How Emotional Intelligence May Contribute To Leadership Effectiveness
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EI for short) has become one of the most popular leadership theories. Many claim that it can have profound effects on workplace effectiveness and success.
Some even say that it is more important than traditional measures of leadership like charisma or motivation.
But what does the theory actually measure? And are there truly benefits to being emotionally intelligent?
In this article, we will discuss some potential applications of emotional intelligence in the work place and why you should be aware of them.
We will also look at how you can develop your own level of emotional intelligence so that you can maximize their benefit for yourself and others.
So let’s get started!
Emotional Quotient – What Is It?
Before we dive into the different areas of emotional intelligence, first let us make sure we have our terms straight.
The term “emotional quotient” (EQ for short) was coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihály in his book _Handbook of Nonverbal Behavior_. He defined it as “the ability to recognize and evaluate emotions in oneself and in others and to control one's own emotion”.
However, back then he only focused on it in relation to individuals, not groups or organizations.
It correlates with leadership effectiveness
A growing body of research suggests that emotional intelligence (EI) is important to leading people and shaping environments. Developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman in 1995, EI has been defined as the set of skills involved in understanding your own emotions and those of others and using them effectively.
Many believe that having high levels of EI makes you more likely to be successful in life. There are even some theories which suggest that being highly emotionally intelligent could make you a better leader.
Goleman notes that one of the key functions of emotion is motivating other people to action, so if you’re good at recognizing and responding to other people’s feelings, then you’ll achieve their cooperation and collaboration through motivation and encouragement.
He also points out that because success depends on achieving goals, someone who is able to recognize and manage his or her own feelings will succeed more than someone who does not.
There are several reasons why developing your EQ might help you become a more effective leader. Here are six ways it can do that.
1. You'll motivate others less frequently – but when you do, you’ll do it well
A lot of leaders spend a great deal of time inspiring colleagues and getting them to work together on projects. But very few studies have looked into what motivates people in the first place before they come into a workplace.
Ways to improve your emotional intelligence
Over the past few years, there has been a growing interest in defining and developing our personal leadership skills. More and more organizations are investing in programs that teach you as a leader how to motivate others, manage emotions, lead with trust, and foster relationships.
In fact, some experts believe that having strong interpersonal skills is just as important as having technical skills when it comes to leading.
Leaders who can relate to their colleagues and communicate well will find it easier to inspire and influence them into action. They’ll also likely achieve better teamwork and productivity from their staff members.
So what are these types of leaders? They’re not necessarily people with big egos or who always have a smile on their face. Rather, they’re individuals who are aware of and understand their own feelings, and they use this information to help them relate to other people.
They may be known for their kindness or their ability to take command, but none of those things would matter if they didn’t enjoy being around others.
Make eye contact
Making direct, meaningful connections with others is a powerful way to influence them. It’s also a key part of emotional intelligence (EI).
Making eye contact when you want someone to do something can be tricky at times. But if you are able to make frequent eye contacts, it will eventually pay off in ways that you might not expect.
Making eye contact helps people feel recognized and understood. It gives them sense of confidence and trust in you as a person. And it creates an implicit understanding or agreement between both parties about what needs to be done next.
It’s one of the most effective nonverbal behaviors for leadership. When used effectively, making eye contact isn’t only polite, it’s a powerful tool.
But how does one make meaningful eye contact? There are some basic rules that apply. Here they are!
Never look away unless there is no chance of being interrupted or of avoiding uncomfortable conversations or situations. Even then, your eyes should remain engaged until you have completed what you were doing before.
Your gaze must be intentional and focused. If your mind is racing with thoughts and worries, your eyes will quickly follow. Keep yourself aware and awake so that you don’t lose focus.
Don’t stare either. People tend to get annoyed by overly-focused individuals who seem more interested in having a personal conversation than getting work done.
Being authentic is more than just saying what you want people to believe, it is telling the truth of who you are within yourself. Yours is one of a very few personal identities that anyone gets to access.
Underneath all of the other things you say about your life, there’s someone else hiding away. You know this person? She’s the one with you at night when everyone else has left. He’s the one you talk to after work about how much you’re hurting, and how hard your job can be.
The more you hide her from the world, the less accessible she becomes for others. And as time goes on, people will start noticing changes in you – mood swings, irritability, silence or over-talkativeness.
It may take some effort, but if you're able to identify these shifts and the reasons behind them, you'll be better able to help her get through whatever's bothering her.
Share your feelings
A few years ago, I was talking with one of my best friends about our pasts. We had both gone through difficult times in our lives, but we also made it through as close partners.
As we spoke, she told me that something she realized only recently was how much her emotional intelligence affected what happens between us.
Her own EQ helped us stay focused on moving forward together after our break up, and it contributed to our current stability as friends.
She said that by being aware of her emotions she could recognize when they were getting the better of her and took some time to calm down before interacting with others.
By acknowledging and understanding her own emotions she was able to take more responsibility for them and avoid making bad decisions or hurting other people because of them.
This is important leadership material because leaders are always going to be around people – so their levels of EI will play a major role in whether or not those individuals get promoted or fired.
A lot of leadership theories emphasize being strong, confident, and assertive as important qualities for leaders. But what about something that seems contradictory at first?
That is, are not people who are very emotional usually not considered effective leaders?
Some would even say that having emotions makes you less powerful as a leader because they believe such things distract workers from performing their jobs effectively.
Research shows that this assumption is false!
Emotions actually contribute to leadership effectiveness in several ways. First, we will discuss why it is important to regulate your emotions. Then, we will talk about how having certain levels of empathy can help you be a more successful leader.
Last, we will look into some strategies that can be used to enhance your emotional intelligence. This includes practicing mindfulness, using positive affirmations, and learning how to recognize and manage your emotions.
Don’t be egotistical
As mentioned earlier, EI is not about being better than someone else, but instead it focuses on understanding your own emotions and how they influence other people. This may sound like a lesson in self-reflection, but actually going up against our own tendencies can be quite difficult.
As we know, everyone has different levels of emotional intelligence, which means some people are more aware of their feelings and tend to take responsibility for them while others avoid such responsibilities.
If you are always asking why someone seems upset with you, then you don’t have much empathy. You aren’t able to relate to what they are feeling and thus cannot understand why they feel that way towards you.
This isn’t very effective leadership because whether someone likes you or not is totally dependent upon their experiences with you and what you do. If you use non-empathic strategies when dealing with people, you will lose most of their trust and respect.
A leader who is not willing to acknowledge his or her own mistakes is never going to inspire trust in others. If you constantly put yourself ahead of the rest, then people will not feel that they can rely on you nor will they look up to you. You would also lose motivation to keep pushing your team to do their best because you are not setting an example by being proactive about improving yourself.
By having a genuine understanding of how things go wrong for most people around you, you can use this knowledge to help them succeed. Rather than acting like you are always right, work at putting other people’s points of view into consideration and be open to changing your mind if necessary. This will strengthen your leadership skills and ensure that you don’t take too much credit for the success of others.
Never forget that there are only two types of people in the world – those with talent and those without it. There is no in-between so make sure you know which one you are before trying to lead someone else.