Leaders play a crucial role in the workplace. They are responsible for guiding their team members to the right way to achieve success. That’s why, as a leader, you don’t only need to be able to lead but also to effectively do it. And to be an effective leader, you need emotional intelligence.
What is emotional intelligence?
In 1990, Psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer published their landmark article entitled Emotional Intelligence in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality. In this journal, they defined emotional intelligence as “the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.”
Simply put, emotional intelligence is your skill to perceive, understand, and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. Since emotions are so powerful that they can influence your thoughts, behaviors, and decisions, emotional intelligence can stop them from controlling you.
Emotional Intelligence and Being an Effective Leader
So, now that you know what emotional intelligence is, how can it make you an effective leader?
One aspect of emotional intelligence is perceiving, understanding, and managing your emotions. It is the first step to your journey to emotional intelligence.
As a leader, you shouldn’t only be well-versed in noticing how your team members perform but also on how you perform. And self-awareness is the key to this. How do your team members see you? How do you influence them? When you’re tested and pressured, how do you react and act?
When you’re self-aware, you know better which things you do well, things you need to improve, and things you need to stop doing. You can use what you learned from examining yourself to help you improve and become a more effective leader.
Awareness of others
Another aspect of emotional intelligence that can be the key to making you a more effective leader is awareness of others.
Self-awareness isn’t enough. As a leader, you’re responsible for guiding your team members toward success. But it doesn’t mean that just because you lead them, your team members will follow. That’s why you need to aware of your staff, too.
Being aware of others helps you know how your employees perform and why they perform that way. This skill also makes your team members feel valued, listened to, cared for, consulted, and understood. These feelings help them trust you more, therefore making you a more effective leader.
Empathy is the capacity to relate to others’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It’s best described by the idiom “be in one’s shoes”. Now, why do you need empathy to be an effective leader?
In People Dynamics’ blog, they describe having empathy in leadership as something that “shows that you respect your team members and that you care for them. Being an empathetic leader has a lot of benefits such as developing closer relationships with your co-workers, promoting healthier relationships in the workplace, and in turn creates a workplace where productivity, morale, and loyalty are at optimal levels.”
According to Bodhi Sanders, “When you react, you let others control you. When you respond, you are in control.” Don’t let your emotions get the best of you and affect your performance with a leader. Be more emotionally intelligent so that you could better respond and lead, even in uncertain situations.