Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise emotions in other people accurately and to think critically about your feelings and motivations.
A high level of emotional intelligence is crucial in a good leader and recognised more and more by employers as a valuable trait in their CEOs and directors.
One reason is that an emotionally intelligent leader can inspire and engage their team. A self-aware leader also communicates effectively without any personal bias on the strategies they develop for the health of the company.
Two facets of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence begins with a good hard look inside.
We all have little pet peeves and things that bother us. However, how often do we examine why, before reacting to any given situation?
The ability to do this allows for a more measured approach to business. Emotions are fleeting. However, the consequences of decisions are long-lasting. You don’t want to make business decisions based entirely on your feelings.
Rather than squashing or ignoring your emotions, acknowledge and consider them. Then you can be objective towards finding a solution for the problem at hand.
Sometimes feelings do contribute to the decision-making process. After all, good leaders often rely on their gut instincts and have great success. If your gut is reacting to the facts, a situation, or personal triggers that don’t have relevance to the necessary course of action, listen to it.
Introvert or Extrovert?
It’s also important to understand whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. Both have valuable qualities in the workplace.
Introverts are excellent listeners and often give measured thoughtful responses.
On the other hand, extroverts gravitate to social situations and draw energy from their interactions with others.
Knowing whether you are an introvert or an extrovert allows you to let your strengths as a leader flow naturally while keeping aware of areas that might need special attention.
Know Your Staff
Emotional intelligence is also vital when it comes to getting the best work from your staff.
Introvert employees might not respond right away, but they are listening carefully. They carefully think of their answers before giving them.
Meanwhile, employees who are extroverts may not always give the best suggestions. However, they are very good at engaging others and keeping the flow of work moving along.
That said, be sure to delegate responsibilities that allow each team member to contribute their very best.
Applying Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Recognise that employees have different styles and responses to how they are managed in the workplace. A boss who can empathise with employees can shape communications in a way that minimises resistance to criticism or operational change.
On the other hand, too much empathy can be a problem for a leader. You can’t get hung up on whether or not your employees are happy with their work.
You are the leader, and you need your team to get the job done effectively and efficiently.
Establishing a workplace where employees feel acknowledged and where it is okay for them to be human minimises the potential adverse effects on their work product.