Emotional intelligence is defined by the ability to understand and manage not just your own emotions, but the emotions of those around you. A high degree of emotional intelligence means you’ve mastered the ability to maintain relationships, influence and inspire, and navigate complex social networks with savvy, thoughtful communication skills. To become an effective leader, you need to have a high level of emotional intelligence. Here are some of the most essential reasons why emotional intelligence equals next-level leaders.
The most inspiring leaders have one thing in common: they are self-aware. Their ability to identify and control their own emotions and actions means they can take a more balanced and calculated approach to their behavior in the workplace. This is an incredibly vital skill if you want to be a great leader because it can help you obtain a clear understanding of your particular strengths and weaknesses. When you are self-aware, you are better able to perceive emotions as they arise and temper them—moving forward with compassion and positivity—not act impulsively or in a reactionary way. Doing so will gain your team’s trust.
Having high emotional intelligence means that you are able to manage your emotions and stay in control. When you can manage your feelings, you are unlikely to rush headlong into decisions or let anger drive your emotions. Taking stock of how you’re feeling and how that may impact business decisions means you create less friction as you make decisions and respond to the pressures of being a leader. Simply put, to be an effective leader, you have to be able to keep your emotions in check. (Now there’s a Tweetable line.)
Want your team to listen? Communication is the deciding factor to whether or not they will. Miscommunication and fears around speaking the truth as one knows it creates organizational vulnerability and interpersonal conflict. If, as a leader you aren’t an effective communicator,, you can’t express key objectives, make others feel safe, or create open lines of communication. A key part of emotional intelligence is compassion and honesty; it’s important you behave in a way that lets your staff know you care. It’s cliché but true: actions speak louder than words. When you have high emotional intelligence, you can clearly convey your mission, inspire your team, and motivate them to success.
Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence are tuned-in to the emotions of others and able to pick up on what is happening around them, even what is being expressed nonverbally. They can sympathize with others and provide meaningful feedback, and because they do it in a respectful way, it’s well-received. Leaders who are looking to inspire and motivate their employees must first develop their social awareness, putting to work their communication skills on the daily. If a leader can’t connect, empathize, and communicate honestly with their employees, they’ll find it challenging to earn their respect.
In every workplace, there is always the risk that conflict will disrupt the efficiency and productivity of the office. Conflict’s number one creator? Miscommunication. Leaders with high emotional intelligence have communication skills, social awareness, and compassion in droves. With these skills, leaders are able to handle disputes and offer resolutions to conflicts, no matter how big.
Becoming an effective leader isn’t easy because it takes rewriting habits and an honest look inward and doing serious personal development work Yet, the ability to put the above skills into action will return the investment tenfold. With a higher emotional intelligence, you can become a more effective leader and develop a more productive work environment.