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Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Administration cannot take place when the leader does not have sufficient emotional intelligence. A leader with enough emotional intelligence can overcome complex leadership challenges that not people can fulfill.

Studies conducted in the past years show that people with high emotional intelligence are more adept at effectively and quickly addressing organizational conflicts. Gone are the days when pure intellect was promptly equated with good leadership potential.

Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to acknowledge and deal with their own emotions, as well as the feelings of other people. Emotions can fluctuate due to hormonal changes, stress, and unexpected situations, but the right amount of emotional intelligence will help people deal with dynamic changes effectively.

People have different personalities, needs, and preferences. Likewise, people have diverse ways of dealing with situations and expressing those emotions. It takes sound emotional intelligence to deal with different personalities. People may feel other emotions simultaneously, and often, the challenge is to deal with people'sperson's various emotions without sparking conflict and straining relationships. When people have sufficient emotional intelligence, they can recognize their own emotions and how they affect the people around them. Emotional intelligence is also the ability of a person to understand how another person feels. Emotional intelligence is needed in managing relationships.

In an organization, the people that stay longer usually have high emotional intelligence. Increased emotional intelligence is preferred over people with low but low IQ.

Compared to those with low emotional intelligence, people with high emotional intelligence are easy to work with. High emotional intelligence enables people to conduct things by nurturing good relationships. They can sustain level-headedness even in stressful situations. Emotionally intelligent people are not immune to agitation or stress. However, they can quickly grasp the problem and look for a solution in the calmest manner possible. Therefore, they are bound to make sound decisions because they manage their emotions well in the decision-making process.

Because emotionally intelligent people are level-headed, they do not think too highly or too lowly of themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses. They use their strengths whenever needed but do not show them off excessively. Likewise, they are humble enough to look at themselves honestly and recognize their weaknesses. Emotionally intelligent people do not succumb to criticism easily. They can take the complaint objectively and use it to enhance their performance.

The attributes mentioned above make emotionally intelligent people good at managing people and relationships. Emotionally competent people are good collaborators because they focus solely on their success. People with high emotional intelligence look out for the whole group's success and are willing to change their interests and whims for the entire team. They are good empathic listeners who can read people'sgroup's emotions and feelings. They do not judge right away as, well. They try to put themselves in the situation of other people before they produce a resolution for a conflict in relationships.

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Indeed, fine abilities and exceptional skills are valuable assets in an organization. It is hard to ignore a person with unabashed brilliance and shining talent. However, the criteria for a good leader go beyond skill and talent. To stay in an organization, a person needs much emotional intelligence. This is true, especially if the person aspires to lead an organization one day. The leader carries many responsibilities that require more than just skill and talent. Leadership's duties can only be conducted well if the leader is equipped with emotional intelligence.

Leadership is a social activity. Leaders need to nurture their emotional intelligence continues to be able to deal with various kinds of personalities in an organization. Emotional intelligence is usually equated with "people skills." Emotional intelligence is not just about people skills, although much emotional intelligence is needed to sharpen one's people skills. Leadership requires forming and keeping relationships with various personalities. Only a leader with high emotional intelligence can forge solid relationships with their team and support them. High emotional intelligence will enable a leader to relate to diverse personalities and motivate each team member to meet the organization's goal.

Leadership needs emotional intelligence, especially in times of conflict and pressure. Disputes and problems arise from all sorts of angles. Internal conflict can arise from people in the organization squabbling with each other. To manage such issues, a leader needs emotional intelligence to keep emotions in check. In times of extreme pressure, leaders must be able to avoid explosive outbursts. A good leader should be able to put things in perspective instead of succumbing to emotional outbursts. Managing a team of diverse personalities is manageable when a leader has the right amount of emotional intelligence. An empathic leader that is considerate to all the team members has enough emotional intelligence to confront problematic members of the organization without severing relationships. Emotional intelligence on the leader's side will enable them to help the rigid member express feelings healthily.

Decision-making is another leadership task that requires immense emotional intelligence. There are going to be many factors affecting a leader's decision, including external factors, critics, and unforeseen situations. A leader with emotional intelligence will have enough level-headedness to weigh any case's pros and cons before planning. Emotionally adept leaders have enough ability to make quick and well-thought-of decisions. Leaders must be emotionally intelligent to be independent decision-makers, not swayed by unnecessary factors. It takes emotional intelligence to look at strengths and weaknesses clearly and objectively, especially one's own. Leaders need a good glimpse of their assets and liabilities to produce a decision and eventually follow through.

Exercising and Enhancing One's Emotional Intelligence for Leadership

Emotional intelligence can be developed and improved over time. One of the first steps would be to practice self-awareness in handling stress.

Acknowledging the various emotions felt under pressure and stress will make it easier to address the issue. By being aware of the multiple emotions running inside a person's head, the person will quickly understand the emotions before the emotions rule over their thoughts, words, and actions. Self-awareness is all about recognizing one's feelings and ideas, but to develop it, you can enlist the help of other people. Seek the feedback of the people around you – supervisors, colleagues, and more. Getting other people's input to recognize the impact of your emotions and actions on other people is also essential. This is important in enhancing the dynamics and relationship of each member. Leaders who practice self-awareness can set an excellent example for the entire team.

Part of self-awareness is knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses. You cannot be too humble to downplay your muscles; this is merely false humility. An emotionally intelligent leader needs to understand the importance of recognition for efforts without showing off. On the other hand, one cannot be too arrogant with achievements and strengths. A thorough self-evaluation of strengths and weaknesses requires courage and honesty. About self-awareness, you can also start your improving your emotional intelligence by self-reflection. Observe how you react to certain situations, especially stressful ones. Do you easily burst into a? Fit? Do you easily snap at your colleagues? You need to assess these things because they are all part of your emotional intelligence.

Improving your emotional intelligence means extending your threshold for stressful situations, whether the internal conflict in the organization or a big pile of workload. These things take their toll on a person, but they are things that decide a person's emotional intelligence and take their toll on a person. Still, they are things that determine a person's emotional intelligence. A leader lacking emotional intelligence will storm away and succumb to these challenges. During all these challenges, do not just wave your white flag right away. Please do not give up on stressful situations without thinking them through. Learn to be aware of your thoughts and grasp them when facing them. Sort out your emotions and distance yourself from them so that you can put things into

Perspective. Ask yourself, "What can and can't I do?" Look at the problem in terms of the solutions you can supply and let go of the things that have no answers. Focus your energies on things that can be remedied.

In dealing with problematic colleagues and workers, do not let your emotions lead your decisions and actions. A career is often destroyed because of faulty relationships with co-workers and subordinates. Do not lash out personal tirades against the person. If you have the propensity to blow up immediately, walk away from the problem first and blow off some steam without lashing out at the person. Which part of the problem is the person's fault? Is there anything that could have? Have you been done on your part? Are other people involved? Do not focus too much on the person. Instead, address the wrongdoing. When you have put things in perspective, talk to the person but hear their side first. Hear out their viewpoints with no biases, judgments, or stereotypes. Empathy is essential at this point. It is necessary as a leader, especially when you make decisions concerning your team members involved in the conflict. Even if one of the team members is at fault, it is your job as a leader to ensure that the one at fault will recognize their responsibilities without feeling judged. This is a gauge of how much emotional intelligence a leader has.


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