How Important Is Emotional Intelligence In Leadership

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EI for short) has become one of the most popular leadership theories. It seems that every business these days is talking about how important it is to have high levels of empathy, understanding emotions, and how this can influence their employees and vice versa.

Many believe that having strong interpersonal skills such as EQ is an essential part of leading others. Some even say that having higher-level empathic qualities makes up half of all successful leaders.

But what does “empathy” mean? And why is it so important?

In this article we will discuss the different types of empathy, how they relate to each other, and some interesting findings related to them. Then, we will talk about some ways you can improve your own level of emotional intelligence.

Held back by a fear of rejection or disappointment, many people lack compassion or sympathy for others. They may also be dismissive of, or even contemptuous of, those who seem less intelligent or qualified than themselves.

Some describe this as being more focused on achieving goals and results rather than showing concern for others. Others are too concerned with getting ahead at any cost, ignoring the effects of their actions on others.

All of these behaviors are examples of lacking situational awareness. This means not knowing what is happening around you, nor do you understand the consequences of your actions.

Link between emotional intelligence and leadership

how important is emotional intelligence in leadership

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of interest in what is now referred to as “emotional literacy or emotional intelligence.” Some even refer to it as “intra-personal effectiveness” because it focuses on our own internal processes and abilities.

This form of EQ comes with its own set of skills and behaviors that are important for leaders. In fact, research suggests that having high levels of EI can have positive effects on how effectively you lead others.

Specifically, studies show that people who are higher in EI are more likely to be successful leaders. They may be better at motivating other people to contribute and work together towards a common goal.

On the other hand, lower levels of EI can make it harder to motivate others and to maintain relationships that matter. These things can also negatively influence how well you lead others.

Ways to improve emotional intelligence

how important is emotional intelligence in leadership

Developing your empathy is one of the most important things you can do as a leader. Not only does it help you connect with people, but it also helps you motivate them and understand their points of view.

Research shows that being able to recognize and evaluate emotions in others is an integral part of leadership. The more emotionally intelligent you are, the better leaders you will be!

You don’t need to be someone who cares deeply for everyone around you, but you should try to put yourself in other people’s shoes and think about how they might feel before deciding what action to take.

If you want to become a better leader, then you must develop your ability to read and manipulate emotion.

You can’t always change what happens outside of you, but by changing how you respond to events inside of you, you can achieve great things.

Just because something bad happened doesn’t mean that you have to stew over it forever. You can eventually move on.

It takes practice, however, so start today by trying to identify some of your own feelings and see if you can work on suppressing or altering them.

Hold people accountable for their actions

how important is emotional intelligence in leadership

As a leader, your success will depend on how well you hold others accountable for their actions. You must be aware of what each person is doing within your organization and make sure it stays within acceptable parameters.

If someone has to go, then they need to know that there are things they needed to do to get themselves here so they can prepare to stay somewhere else. It may also mean letting them go with little-if any-support because most likely they would not survive out there alone.

By having strong leadership skills, you’ll know when it’s time to keep someone around and when it’s time to say good bye. You’ll know how to motivate people effectively by using different strategies, but more importantly, you’ll identify effective ones quickly.

Be consistent

how important is emotional intelligence in leadership

Consistency is one of the most important things to look for when trying to develop any skill. People are often times too quick to assume that because someone did something once, they can stop practicing it.

Emotionally intelligent leaders do not drop their skills unless they have proof that you cannot improve your emotional intelligence.

Consistently showing up every day to work with a sense of self-confidence, happiness, and enthusiasm will reinforce those qualities in yourself.

On the other hand, if you ever notice that passion disappearing, it should be looked into whether there is a cost associated with it.

It could be due to a promotion or change in position, lack of resources, or loss of motivation. If so, it may be time to consider looking for a new job.

Be realistic

how important is emotional intelligence in leadership

Recent research suggests that EQ is just as important (if not more so) than IQ when it comes to leadership. There are several reasons for this claim. First, there’s a lot of talk about emotional intelligence being an integral part of leading teams and individuals. Second, studies have linked higher levels of EI with greater productivity, employee engagement, and job performance. And third, researchers continue to find correlations between higher levels of EI and better relationships with others — especially superiors!

However, before you start taking lessons from The Good Place or putting your own office party on the calendar, note two things first.

First, although there’s lots of media coverage of stories where high-EQ people do great work, it’s still very rare to meet someone who has both high scores in all five areas of EQ and also leads other people. That means most people don’t spend much time working on their emotional skills except when something particularly stressful happens at home or at work.

Second, even if you have some level of emotional competence, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have advanced it. For example, while everyone knows what it takes to be kind to others, only few have worked on how to be kind to themselves.

With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s dive into why emotional intelligence matters in leadership.

Be honest with your peers

how important is emotional intelligence in leadership

As mentioned before, emotional intelligence (EI) is just that- understanding how to handle yourself emotionally. This includes being able to identify your emotions and what is causing them.

It also means being aware of other people’s emotions so you can help them feel better or learn from their behavior. In both cases, this takes place within a setting where relationships are involved.

With all these concepts, there is one thing that seems to get lost when discussions about EI start - it is important.

Emotional literacy or “the knowledge of emotion” has been shown to have significant benefits for individuals, groups, and organizations. Because of this, researchers continue to study it, test it, and apply it in different settings.

However, most studies focus on the benefits of having higher levels of EI as an individual. What few studies do is look at the effects leadership skills could potentially have on organizational effectiveness and/or productivity.

This article will discuss why leadership depends heavily on emotional regulation and empathy, and why those things are integral parts of effective leadership.

Be honest with your superiors

how important is emotional intelligence in leadership

As mentioned before, emotional intelligence (EI) is one of the most important leadership qualities for anyone aspiring to be leader. You will not find this fact written down anywhere, but it’s an intuitive truth that everyone knows when someone is pretending to be happy while crying inside or when they put on a show of strength, even though you know they are hiding their fears from you.

It's also true about being honest. People often say things that aren't what they really mean. For example, people may tell you that you look great today, when what they really want to say is that you looked horrible just like the day before. Or they may compliment your shoes and then sigh because they know that you got those expensive shoes by pawning something else.

If you have proof that someone has done something wrong, go ahead and bring it up. But don't make accusations unless you're sure of yourself and your facts. If you're never confident in yourself, you won't set foot outside of your own home.

Emotions can easily get in the way of doing business, so if you notice that your colleagues' emotions are affecting the work environment, let them know how you feel so that they can address the problem immediately.

Be a good listener

how important is emotional intelligence in leadership

As we know, being a leader is not just about having a goal and then working hard to get there. It’s also about communicating well with people, listening to them, responding to their comments, and helping them feel like they are important to you.

As a leader, your effectiveness depends heavily upon your ability to listen. You will spend a lot of time talking, so you need to be sure that you are paying close attention to what others say and how they are saying it.

It’s easy to talk at someone instead of listening, but as a leader this can have disastrous consequences.

You may want to tell someone something, but if they do not feel heard or valued, they may not pay much attention to your advice. Or, they might even conclude that you are not looking out for their best interests, which could hurt trust.

No one likes to be talked down to or ignored, and such reactions can easily undermine confidence in the person you are trying to lead.

Furthermore, when you are a leader, you set an example for other people to follow. If everyone feels like they cannot count on you, they will hesitate to go ahead with plans because they don’t know what to expect.

In fact, research suggests that being able to read non-verbal cues is a key factor in determining whether someone will consider you a trustworthy leader.

SQ Recommends

Copyright © 2024
Success Quarterly Ltd. company