Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. American professor Brené Brown once described it as “not about being nice all the time. It’s about being honest.”
So why is this important for business leaders? Well, it’s no great revelation that happy workers are more productive and if leaders can provide a pleasant atmosphere then they can get more from their team. Emotional intelligence help to cultivate this, so let’s find out how.
Why is emotional intelligence important for leaders?
If we take the analogy of a bridge, emotional intelligence or EI is the keystone that connects all the traits of a good leader. It’s essential for them to create a productive, positive and supportive work environment.
Leaders with high EI have excellent communication skills and can inspire and motivate their teams to reach their goals. A major part of that is empathy and self-awareness.
Active listening is crucial in being able to provide empathy. It allows managers to understand their teams' feelings, concerns and ideas. Also important is emotional regulation - the ability to manage your emotions effectively. That’s not letting situations get the better of you and remaining calm under pressure. This is particularly important when you need to have difficult conversations because honesty is far more important than worrying if your team will still like you.
By improving your EI, you can enhance your interpersonal skills, build stronger relationships with your team and create a supportive, positive work environment.