emotions (by talking about them or acting out certain behaviors), but they don't necessarily know what makes them feel happy or sad.

That's where the next element of emotional intelligence comes into play: being aware of other people's emotions.

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