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Emotional Intelligence is a Leader’s Most Important Capability

In his research of 200 global companies, psychologist and author Daniel Goleman found that the most effective leaders are those that exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people. After all, if you were asked to define the traits of a great leader you might include the following characteristics at the top of your list:

  • Even-tempered
  • Stays in control
  • Handles conflict well
  • Has the trust of employees
  • Listens to employees
  • Easy to talk to
  • Makes informed and objective decisions

All the above are signs of highly-developed emotionally intelligent leaders.

In this article, we’ll discuss the five main elements of emotional intelligence and why they are key attributes of great leadership.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence includes:

  • Self-awareness: understanding how you respond to certain situations
  • Self-regulation: understanding that how you respond can be managed, and that the actions you take become a choice rather than a reflex
  • Social awareness: recognizing and understanding how others feel, what response is likely in any given situation and being able to empathize
  • Relationship management: the ability to communicate effectively with others and express emotions rationally
  • Motivation: the ability to work toward goals with a consistent approach, and a high standard of work

How self-awareness informs leadership

Self-awareness enables you to understand your feelings, emotions and reactions in any given situation or circumstance. It enables you to have an in-depth appreciation for your strengths and weaknesses, and helps you to act with humility.

How self-regulation informs leadership

Leading on directly from self-awareness, self-regulation empowers a leader to remain even-tempered, a key attribute when dealing with workplace conflict and making decisions objectively. Self-regulation enables you to stay in control, keep calm when others fail to do so, and find innovative and creative solutions to problems that confound others.

How social awareness informs leadership

Social awareness increases communication skills. You’ll be adept at supporting your team and motivating them through change. You’ll be diplomatic, a good conflict resolver, and set the pace by setting examples of the values and behaviors expected.

How relationship management informs leadership

The leader who is socially aware can see problems from others’ points of view. This is necessary to be empathetic, a key when dealing with issues, helping others develop, and providing constructive feedback. As a socially aware leader, you will have a good understanding of the difference between verbal and non-verbal communication, and use this to better understand employees’ real feelings.

A good relationship manager encourages others to trust them.

Emotional intelligence is a learnable attribute

We all have an element of emotional intelligence, but it is rare indeed for a single person to be blessed with highly-developed skills in each of the five elements of emotional intelligence. However, there are ways to assess your emotional intelligence, and exercises that can be used to develop each element.

Our Executive and Leadership Coaching programs are designed to develop executive capabilities and:

  • Provide a catalyst for personal transformation
  • Develop future leaders for your organization
  • Support executives in leading change to create high-performing, results-driven organizations with engaged employees
  • Nurture the competencies to be coaches to their employees and foster greater engagement
  • Create organizational cultures that value learning, coaching and continuous improvement
  • Create better collaboration with other leaders/managers, creating a high-performing management team

We also help managers to build their capabilities across these essential leadership functions:

  • Communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Influencing
  • Listening skills
  • Negotiation skills

Contact Forward Focus today to discover more.

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