Emotional Intelligence As A Leader
29 June 2017
Emotional Intelligence (EI) can seem like a bit of a minefield, particularly if you are operating in a field wherein stoicism and a stiff upper lip tend to be the norm. However, with a new generation of Millennials workers (who practice mindfulness and are typically very open emotionally), possessing good EI is essential for productive management.
EI is now widely regarded as a key component of effective leadership. The ability to correctly read your own emotions, as well as being able to perceive the emotional state of your employees is one of the best ways to be in tune with your members of staff. EI isn’t simply being able to recognise when someone is content or stressed, it’s about being able to respond correctly to your own and other’s emotions and being aware of how your words and actions can affect the emotional state of others.
The term Emotional Intelligence was coined in 1990 in a research paper conducted by the University of Yale. Rutgers psychologist Daniel Goleman was the first to establish a connection between EI and business leadership.
He wrote an article titled “What Makes A Leader” for the Harvard Business Review in 1998, which introduces five key components of Emotional Intelligence that allows individuals to “recognise, connect with and learn from their own and other people’s mental states”. These are:
- Motivation (defined as a passion for work that goes beyond money and status)
- Empathy For Others
- Social Skills (such as proficiency in managing relationships and building networks)
Emotional Intelligence could give you an advantage in building a team and recruiting great members of staff in terms of culture fit. And, if you do feel like EI is not something that you are particularly in tune with, leading business site Inc.com insist that it is entirely possible to pick up the basics:
“You can learn to be emotionally independent and gain the attributes that allow you to have emotional intelligence by connecting to core emotions, accepting them, and being aware of how they affect your decisions and actions.”
Certainly, when many of you think of leadership, words such as “drive”, “determination” and perhaps even “ruthlessness” may spring to mind. These are the stereotypical or traditional images of a strong leader. Yet, softer, interpersonal skills are now just as much a part of the recruitment process as anything else. Personal qualities – particularly the ability to connect with your colleagues – are now considered essential.
Gone are the days when the boss locked themselves in an office and took nothing to do with their staff. You are expected to be a presence on the shop floor, so to speak, and be able to understand the ups and downs of your employees. Although analytical and technical skills will always be desirable within a leader, many studies indicate that Emotional Intelligence is the single attribute that can distinguish average leaders from incredible ones.
Lack of communication or not being able to “read” a situation or person can often be the root of serious problems within the workplace. Possessing good Emotional Intelligence seeks to eradicate this. EI can be a powerful tool for exceeding previous success and creating a healthy, welcoming working environment.
If you would like to speak to me about taking the step up in to leadership, I would be delighted to speak with you confidentially. Click here to see my details.
Written By Barry Lee