Emotional intelligence, also known as EI, is the ability to manage your emotions and those of the people around you. People who have developed their emotional intelligence know how to translate what they are feeling, what those emotions mean to them, and how it affects others around them.
An essential element of being a successful leader is being emotionally intelligent. There are five key elements of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills. The more you can manage each of these key areas, the higher your level of emotional intelligence.
Let’s dive deep and explore each of these elements:
Being self-aware means you are always conscious of how you feel and you know how your emotions and actions can affect others. As a leader, being self-aware means you know your strengths and weaknesses and that helps you control how you behave.
You can improve your self-awareness by keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts. You can also improve it by trying to control how you react when you are experiencing strong emotions.
Self-regulation is all about being able to stay in control of your emotions. Leaders who can do this successfully rarely abuse their authority, lash out at sub-ordinates when under pressure or make rushed or emotional decisions.
You can improve your ability to self-regulate by knowing your values; this makes it easy for you to make a decision when faced with a moral or ethical decision. Also, holding yourself accountable when something goes wrong instead of looking for others to blame is another way to self-regulate.
Leaders who are self-motivated work consistently towards their goals, constantly motivate their employees, and have high standards of quality for work. They develop a healthy emotional connection to the result they seek from their efforts, which propels them forward without being obsessive.
You can improve your motivation by re-examining why you are doing your job, and reminding yourself what you loved about your job. It also helps to always be hopeful and to look for something good in any bad situation.
Having empathy is the ability to put one’s self in another person’s shoes. This is an important trait of successful leaders. This helps in developing your team members, calling to check those that are acting unfairly, giving and receiving constructive feedback, and listening to those who need to talk.
You can improve your empathy by always putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and seeing things from their point of view. Another way to improve your empathy is to pay close attention to body language, which would help you have an idea of what the person is thinking and help you react appropriately.
Pay attention and respond to feelings. When you ask an employee to do something they are unhappy about, instead of dismissing their feelings, address it, and make them know that you understand how they feel.
Successful leaders with high emotional intelligence are great communicators. They are great at handling good or bad news, they know how to get their team to support them and get excited about new projects. They know how to handle conflicts diplomatically.
They are also good at setting good examples. You can build and improve your social skills by learning conflict resolution, improving your communication skills, and learning how to praise others.
Good leaders are the backbone of any organisation. If they lack emotional intelligence, it could result in lower engagement among employees, which would in turn have more far-reaching consequences.
Being good at your job isn’t enough to make you are successful leader, if you can’t communicate effectively with your team, then the overall outcome would be poor. To effectively advance your career and your organization, you have to be emotionally intelligent.