5 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence is Critical for Leaders

by  Sara Fletcher  |  Workplace Issues

When asked to identify the necessary traits for leaders, most would propose answers that fall within a wide range of topics. Charisma, purpose, determination – these are just a few of the traits that are typically used to define a leader. However, many leaders have a single quality in common. In short, what distinguishes the best leaders from the majority is their level of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is defined by the ability to understand and manage our emotions and those around us. This quality gives individuals a variety of skills, such as the ability to manage relationships, navigate social networks, influence and inspire others. Every individual possesses different levels, but in order for individuals to become effective leaders, they’ll need a high level of emotional intelligence.  In today’s workplace, it has become a highly important factor for success, influencing productivity, efficiency and team collaboration. The following are important reasons why leaders should cultivate their emotional intelligence:

1. Self-Awareness

Leaders with emotional intelligence are self-aware and able to recognize emotions as they happen. This is a vital skill for leaders, as it helps them obtain a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses without any obstruction. In addition, great leaders are able to perceive emotions as they arise in response to an action or situation. As a result, they are able better able to address problems and handle any future complications.

2. Emotional Management

The prior skill gives leaders the ability to stay aware of their feelings. The next step is learning how to manage those emotions. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are able to regulate themselves and stay in control. These individuals are unlikely to rush headlong into hasty decisions or let their anger take over their behavior.  It is vital that individuals in managerial positions keep their emotions in check, as it will help them stay in a respected position.

3. Effective Communication

What is the benefit of emotional awareness and management if you are unable to clearly express your thoughts? Luckily, individuals with emotional intelligence also have the skill of effective communication. They are able to clearly convey directions and know what to say in order to inspire and motivate others. An important skill for leaders, communication can be a deciding factor in whether the team listens or not.

4. Social Awareness

Leaders with emotional intelligence are well tuned to the emotions of others and are able to pick up on what is going on around them. They are able to sympathize with others by putting themselves in the employee’s shoes and giving helpful feedback. This is a critical skill for leaders, who work closely to inspire and motivate a team. If the leader is unable to empathize with their employees, he or she will surely find it difficult to obtain respect or loyalty.

5. Conflict Resolution

In the workplace, there’s always the risk that emerging conflicts can threaten or disrupt efficiency and productivity. However, leaders with emotional intelligence are equipped to handle conflicts and provide resolution. With this skill, leaders can quickly placate any disagreements that arise between employees, customers, and other parties. In conjunction with the above skills, leaders can use their emotional intelligence to develop a more effective workplace.

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What People Are Saying

Charles Plant  |  02 Jun 2012  |  Reply

You are absolutely right. It is funny just how important emotional intelligence is and I’m sad it took me so long to figure it out. I’m surprised as well that we don’t do a very good job of teaching this given its importance.

Sara Fletcher  |  03 Jun 2012  |  Reply

People definitely underestimate the importance of emotional intelligence, yet its so prevalent in our lives. Thanks for reading, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

Denise  |  02 Jun 2012  |  Reply

Great thoughts, Sara and I am building a business on these facts. Thanks for being an advocate for this. Emotional intelligence – relational wellness- practically the same subject – all the same components and they all equal success in life both professionally and personally. Will be spreading this great read this week to my tribe.

Be well.

Thomson Mukahlera  |  15 Sep 2015  |  Reply

Some studies have shown that the skill of emotional intelligence is what separates great leaders from merely good ones. How do we asses this statement.

Hakem Ojibashasta  |  15 Sep 2017  |  Reply

emotional leadership is very important. I AGREE! its is so important in my tribe to maintain a good leadership role

Mfanasibili Charles Mazibuko  |  19 Sep 2017  |  Reply

Most of leaders lack this important this important quality, emotional intelligence is a must have in order to be a great leader, most leaders especially in Africa, my country Swaziland inclusive would do much better if they were to be trained and grasp the concept of emotional intelligence.

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