How Emotional Intelligence May Contribute To Leadership Effectiveness
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) has become one of the most popular leadership theories. Many believe that it can help you be a better leader in your organization or career field.
Many companies offer programs and seminars focused on developing your emotional intelligence. These courses typically cost anywhere from $100-$500 per session, which many feel is worth the investment for continuous growth.
There are also some who say that having higher levels of emotional intelligence makes you a more effective leader. Some cite examples like how people with high EQ are happier than those with low EQ, so they might achieve success without much stress.
However, there is still significant debate about whether this theory actually works. While some studies show small benefits, others find none at all!
This article will discuss the evidence for and against the effectiveness of emotional intelligence. We’ll look at what researchers have found, as well as real-life cases where individuals lacked EQ but were successful nonetheless.
Relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership
Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of interest in what is now referred to as “emotional literacy” or “EI.” Some refer to it as “being smart about emotions,” whereas others prefer using the term “EMO (for emotion) intelligence.”
Whatever you call it, research shows that having high levels of EI can have significant benefits for your career and personal life. It may also contribute to being a good leader.
Here are some examples of how.
Ways to improve emotional intelligence
People with higher EQ are better listeners, understand other people’s emotions more clearly, are less likely to take things personally, and use social skills more effectively.
Research suggests that having high levels of EI can have significant benefits for your career and personal life.
You don’t necessarily need to be emotionally intelligent yourself to be a good leader – being able to motivate and inspire others is just as important - but you do need to know how to influence and work with people.
And research shows that being highly empathetic helps you achieve this.
So how can you develop your own level of empathy? Here are some tips that may help.
1. Become aware of your own feelings
One way to increase your level of empathy is to learn what effects something has on you.
This could be due to factual information about the situation or because it makes you feel certain ways. For example, reading about a case study will probably make you think about your own experiences in similar situations, so you might come to understand why someone would choose one option over another.
But before you apply what you've learned to new situations, you should check out whether these lessons apply to you first. In other words, does this lesson apply to you? And is it okay if it doesn't?
Become a good listener
As mentioned earlier, being a good leader is more than just giving orders and motivating people to follow you. It means listening first before speaking. This way, you will know what needs to be done next. You also give people permission to talk about their experiences, as well as how they feel in order to motivate them to do things.
At the same time, you learn something important by hearing other people’s stories. By putting yourself into others’ shoes, you understand their position better which helps you come up with effective solutions.
Having emotional intelligence makes it easier to hone your leadership skills because you recognize that some situations may require special attention or action on someone else’s part. This can mean offering help and guidance after they have been put out or feeling for someone who has lost a loved one.
Understand your audience
A leader who knows how to connect with their followers can boost morale, inspire action, and promote understanding of his or her goals. They know what kind of reactions they want from people, and they make sure to get these responses by speaking directly about things that matter to them, emphasizing importance of certain behaviors, and demonstrating examples of those behaviors.
Leadership is a relationship between you as a leader and your team as individuals and a group. You are in a position of power so you must understand where your weaknesses lie before trying to fix them and strengthen yourself.
Your strengths will not improve if you do not recognize them, and the same goes for your weaknesses.
It’s impossible to be an effective leader if you don’t realize what makes your team uncomfortable and try to change that. It’s also difficult to ask others to do things that you aren’t willing to do yourself.
You should never put forward ideas that you are not prepared to implement yourself, nor should you assume that everyone else will agree with you. By being aware of your limitations, you will at least be conscious of them, which helps prevent you from putting more pressure on yourself than needed.
Emotions have a purpose in life. We feel emotions because we think something is important to us.
If someone does something that hurts our feelings, it means that they did not like what we did and wanted us to know that.
Be honest with your peers
As we have seen, emotional intelligence is more than just knowing what to do in situations that may be emotionally charged. It also means being able to identify your own emotions and those of others.
This can be difficult when you are not feeling very well disposed towards someone- but it is important to realize that this state of mind is usually temporary.
If you try to avoid interacting with someone because they made you feel bad, you will only make things worse for yourself. You will probably hurt their feelings even more, which could potentially lead to an argument or a loss of friendship.
By instead choosing to confront them about whatever made you unhappy, you will likely find that you both reach an understanding and move past the situation healthier people. This will help you build strong relationships and trust.
Don’t be egotistical
As we have seen, emotional intelligence is important for leadership because it helps you manage your own emotions, recognize others’ emotions, and use those emotions to motivate them.
However, being aware of other people’s emotions isn’t the same as acting in ways that are motivated by how you feel yourself.
For example, let’s say there was an argument between two coworkers in the break room. One person got really angry during the argument and went back to their desk very upset.
The other person left the room and didn’t talk to anyone else while they cooled off. They were eventually able to return to work and go about their business like nothing happened.
Without knowing anything more about the situation, what would you guess was the outcome of this argument? Probably that person who was less willing to acknowledge how they felt lost the argument and so they ended up leaving too, right?
Well, that could not have been farther from the truth. Because — surprise! — both of these individuals had low levels of emotional intelligence.
One of the biggest barriers to leadership effectiveness is arrogance. You must believe in yourself, but you cannot be so sure of yourself that you feel you do not need anyone else’s help or input.
As leader, your colleagues will expect you to make decisions and assume responsibility for them. This can sometimes come as a surprise because you may think you are always in control.
But they won’t trust you if they never see you take initiative or step up when needed. They will also likely avoid you if you constantly show off how intelligent you are or how much influence you have.
If you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, then great! But most people weren’t, so don’t act like you were. Such an attitude will earn you some mistrust and possibly even contempt.
Be conscious of your assumptions about what others should know or be able to do. Give them credit for their hard work instead.
And while it may sound contradictory, being more confident does not mean assuming things or talking over other people until they agree.
That kind of aggressive behavior is a turnoff, especially when there's a chance someone could be offended or hurt by your tone or comments.
Learn to laugh
A lot of people get very emotional about things, which is totally fine when it comes from good sources. For example, if your friend or loved one just had a big birthday party, you can be sure that everyone was happy and took lots of pictures.
When they open their presents, however, there will usually be some sort of small crying event. It’s understandable — as someone who has a gift wrapping set-up service, I know how hard it is to find the right paper for something.
But not every person in the world uses plastic wrap, so having that kind of wrap can really hurt. So sometimes, after all the gifts have been opened, a little bit of tears are okay. They should be held with respect though, no yelling or anything like that.
If you notice that most of the people around you are not laughing at all during this time, maybe look into whether they might need help with emotion regulation.
It’s also important to learn how to let go and enjoy life. Life is going to bring you down, but you shouldn’t allow these downs to control you.
You should strive to avoid being too stressed out by changing what you can (such as quitting a job because you don’t feel like doing work) and seeking out activities that make you happier.