Leadership requires a lot of skills that seem so simple but are in fact, difficult to do. If you think leadership is not hard because all you do is to just delegate or order people around, that is a wrong belief about being a leader.
Being a leader requires good understanding about emotions and psychology. This is because leadership is based around influencing yourself and other people. Leadership requires high emotional intelligence.
If a leader doesn’t understand people and their emotions, some levels of success may be achieved but a leader with low emotional intelligence won’t go far. If you want to be a leader or if you’re looking for leaders among employees, emotional intelligence is crucial.
What is Emotional Intelligence
We mentioned emotional intelligence but what really is emotional intelligence? If you look it up online, emotional intelligence is “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”
It can be strange to put together “emotions” and “intelligence”. After all, a lot of people identify themselves as either logical or emotional. What makes this worse is that schools don’t teach about emotional intelligence.
However, in life, emotional intelligence is crucial for a person to make the most out of life, to be positive, to be happy in a genuine manner and to understand other people’s way of communicating.
People may argue that they are either logical or emotional but studies have proven that human beings are emotional creatures. For instance, we know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.
We know what words can hurt and what words can empower. When we feel good, choosing to say words that can empower can be easier. However, when we feel bad, even though we know what’s wrong and what’s right, we can tend to choose words that can hurt.
A study was conducted by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Traversky. Their study showed that humans make decisions that defy logic. In school, we are taught about math, science and other subjects. However, we are not taught about emotions.
Emotional intelligence is not an inborn talent. It can be gained through education. This is why a lot of people are bad with communication, are miserable, see failures as a huge problem and react in a negative manner.
It’s because emotional intelligence can be gained through education but traditional education does not teach emotional intelligence. According to Travis Bradberry, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, people with average IQ outperform people with the highest IQ 70% of the time.
This shows that success in life can’t be achieved with intelligence or technical skills alone. Emotional intelligence is the missing link why people who are smarter, more talented, more skillful achieve less than people who are less smart, less talented and less skillful.
Emotional intelligence is understanding that:
- Behind negative actions are positive intentions
- Anger could be a cry for help
- Irritability could be caused by hunger
- Jolliness could be concealing sorrow
Having emotional intelligence is refusing to trust your first emotional impulses. It’s knowing that hatred could be masking love, that anger could be disguising sadness, that being negative could just be a cry for help and that we are prone to emotional inaccuracies that could damage relationships in a significant manner.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Significant in Leadership
Leaders are not leaders just so they can order people around. Leaders are leaders because they can lead. Leading involves knowing how to motivate, inspire and make employees act despite conditions in a way that doesn’t produce resentments.
Most companies fail to identify a leader because most employers identify employees that are the best at their work as potential leaders. According to a survey by Gallup, a shocking 82% of managers are not excellent with leading.
Emotional intelligence can enable you to motivate yourself to do what you must do. Knowing how to do this for yourself will enable you to also know how to motivate others to do what they must do.
Leadership with emotional intelligence is being more understanding and empathetic of employees. According to a study by Businessolver, 92% of employees said that they are more likely to stay at their work if their manager is more empathetic.
However, a study by Randstad US showed that 60% of employees left their work because of bad managers. Remember that 82% of leaders are not good with leading people.
Another study by Gallup showed that lack of recognition is one of the biggest reasons why employees leave. This means that most leaders don’t understand the impact of recognition to the employees.
When leaders don’t understand the emotions of others and the reason for how and why they communicate the way that they do, employees can become disengaged, they won’t trust the leader and they could leave their job.
Leadership requires emotional intelligence because leadership involves more than oneself. Leaders become role-models of the workforce. How they interact with others can influence the type of company culture that can be fostered.
Emotional intelligence is made up of four competencies:
- Social awareness
- Relationship management
According to Hays, the main reason why 43% of employees look for new jobs is because of good company culture. Having a leader with high emotional intelligence can increase the chance of a business to have a positive company culture.
Emotional intelligence in leadership is essential because leaders can make or break an organization. If you want to become a better leader or if you’re looking for new leaders for your organization, remember that it’s not about being the best at work but is by having good emotional intelligence.
Here’s a quote about leadership from Brian Tracy, “the best leaders have a high consideration factor. They really care about their people.” If you have the title of leadership, care not just about yourself but care for your employees as well.