Emotional Intelligence, coined by psychologists Mayer and Salovey in 1990 refers to an individual’s ability to perceive and process emotional information both within oneself and in others. Also called the Emotional Quotient (EQ), it is the capability to distinguish between different emotions and understand that emotions have a strong influence on behaviour.
Leaders are responsible for the development of the team they work with, and one of the things people expect from them is to have the capability to act transparently, consistently, and fairly. Furthermore, understanding and gaining control over emotions allows individuals to perform at their best no matter what role they play in the organisation because it helps eliminate unnecessary stress factors such as workplace conflict and politics.
To ensure the success of an organisation, it is most important that the leaders we select have the highest emotional intelligence as they are responsible forkeeping their teamon track to success. Without high EQ, leaders would have the tendency to misjudge and make decisions based on pure emotions, which is not healthy for all the members of the organization.
Emotional intelligence is usually categorised into 4 core competencies. For us to better understand how a leader’s emotional intelligence affects an organisation, we need to understand the meaning of these core competencies first. Let’s take a closer look:
The core of your emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Self-awareness describes your ability to recognise your emotions and what effect they have on you, and your team’s performance.
Self-awareness is the most important because as a leader, you need to be able to help your people reach their full potential. This is something you can do only if you can bring out the best in yourself and reach yours too.You must be confident in who you are and learn to make your best work with your worst. Those who have a strong understanding of how to make that happen make the best leaders and take more steps towards improvement than those who do not.
One of the most common and effective ways you can assess your self-awareness is by completing 360-feedback – where you evaluate your performance and match it with the feedback you get from your bosses, peers, and also the team that reports to you. This process is helpful in self-awareness because it helps you view yourself and your performance from the eyes of the people you work with and start your development from there.
The cherry on top of all 4 is relationship management. Relationship management is an individual’s capability to coach, influence, and mentor others effectively.
In order to accomplish all that, you will need to maintain a healthy and productive relationship with your people. Having high emotional intelligence means making deeper connections despite all the emotional stress from factors outside work. Leaders who are able to build trust and stronger relationships with their peers maintain happy, healthy, and more productive teams.
An example of good relationship management is immediately and properly addressing conflicts as you encounter them. Having control over your emotions and impulses help you in resolving issues and move your team towards a more positive direction.
In addition to understanding your own emotions, high emotional intelligence also includes the ability to recognise others’ emotions and how they take part in the development of the organisation.
Social awareness means having empathy and compassion towards the people around you. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s situation and understand how they may feel and react will help you become a better leader. Effective leaders strive to understand their peers’ emotions and perspectives, allowing them to have better communication.
By leading with empathy and compassion, you become a better leader and you will be able to relate to your peers on a level that’s beyond management.
Next to being aware of your emotions and their impact on your organisation is self-management. As a leader, this is the ability to manage your emotions and the way you react, especially in stressful situations. This means being able to control or redirect disruptive emotions in order to keep your team moving towards a positive path regardless of how stressful and damaging the situation is.
While reactions are automatic, having high emotional intelligence makes it easier for you to control the way you respond to certain situations. It is important to take time to compose yourself before making decisions and responding in these situations. Highly effective leaders do not snap and react to every stressful event in the workplace. They think strategically and do not let their impulses get the best of them.
Leaders are the captains of their ships. They cannot afford to panic during highly stressful situations. Being able to manage your emotions will allow you to think clearly and act calmly towards your team, encouraging better communication with all your members.