Why Leaders Need Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Though technical competence can take leaders to greater heights professionally, emotional intelligence combined with technical expertise is what every leader needs to become an inspirational leader. If you’ve ever wondered what competencies fall under “emotional intelligence,” we’ve got a great explanation for you – as well as why your leaders need emotional intelligence.

Characteristics of Emotional Intelligence

An emotionally intelligent leader is dynamic in character. From displaying a keen ability to empathize to a strength in communicating feelings, an emotionally intelligent leader is well-rounded in several personality traits. Furthermore, it isn’t the display of merely just one of the necessary qualities but rather the sum of all characteristics that signifies true emotional intelligence in your leaders. The following 5 traits contribute to emotional intelligence:

  1. Empathy
  2. Self-Awareness
  3. Motivation & Commitment
  4. Emotional Competence & Self-Regulation
  5. Strong Social Skills

Below is a deeper dive into the above traits and how to recognize each one.

Empathetic Leaders

A successful leader is empathetic and in tune with his subordinates. Moreover, she has the capacity to make employees empathize within the context of their jobs. For instance, a CEO who starts his staff meeting with the number of lives their drug has saved is far more influential than one who starts off with a balance sheet assessment.

Self-Aware Leaders

Self-aware leaders are continuously cognizant of both their emotional and physiological state. Therefore, they don’t let threats, foul mood, hunger or headache decide how they respond to situations. They are not prone to impulsive reactions and tend to reflect before making decisions.

Motivation and Commitment

Leaders with emotional intelligence do not let anxiety, fear or anger influence their actions and decisions. In effect, when dealing with failure, they are clear-headed. They analyze the possible causes of failure instead of trying to pass on the blame. This magnetic attitude motivates team members, as it reassures them of the leader’s commitment to the team.

Emotional Competence and Self-Regulation

According to Daniel Goleman, the author of “Working with Emotional Intelligence,” people with the capacity to self-regulate are not slaves to their impulses. They don’t have emotional outbursts. Instead, they respond to situations and come up with workable solutions. This is a useful competency to cultivate in order to maintain a fair ambiance at work.

Social Skills

Effective leaders’ social skills don’t end with knowing how to “work a room.” They also know how to “read the pulse” of all the players, especially in sensitive situations. And they possess the emotional control needed to deliver negative feedback with sensitivity. To a large extent, this skill counteracts demotivation and resentment.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

The higher your position in the organization, the more important it is to gain some degree of emotional intelligence. Research done by Daniel Goleman and his team reveals that the ability to see the big picture is the only cognitive or intellectual skill truly essential for people in top leadership roles. If seeing the big picture involves understanding relationship networks and group politics, emotional intelligence is a skill you must nurture if you want to be an effective leader.

Great leaders aren’t born – they’re made, and with the help of A Better Leader, teams can achieve more. With the ability and skills to support, motivate, improve, and communicate with their people, leaders gain insight into what it takes to build a powerful team.

Chris Craddock

As the leader of Projections' production team, Chris loves to inspire others to perform at the highest levels! From the most challenging leadership opportunities to brainstorming the latest topics leaders want to learn about, Chris provides clear direction and vision.