One of the most underappreciated abilities in the workplace may be emotional intelligence. The capacity to properly manage one’s emotions is frequently ranked lower than one’s technical proficiency and commitment to the organisation. To completely embrace the job of a leader, as opposed to merely being a task manager, both new and existing leaders should assess the full extent of their emotional intelligence.
As a result of the widespread expansion of remote work caused by COVID-19, its value in the workplace for leaders and project managers has increased significantly in recent years. It is impossible to succeed in project management and handling cross-functional remote teams without emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence in the workplace enables leaders, project managers and executives to negotiate challenging circumstances with grace, encourage and motivate others, and ultimately, bring their best versions to the office.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to comprehend and control one’s own emotions, as well as to identify and influence the emotions of other people. It is the capacity to hear what is being said, comprehend the meaning behind the words, and respond with compassion and empathy. The ultimate goal is to make emotions work in your favour rather than against you.
Two eminent psychologists, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, first proposed the concept of emotional intelligence in the early 1990s. With his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence, scientific journalist Daniel Goleman cemented the theory’s position in popular discourse and leadership education by tying it to business leadership.
Although the concept may appear to be self-evident at this point, his ideas about emotional intelligence have had a significant impact on how we see emotions and behaviour, especially in the context of the workplace.
Many people attempt to suppress their emotions, yet no matter how much we hide, reject, or alter our feelings, we will always have them. Failing to understand this can negatively impact how we act and interact with others. As a result, your team experiences a lack of communication, dissatisfaction, worry, and even hostility.
Why is it important for Leaders to have Emotional Intelligence?
In the workplace, emotional intelligence is essential for leading cohesive and productive teams. It has been hypothesised by researchers and behavioural scientists that emotional intelligence influences both the manner in which leaders interact with their teams and the manner in which members of such teams engage with both the leaders and each other.
Since leading others to a goal is what it means to be a leader, so to achieve better results, leaders must gain a greater understanding of their own and their colleagues’ emotions. When it comes to leadership, having a high level of emotional intelligence makes it easier for a leader to communicate and interact with his team and work with others. His interpersonal style can have a significant impact on the way he is perceived as a leader. Leaders who lack emotional intelligence have a harder time connecting with and understanding their teams, which leads to lower employee satisfaction and a greater staff turnover rate.
5 Signs that show High Emotional Intelligence in a Leader
Effective leadership requires emotional intelligence. It is selfish to try to lead without it. It might get the job done, but will not inspire followership.
A leader is always accountable for his team. He assists and guides people through transitions and obstacles. Nonetheless, many leaders seek to avoid confrontations. They do not wish to address emotional issues at work and believe avoiding problems is much simpler than confronting them head-on. Leaders must manage their subordinates with emotional intelligence, which includes maintaining composure when everyone else is panicking.
The following are the five most important attributes that an emotionally intelligent leader possesses.
1) An emotionally intelligent leader has Self-Awareness
It is the fundamental component of emotional intelligence. The self-awareness of a leader with strong emotional intelligence enables him to recognise his own strengths, emotions, shortcomings, and ideals and to comprehend how these affect others. Through self-awareness, this type of leader brings out the best in himself before bringing out the best in his followers.
The value of having leaders who are conscious of their own emotions is immeasurable for a company. Such a leader takes a deep breath when faced with a difficult or stressful circumstance and attempts to address the root cause of the problem rather than allowing it to influence his choices.
Such a leader is also open to feedback from his peers. For instance, if his coworkers provide him with constructive input on a project he laboriously completed, he not only considers the negative criticism but also the positive feedback. He recognises that his coworkers are merely attempting to assist him.
2) An emotionally intelligent leader has Social-Awareness
Compassion and empathy are qualities that advance social understanding. Empathy is the top leadership skill according to the global leadership development firm DDI. Leaders who have mastered empathy outperform others by more than 40% when teaching, engaging people, and making decisions.
Understanding and controlling ones own emotions are crucial, but a leader must also need to be able to read a room. His capacity to discern the feelings of others and the organisational dynamics at work is referred to as his social awareness.
Empathy is a skill that socially adept leaders use. They make an effort to comprehend their coworkers’ thoughts and viewpoints so they may interact and work together more successfully.
Great leaders have excellent interpersonal skills that are underpinned by their high emotional intelligence, and this aids in their ability to attract followers. They can read people and situations to respond appropriately because they have empathy for others. Even though they focus on attaining work objectives, they never lose sight of the fact that their coworkers and subordinates are human beings, and they treat them with respect and regard as individuals first and coworkers second. This assists them in gaining trust and respect.
A leader can motivate and inspire his team while also increasing his own performance through empathic communication.
3) An emotionally intelligent leader has Self-Confidence and High Motivation
Highly driven and inspirational leaders have mastered the art of ignoring criticism. Instead, they would want to draw lessons from the experience. They have high expectations for their employees’ performance. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are aware of their own motivations as well as that of their team members. They inspire their workers to commit to achievement by maintaining a perpetually upbeat attitude. It is because of their ability to balance confidence and arrogance that their peers respect them as leaders and pay attention to what they have to say. To learn and effectively handle challenging situations, they gather information by asking open-ended questions and engaging in active listening exercises. They do not argue or challenge. Instead, they continue to be inspired by their confidence, which helps them succeed.
4) An emotionally intelligent leader maintains Self-Discipline and Focus
The capacity to control urges, stay focused, and see a task through to completion is known as self-discipline. It can be characterised by a leader’s tenacity and resolve to focus on a task until it is effectively completed. Self-disciplined leaders are rarely distracted from the tasks on which they are working.
At work, having self-discipline enables leaders to offer their undivided focus to whatever task is currently being worked on by them. It has been demonstrated via research that leaders who have a strong sense of self-discipline and tenacity are more likely to be conscientious and engaged in the work that they do.
As a result, a leader who excels in self-control projects poise and assurance, maintaining task concentration in a challenging scenario.
5) An emotionally intelligent leader has Vision
A clear, distinct, and particular image of the future is what we mean when we talk about a vision, and it is often associated with the advancement of an organization’s strategic goals. By clearly defining a goal and effectively communicating it, emotionally intelligent leaders inspire passion and commitment within the organisation. A leader who possesses emotional intelligence distinguishes himself from those who do not by having the capacity to articulate a vision and use it to motivate others.
When articulated compellingly, passionately, and clearly, the image in the mind of a visionary leader with strong emotional intelligence inspires people to action.
A leader’s plan for the organisation heavily relies on vision. A vision emphasises the importance of all parts of a business cooperating toward the same objective by providing direction. Aligning people’s actions and behaviour is essential to realising a leader’s vision since it typically requires changing what is done and how it is done. A vision provides clarity and reduces ambiguity, two advantages that are particularly helpful in tumultuous or fast-changing times.
Leadership success requires emotional intelligence. Leadership is guiding others to a goal. To do so, a leader requires followers. Emotional intelligence helps a leader to influence and manage his followers to complete tasks.
A leader with emotional intelligence possesses outstanding interpersonal abilities. They are also skilled at inspiring others. This type of leader is also adept at maintaining self-discipline and has an expansive vision for the organisation. A leader who has no emotional intelligence, on the other hand, cannot effectively assess the needs, desires, and expectations of his team members. This creates an environment that is unproductive and ineffectual. Consequently, emotional intelligence is essential for effective leadership.
SeraphCorp is a Singapore-based leadership training institute that provides leadership development training, coaching, workshops, and bespoke programmes. Were a boutique consulting firm specialising in leadership, and we work with leaders and managers across industries and sectors.
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