Emotional Intelligence has long been known for being one of the main qualities of a good leader. Psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman wrote “What Makes a Leader”, a popular article from 1998, where he lists emotional intelligence as one of the main leadership components.
He said that the leaders who are the most effective and successful are always those that have high emotional intelligence. He stated that while IQ and practical skills are still very important, emotional intelligence is the core of a good leader – and not an entry-level requirement for executive positions. He went through many studies and research cases where he discovered that people without high emotional intelligence cannot be good leaders; they could have the best training, a sharp mind, and good ideas, but still lacking in leadership capabilities.
Emotional intelligence is, in essence, the ability to be in tune with yourself and your emotions and having awareness of the current situation. This is a powerful leadership tool which is especially useful in fast-paced environments such as the marketplace or the tech industry.
This is an umbrella term for the act of knowing, understanding and responding to various emotions, overcoming stress of the moment and being aware of how you and your actions affect others. Demonstrating it is of huge importance and puts you in an advantage over others, especially when building a great team, no matter what market you are in. And one of the most common factors that led to issues with employee retention is the deficit of quality communication with the leaders – which creates a decrease in engagement and doubt in goals and the mission of the team and the company.
A leader who doesn’t have emotional intelligence can’t really gauge the needs of their teammates, they can’t understand what they want or expect from them. Leaders without emotional intelligence also react with their emotions without filtering them properly beforehand. This creates mistrust among the team and can endanger relationships, the mission of the company and the team itself. Erratic emotions are a detriment to the entire company culture, morale and attitude. Leaders have to be self-aware; they have to understand how their emotions work and how to get the most out of any situation in a positive way.
“Emotional intelligence from a leadership standpoint can have five main components, which are self-awareness, self-management, empathy, relationship management and effective communication. You need to build an understanding of the emotional intelligence and what it means if you want to become a great leader,” says one tech writer.
Here are those five elements explained a bit deeper.
This can be defined as the ability to recognize your own emotions in the moment, your strengths and weaknesses, as well as values and impact on other people. Without self-awareness, you cannot understand who you really are and why you do what you do. You can’t know what you are good at or understand why you react the way you do. If you want to truly reach your potential, you need to be confident that you know who you are, and that you understand how the good goes with bad in your personality. From there, you can know what you need to work on to become better.
When you understand yourself and your emotions, the next step is discipline or controlling those emotions. You must redirect your disruptive emotions and change circumstances by adapting to them – you can keep your team going with a positive attitude and give them a sense of direction. Leaders can’t lose their cool or yell at other people. Tranquility and calming are contagious actions. Panic is contagious as well – focus on being calm if you want your team to succeed. When things get stressful, you need to be calm and collected and think in a positive direction.
This is your ability to understand what other people are feeling – putting yourself in their shoes, in a sense – and understanding how they might feel or react to something. You need to be able to see if your team member is struggling or if they have a desire to move forward. The better you are at relating to others, the better your chances of being a good leader will be.
“You need to be good at managing your relationships in effective ways. These relationships need to be productive and real in order for you to learn and become a better leader,” says Tina Garner, a project manager.
In order to build high quality relationships, you need to learn how to communicate effectively. You need to avoid misunderstandings and learn to build trust through communication. Failing to fo so can have serious consequences in your workplace.