Emotional intelligence in leadership – Why Is It Important

Last Update on January 17, 2024 : Published on January 17, 2024

Effective leadership plays an important role, whether it is in the success of an organization, a country, or any place. Yet our leaders forget that in this fast-paced and complex environment, one needs to have leadership skills and qualities that are effective enough to motivate people and make them work.

Effective leadership does not only mean having technical skills or knowing how to build out. It also means having skills where you have emotional intelligence and the ability to recognize, understand, and manage the emotions of others.

Like the intelligence quotient, emotional intelligence is also important as it helps a leader communicate effectively with a crowd and build a strong relationship with those who follow.

Moreover, it helps manage conflicts and inspires team members to achieve their goals. In today’s post, we will explain the importance of emotional intelligence in effective leadership and how it can impact the success of a person and organization or any place a leader with emotional intelligence is working. However, if you think you are emotionally intelligent, check out the post to learn more about the signs

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is an ability that gives a person the power to understand, recognize, and manage their own and other’s emotions.  It is an essential quality for an effective leader.

As leaders manage several people when they know how their emotions and others’ emotions work, they can manage things well and motivate the people they are managing.

Emotional intelligence was introduced in 1990, and since then, it has been used in almost all fields and is recognized as an essential quality for effective leadership. 

Emotional intelligence consists of four components:

  • Self-awareness: It is the ability to recognize one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and the value one possesses.
  • Self-regulation: Managing one’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior constructively that is in line with the goals is self-regulation.
  • Social awareness: When the person can understand what others need and how to empathize with their perspective, it is being socially aware.
  • Relationship management: building strong relationships, communicating effectively, and managing conflicts.

The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership

A good leader is important for getting work done. But for an organization to succeed and keep people motivated, a leader with emotional intelligence is required because he is the one who makes building strong relationships and teamwork and promoting a positive culture possible.  Here, we explain how emotional intelligence can help a leader be an effective leader and get the team motivated and productive: 

1. Effective Communication

It is key for everything, and communicating effectively is crucial for a leader to be effective. When a leader knows the vision, goal, and what to expect and convey to the team, he can be motivated. Effective communication makes one an active listener, empathizes with the team members, and resolves issues. Also, it positively motivates people.

2. Building Strong Relationships:

Strong relationships with team members are crucial in emotional intelligence in leadership. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are good at it as they know how to establish trust and rapport. Additionally, they are well-equipped to build a positive and supportive work environment, helping in job satisfaction, motivation, and engagement, as well as improving performance and productivity.

3. Conflict Management:

In any workplace, conflicts are bound to happen. An effective leader is capable of handling them constructively and positively. Emotional intelligence in leadership helps leaders remain composed during tense situations and demonstrate empathy towards their team members.

To explain things, let’s take an example where there is a conflict between two team members where one member believes that the second member is not contributing to the project while the other member believes that there is not enough guidance and support for the task.

In situations like this, emotional intelligence in leadership helps the leader acknowledge the gap and validate the emotions of both team members and the project manager. 

The emotionally intelligent leader understands that you both are experiencing some sort of difficulty and by using the skills, peace can be brought. 

4. Effective decision-making:

Another important thing in successful leadership is effective decision-making.  Leaders with high emotional intelligence can recognize and understand emotions, which helps them make well-informed decisions and empathize with team members.  Moreover, they can explain their perspective and understand what team members are trying to say, allowing them to make the right decision. 

How can we develop emotional intelligence?

Now that we know that a leader should have emotional intelligence. The question is how can one develop emotional intelligence. Here are some practical tips that will help you in improving your emotional intelligence:

1. Self-awareness:

The first step towards developing emotional intelligence is to be self-aware and to understand one’s own emotions. Once you can recognize and comprehend your own emotions, you will not be influenced by the behavior of others as you can understand why somebody behaves in a particular manner.

Hence, reflect on your emotions, identify the reasons, and see the recurring patterns. This can be done by maintaining a journal, using a mindfulness app, and seeing the triggers for your emotional upheaval, which will help you understand what might make others react emotionally, helping you become a good leader with emotional intelligence.  

2. Empathy:

One can be emotionally intelligent only with empathy towards others. To have faster empathy, being an active listener and understanding the situation is crucial. When you practice empathy, you place yourself in the other’s shoes and imagine how things might be for them. This will enhance your comprehension of others and will help build stronger relationships.

3. Emotional regulation:

It means managing emotions and replying to the situation calmly and rationally.  It is essential to handle stressful situations that develop an emotional response.  to regulate emotions, you should practice mindfulness deep breathing exercises, perform physical activity, and pay attention to your thoughts.

In addition, you can try to hold back your response so that you can analyze the situation and then respond to it effectively, giving enough time to process the emotion so that whatever answer you give is not based on your emotions.

4. Social skills:

Social skills encompass effective communication and building meaningful relationships. Developing social skills involves practicing active listening, assertiveness, and conflict resolution.

Networking and establishing connections with individuals from diverse backgrounds can also contribute to a broader perspective and increased empathy towards others.

5. Continuous learning:

Developing emotional intelligence is not a process that is one time; it is an ongoing process, and it only develops as you keep learning. As you grow in life, you can charge emotional intelligence for this.

You can read books and articles, observe people attend workshops, and see the opportunities that help you grow. Once you impress continuous learning, you will be able to expand your emotional intelligence and will be able to understand people well.

Takeaway – Improve your empathy

Building emotional intelligence is not as easy.  To understand the other person, one needs to be empathetic and put oneself in other shoes so that what others perceive can be easily understood. To improve your emotional intelligence, pay attention to nonverbal cues. Be aware of your body language.

Never cross your arms, fidget with your feet, or bite your lip as it signals negative feelings. Develop the ability to read body language as it is valuable in a leadership role because it allows you to understand better how others truly feel, enabling you to respond appropriately. Acknowledge and address emotions. 

About The Author

Ayush Yadav
Ayush Yadav

Aayush is a writer, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change and make people aware about the history. He holds a bachelor's in law, lives in the princely state Jaipur and is passionate about helping people in anyway possible. In his spare time, he is usually out with friends and enjoys exploring different facets of life.

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