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Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Successful leadership is possible when you have business savvy, experience, vision, and analytical skills. Those are the main qualities most organizations and hiring executives look for when filling a leadership position. But of all those qualities, emotional intelligence has emerged as an important and often forgotten asset.

Emotional intelligence is the power to comprehend, control, and develop your feelings while understanding and managing the feelings of others at the same time. Emotional intelligence is that unquantifiable yet critical quality that surpasses administrative components in leadership. As a leader of people, you have to acknowledge that those you lead are human and therefore filled with emotions. Those emotions affect how they work and perceive interactions, as do yours. You, therefore, need to know how to recognize, control, and manage both yours and theirs for an effective and optimum working environment.

Emotional intelligence combines self-awareness and empathy. Trying to manage people without acknowledging their emotions is both shortsighted and bound to fail. Accepting them and their emotions enables you to get a better handle on things. While a leader must have authority over their charge, they need to also work with those emotions to make the most of the team’s capabilities, both individual and from a group perspective.

Emotional intelligence has benefits for both the leader and the organization.
For the leader, it leads to better internal awareness. For you to make better decisions, you need to understand how your feelings affect your judgment, productivity, attitude, and such. You need to be aware of your emotions, weaknesses, limitations, and strengths. If you know, for instance, that you struggle with delegating duties, you can work on improving that skill, thus improving your leadership style overall. You can only do so if you know there is an issue there.

You also get better self-regulation. Impulsiveness is a terrible trait for a leader. Most decisions made in haste tend to lead to failure and erosion of respect from the subordinates. You can break down bridges you built over a long time with one impulsive move.

You also get to increase your empathy. When you understand your emotional state well, it becomes easier for you to understand that of others. You, therefore, can better place yourself in your employee’s shoes, thus helping you make better decisions.

You will also be less stressed. Emotional intelligence gives you better stress management. You avoid negative emotions or negative reactions, especially on your subordinates or family at home. Your work and life balance will be almost perfect, making it easier to manage stress.

For the organization, emotional intelligence will mean better productivity and lower employee turnover. Of all the things that make employees quit their jobs, their relationship with their bosses, as well as the organization in general, ranks among the top ones. Emotional intelligence plays a key role in determining how you relate with your bosses and colleagues. It also leads to better collaboration and coexistence among team members.

Emotional intelligence leads to improved company culture, of which a large part comes down to how people relate to each other in there. Performance improves since your staff does not have to deal with the added stress of emotional outbursts and such behavior from their superiors.

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