Among modern companies, one can increasingly notice an approach that treats the employee as the company’s most important asset, ensuring the achievement of set business and image goals. For this reason, companies in various industries are trying to establish the best possible working conditions (in terms of, for example, the flexibility of place or time), supporting the development of new skills, taking care of physical and mental well-being or designing attractive benefits policies. Of key importance in this context, however, is first and foremost a leader who can properly manage his or her team. That, in turn, requires him or her to possess such a trait as emotional intelligence. Below we explain its significance in the context of good leadership.

Emotional intelligence – what does it consist of?

This type of intelligence refers to a person’s ability to understand felt mental states – both their own and others. It covers many areas related to feelings, starting with recognizing them, regulating them and controlling them. This trait is essential for building good relationships with others, which requires self-awareness in the area of one’s feelings and the ability to empathize (putting oneself in the shoes of others and displaying an attitude of understanding). In today’s business world, where there is an increasing emphasis on communication and interpersonal relationships, high awareness in the area of one’s own and others’ feelings is an increasingly desirable trait – especially in team managers.

Emotions and leadership – what is the relationship?

People with high emotional intelligence tend to be more effective in dealing with problems and conflicts, communicate well with others and show more motivation to achieve goals. For this reason, they can be better leaders for their teams and lead to satisfactory results for both individuals and the group. This is because holding this position requires great people management, which includes such areas as:

  • making difficult decisions – such a leader will maintain calmness and clear thinking even in the most tricky situation,
  • creating a team of committed employees – helped by positive relationships with team members, which are more easily built by leaders who are aware of their own and others’ feelings,
  • motivating employees – leaders can empathize with their employees, making them able to motivate them individually, tailoring their approach to the character and needs of the employee in question.

An emotionally intelligent leader – or what kind of leader?

A leader characterized by high emotional intelligence, therefore, knows exactly how to motivate another person to work, resolve conflict in a team or deal with the difficult behavior of an employee. Such an individual also demonstrates highly developed communication skills – can effectively present opinions without causing misunderstandings or negative feelings among others. Emotionally intelligent leaders also understand the needs of their employees and tailor their approach to them. This becomes especially important in the era of cultural and social diversity in the workplace, which makes each employee have different needs and expectations of the supervisor.

How to learn awareness in the area of feelings?

While it might seem that emotional intelligence is an innate ability that only a certain percentage of the population possesses, fortunately, everyone can develop and strengthen it. Naturally, the best way is to learn from practice – by acting as a leader and encountering specific situations in your work. However, various types of training or courses on, for example, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution, building commitment or proper communication (expressing one’s thoughts) will also work well. Coaching sessions to focus on strengthening skills in which you feel you have some deficiencies can also be particularly useful. The right coach will provide directions, tools or action strategies to improve self-awareness of how you and others feel.

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Emotional intelligence in leadership – summary

No one should doubt that a good leader should demonstrate emotional intelligence at a high level – especially nowadays when an employee is considered the most crucial resource of a company. Only in this way will a leader be able to properly manage the members of his team, i.e., discover their needs, support them in their challenges, resolve possible conflicts, motivate them to continue, and at the same time (thanks to self-awareness and self-control) not make his emotional states reflect on others. Therefore, it is worth betting on the development of this skill among leaders and managers. Thus, positive changes will take place in the organizational culture, which will certainly affect achieving the set business goals.

Read also: Addressing passive aggression in the workplace.

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.