Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of one’s own emotions, as well as having the capacity to manage and control these emotions. Possessing a good measure of emotional intelligence means that one is more sensitive about how our actions or words come across to others. Practicing constant and intentional self-awareness and empathy towards others plays an essential role in becoming a good leader.
Leading differs from managing as leadership focuses on the qualitative aspect of heading a team or an organisation; it is the ability to influence, motivate, or inspire others and thus creating the desired changes or transformation. Managing mostly focuses on the technical or quantitative facets of the job: numbers, figures, processes, tools, developing skills, increasing revenue, growing sales, expanding the business. Leadership is all about getting the team and the organisation to bring all these facets into fruition by empowering and guiding them, and rallying them towards change.
Given these main leadership responsibilities and expectations, it is appropriate that a leader adopt an adequate level of emotional intelligence. It is only through a good measure of this that a leader can carry the duty and functions of a leader effectively. While a corporate head can be a great manager, it takes a different disposition and character for one to become a great leader.
How Can Emotional Intelligence Help one to Become a Great Leader?
1. Awareness of one’s emotions & practicing mindfulness
Members of organisations look to their leaders for guidance and judge them on how they strategise, solve problems, or speak or act. It is usual for a leader to be a role model and to be emulated. Thus, it is very important for a leader to carefully manage his or her own emotions. Leaders have to constantly assess themselves on their reactions to ensure they are being objective and impartial. Leaders have to listen any team feedback, setting aside their own personal emotions, especially those that may communicate negativity or cynicism. Leaders have to be intentional and mindful in everything they say or do.
2. Inspire the organisation
Working towards a company’s corporate goals will involve the efforts from the whole organisation. Getting the team or organisation to support and rally behind you towards your targets will take a noteworthy portion of inspiration, encouragement, and motivation. A leader must influence his or her team into making valuable contributions to the company. Simply explaining the targets may not suffice to drive the teams to action, but expressing how these goals can advance personal aspirations or serve one’s purpose may be more effective.
3. Have empathy
“Walking a mile in other people’s shoes” is a saying derived from a Mary T. Lathrap poem published in 1895, and is a great way for us to use our imagination to gain insight into other peoples situations and therefore more empathy towards others. Empathy is “feeling their emotions in our heart” and lets us see things from other people’s perspective. This enables us to be aware of their emotions, as well as being sensitive to how we come across towards others. Thus, it equips us into listening intently, and avoiding hasty reactions before gaining full understanding.
4. Establish rapport
Building sincere and meaningful relationships is one of the primary aims of a leader. It is said that good results come from a team that is happy and sees the purpose in what they do. Thus, a leader will need to set up strong, harmonious interpersonal relationships within the team, and he or she can carry this out by modelling the behaviour. Open and honest communication, done with mutual respect, will lead to strengthened and genuine rapport.
A leader demonstrating emotional intelligence will surely lead an organisation towards its attainment of goals. Practicing EI will empower a leader to be more intentional in all that he or she does, and will eventually yield an organisation with a real cultural transformation.
To know more about leading with emotional intelligence, reach out to MRS V who can help you and the organisation lead towards positive change.