When I think about a great leader, I picture someone who doesn’t let his temper get out of hand no matter what the situation. Others may think about someone who is trustworthy, speaks kindly, listens to the rest of the team, is approachable or makes careful and informed decisions. All of these qualities actually point to someone with a high degree of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage not just your own emotions but also those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know exactly what they’re feeling, what it means and how it can affect other people.
For leaders, having emotional intelligence is the gateway to success. A leader who can stay in control during high pressure situations is more likely to succeed over someone who shouts at his team.
According to American psychologist Daniel Goleman, there are five elements of emotional intelligence:
Being self-aware means knowing how you feel, and knowing how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you is a good trait for a leader to have. Being a self-aware leader means having a clear idea of your strengths and weakness. You can take all the information and figure out a way to make the most of your strengths and have a team that can make up for your weaknesses.
Self-regulation is all about staying in control. Leaders who regulate themselves would rarely launch into verbal attacks against their team, make rushed or emotional decisions, create friction between team members or compromise their values.
This element of emotional intelligence covers a leader’s flexibility and commitment to personal accountability. Leaders should avoid pointing fingers and blaming others, and at the same time, not let mistakes get in the way of improvement.
Leaders who are motivated consistently work towards their goals and have extremely high standards for the quality of their work. It’s important for leaders to not just be motivated but also project this characteristic onto team members.
Having empathy is critical for a leader to be able to manage a successful team. Leaders who can empathize have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s situation. This in turn helps the development of their team, challenge others who act unfairly, give constructive feedback, listen and give advice to those who need it.
5. Social Skills
People with high emotional intelligence tend to have great communication skills. They’re just as open to hearing bad news as good news. As a leader, someone with the social skills element of emotional intelligence has the ability to get their team’s support and join in on the excitement of a new task or a completed project.
Leaders with good social skills are also good at managing and resolving conflicts in a diplomatic matter, whether between team members or with clients and vendors.
So if you’re wondering if emotional intelligence is telling of a great leader, I say yes. The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he can be.
© 2012 Incedo Group, LLC