Why Emotional Intelligence is Important in Leadership

Transactional Leadership

Efficiency and timeliness are two paradigms on which leaders judge their employees’ performance. However, these parameters stifle the growth and productivity of employees in the long run. It also leads to employees quitting the organization and finding new opportunities that promote growth and independence.

Many leaders resort to the core emotional intelligence component while analyzing the performance of their employees. These components of emotional intelligence in leaders help them understand the emotions and motivation of the employees towards their work, extending beyond efficiency, timeliness, productivity, and target.

Experts believe that emotional intelligence in leaders provides a new paradigm to measure and monitor their employee’s performance—a model that encourages growth, innovation, and creativity in leadership. This article will help you understand emotional intelligence and emphasize its importance in leadership.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the glue that can hold relationships tight and close in the long run. Experts define emotional intelligence as the ability to manage and control one’s emotions and possess the ability to control others’ emotions as well. As a result, it can foster long-term relationships with friends, partners, and colleagues. In this article, you will learn about emotional intelligence and its importance in leadership.


What is Emotional Intelligence in Leadership?

The most effective leaders consider emotional intelligence a critical skill to recognize and solve their team members’ problems. That’s why emotional intelligence is an important part of many leadership styles. Emotional intelligence in leaders is referred to as the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions, as well as recognize and control others’ emotions and perspectives. The term is believed to be first used in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey. However, it has gained popularity in the recent decade with the advent of leadership roles.

Interestingly, emotional intelligence is a great parameter to check a leadership style’s effectiveness. Experts believe that intelligence quotient (IQ), technical skills, and communication skills are irrelevant if a leader lacks emotional intelligence. The growing importance of emotional intelligence has forced many leaders to learn and implement it into their leadership style to incite innovation, job satisfaction, and a positive working environment in their company.

ALSO READ: How to Practice Well-Being Leadership 

What is the Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership?

While many leaders have prolific technical and communication skills, they lack emotional intelligence. As leaders set the organization’s tone, emotional intelligence becomes an inevitable part of the skill set. An organization led by a leader who lacks emotional intelligence cannot survive the tide of the complex business environment. Here’s why emotional intelligence is important:

  • Emotional intelligence in leaders develops a positive work culture in the organization, which vicariously increases efficiency and productivity
  • It instigates growth, innovation, and creativity in the organization and team members
  • It constantly motivates team members and leaders to put their best foot forward
  • Emotional intelligence helps leaders and employees make the right decisions in difficult times
  • It develops a strong bond between a leader and their team

ALSO READ: How Important is Emotional Intelligence in Leadership?

What are the Components of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership?

We’ve listed below the components of emotional intelligence in leaders:

1. Self-Awareness

It refers to the ability to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, being self-aware makes a leader control their emotion, which helps them understand complex emotions that affect their team members.
Moreover, leaders need to be self-aware of their abilities to guide and control a team. It helps them make sound and profitable decisions that bring prosperity to the company and instigate personal growth among team members. There is no litmus test to evaluate if an individual is self-aware or not, but 360-degree feedback is the best way to estimate the self-awareness quotient of a leader. In addition to it, being conscious of one’s behavior is another way to check the self-awareness quotient.

2. Self-Management

Self-management is a vital component of emotional intelligence that plays a significant role in challenging business situations. It refers to the ability of leaders to manage their emotions during a difficult situation. It also refers to the positive outlook a leader maintains in adversities. Therefore, self-management is an imperative and inevitable part of a leadership style.
It equips a leader with ways to tackle a difficult situation. In addition, it teaches them how to react in a predicament, emphasizing mental peace and a calm attitude.

3. Social Awareness

A business organization does not operate in solitude; therefore, leaders must be aware of their business environment. Moreover, it helps them formulate business strategies and implement plans to adapt their employees to heterogeneous market conditions, among others.
However, social awareness is not limited to external factors. It also refers to a leader’s capability to understand and manage the emotions of people acting inside an organization. Therefore, leaders who excel in social awareness practice empathy. It helps them understand the perspectives and emotions of others, enabling them to communicate and collaborate effectively. 

Interestingly, empathy is a critical leadership skill that leaders adopt across industries. Experts believe that empathic leaders are effective and influential because they understand human behavior and cognition.

4. Relationship Management

Relationship management consists of abilities nurtured by a leader that help them play an active role in resolving conflicts, mentoring, influencing, and coaching their team members. It also refers to a leader’s ability to keep conflicts and miscommunication at a bare minimum. Employees prefer business enterprises with fewer conflicts because it increases job satisfaction and growth. Therefore, maintaining peace between all parties of the organization is one of the main functions of a leader.

ALSO READ: How Adaptive Leadership Can Help Indian Leaders Drive Success

leadershipEmotional Intelligence Assessment

The following are some of the most effective frameworks, theories, and tools to analyze the degree of emotional intelligence in leaders and help them enhance their emotional quotient (EQ):

1. EQ Questionnaire

The questionnaire by the Global Leadership Foundation assesses emotional intelligence in leaders. The quick test comprises 40 Multiple-Choice Questions (MCQs) and provides scores on four different emotional intelligence parameters—social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, and relationship management.

2. Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence (SEI) Framework

SEI comprises advanced and custom EQ tools to measure and develop emotional intelligence in leaders, enabling them to lead effectively. Its Leading Through Change (LTC) tool assesses leaders’ effectiveness in navigating through change and their EQ competence. Moreover, it explains the Agile leadership framework and recommends strategies and next steps according to the leaders’ competency scores.

3. MoodMeter

It is one of the most popular apps to enhance emotional intelligence in leaders. Based on the RULER Program by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence (YCEI), the app is beneficial for Recognizing, Understanding, Learning, Expressing, and Regulating (RULER) emotions. The app has four different color quadrants and the users can select any quadrant based on their mood. It then tells the user’s emotions based on their mood. Ultimately, the app helps leaders enhance emotional intelligence by enabling them to become self-aware about their emotions. 

4. The Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) and the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI)

These are two popular EQ resources based on the Emotional Competence Framework developed by Daniel Goldman and Richard Boyatsiz. They are essentially 360-degree tools that assess emotional intelligence in leaders on the following scales:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-control
  • Positive outlook
  • Adaptability
  • Organizational awareness
  • Inspirational leadership
  • Conflict management
  • Teamwork
  • Influence
  • Coaching and mentorship
  • Achievement orientation
  • Empathy

These tools mainly provide feedback to users on other people’s behavior in comparison to their emotional and social competencies. Consequently, leaders can assess their strengths and determine which emotional intelligence skills are lacking.

In order to improve emotional intelligence, leaders must learn about these components. Emeritus India’s leadership courses help leaders understand and practice these components. It also equips them with skills to tackle difficult business problems. Therefore, to learn more about emotional intelligence in leadership and other skills required for becoming a great leader, enroll in our online courses offered in association with leading educational institutes.

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Nikhil is a passionate and free-spirited writer with 4+ years of experience. He has a keen eye for the ever-evolving content landscape, which helps him craft captivating content across various genres. He writes about marketing, data science, and finance for the Emeritus Blog. Beyond work, Nikhil is a dedicated pet parent who loves leisurely walks with his beloved puppers.
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