Imagine this scenario. A manager in a senior role who is kind and friendly, but when stressed becomes really unapproachable. Since her role is to mentor and guide, it creates a space where her direct reports are uncomfortable approaching her. Her aggressive tone and body language puts them off. She has beautiful intentions and is so well meaning but the way she manages her emotions makes her difficult to work with. She knows she needs to put the stress to one side and be there for her team but she doesn’t know how. Sometimes the ‘not knowing how’ can compound the feelings of stress and frustration and becomes a loop of negativity adding to the stress.
What do we look for in our leaders?
Charisma, purpose, determination – a few of the traits typically used to define a leader. Many great leaders though, have a single quality in common. What distinguishes the best leaders from the majority is their level of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage our emotions and respond effectively to the emotions of those around us. This quality gives individuals the skills to manage relationships, navigate social networks, influence and inspire others. We each possess different levels, but to become effective leaders, we need a high level of emotional intelligence. In today’s workplace, it is the key skill for success, influencing productivity, efficiency and team collaboration.
Important reasons why leaders should cultivate their emotional intelligence:
Leaders with higher emotional intelligence are self-aware and able to recognise emotions as they happen. This is a vital skill, as it gives them a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses without any obstruction. In addition, great leaders are able to perceive emotions as they arise in response to an action or situation. As a result, they are able better able to address problems and avoid future complications.
2. Emotional Management
Leaders with high emotional intelligence have command of techniques to regulate themselves and stay in control. These individuals are unlikely to rush headlong into hasty decisions or let their anger take over their behaviour. It is vital that individuals in managerial positions keep their emotions in check, as it will help them maintain a proper perspective on a situation.
3. Effective Communication
What is the benefit of emotional awareness and management if you are unable to clearly express your thoughts? Recognising the importance of developing effective communications skills demonstrates high emotional intelligence. Individuals with emotional intelligence often have the skill of effective communication. They are able to clearly convey directions and know what to say in order to inspire and motivate others. An important skill for leaders, communication can be a deciding factor in whether the team listens or not.
4. Social Awareness
Leaders with great emotional intelligence are well tuned to the emotions of others and are able to pick up on what is going on around them. They are able to empathise with others by putting themselves in the employee’s shoes and giving helpful feedback. This is a critical skill for leaders, who work closely to inspire and motivate a team. An inspired and motivate team is a high performing team project management process.
5. Conflict Resolution
In the workplace, emerging conflicts can threaten efficiency and productivity and impact on employee connections. However, leaders with emotional intelligence are well equipped to handle difficult situations and provide resolution. With this skill, leaders have the perspective to manage disagreements that arise between employees, customers, and other parties.
Leaders use their emotional intelligence to develop a more effective, harmonious and productive workplace.