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Emotional intelligence in the workplace (EQ) is becoming a pretty hot topic for business, maybe even bordering on buzzword territory. In fact, many research articles and papers have begun correlating high emotional intelligence with success at work. It is highly important that aspiring leaders in workplaces understand why EQ is such an important facet of leadership. This will enhance their individual performance and boost their company’s revenue. Thus, in this post, we’ll be discussing why EQ is such an important facet of leadership and how leaders can improve their EQ levels.
What is EQ
EQ is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. People with high EQ can manage emotions, use their emotions to facilitate thinking, understand emotional meanings and accurately perceive others’ emotions.
For leaders, having EQ is extremely vital for success. Think about it: who is more likely to succeed at motivating their team and drive success? – a leader who is unable to control their emotions and vents it out on their team mates when an error occurs, or a leader who keeps their emotions in check, reads their teammates body languages and calmly assesses the situation before deciding the next route of action?
Why EQ is important for leadership?
According to the Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence is a key leadership skill. For Leaders to be truly effective, they must be masterful at managing their relationships in a positive way.
Maya Angelou, an American Poet, once remarked that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Thus, here are reasons why EQ is an important facet of leadership
- EQ helps leaders Adapt
- EQ helps leaders empathise
- EQ helps leaders be internally aware
- EQ helps leaders self-regulate their emotion
Help Leaders to Adapt
Leaders also need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances in their workplaces, or in their own roles and those of their team members. President Xi of China once told attendees at a job fair that emotional intelligence will enable an individual to be more adaptable in society. This is because in adapting times, the sudden need for change in organisations can often be a major source of frustration or anger or a lack of empathy.
Leaders who are emotionally intelligent can manage the stress and anxiety that came with change. They should be able to manage a variety of tense situations to instill trust and confidence in others while helping them to easily and confidently make progress in stressful times. With high levels of EQ, leaders would be able to navigate through an ever-changing world, and even to become a successful leader in it. Thus, it is important for aspiring leaders to take courses and upgrade their innate EQ levels.
Help Leaders to Empathise
Leaders with high emotional intelligence have a good understanding of their own emotional states, which allows them to accurately gauge the emotions of others. For business leaders, this empathy places them in their employees’ shoes. This leads to more thoughtful and deliberate decisions. Teams rally around missions, not directives. Therefore, leaders with trained EQ can empathise with colleagues and ultimately influence their behaviour. This fosters deeper trust among colleagues and clients. Leaders also need to constantly upgrade their leadership skills, and one key aspect which they need to focus on would be their EQ levels which allow them to empathise. This also forms an emotional connection with their co-workers which fuels insight, trust, and boost problem solving.
Help Leaders be Internally Aware
Making sound decisions requires an understanding of how your feelings are affecting judgment, productivity, and attitudes. Therefore, having trained levels of EQ will allow leaders to be self-aware of not only their emotions, but also their weaknesses and limitations. For example, managers who are consciously aware of their weaknesses in task delegation can make a mental note to delegate tasks more and have faith in their colleagues to do their tasks well. Internal awareness isn’t eliminating emotions from decisions, but rather it allows leaders to work with rationality, so they don’t subconsciously affect judgment.
Help Leaders self-regulate their emotions
When discussions get heated in workplaces, negative feelings are often easily roused, and words may come lashing which sullies relationships in the workplace. Therefore, being trained in EQ would allow leaders to control their emotions and not make any impulsive decisions which may result in a loss of respect of their subordinates.
Furthermore, emotionally intelligent leaders don’t take things personally . They are able to carry on with plans without having to worry about their own egos. Personal vendettas between leaders and employees are one of the commonest hindrances to productivity in many workplaces. Therefore, leaders need to train their innate levels of EQ as it breeds self-regulation which prevents the occurrence of moments which could destroy any established rapport and hinder the company’s productivity.
To find out more about how you can further improve your innate EQ levels and bolster your leadership capabilities, do check out our other blog below and check out our developing leadership capability courses.
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