Why Leaders Need Emotional Intelligence

Leaders who are self-aware and can regulate emotions inspire, motivate and gain greater respect.

We now know that managers with high emotional intelligence are more likely to become great leaders and coaches. Emotional intelligence is defined by the ability to understand and manage our emotions and those around us. Daniel Goleman, expert in psychology and brain sciences, shared research in his book Emotional Intelligence, showing that up to 90% of performance effectiveness is due to emotional savvy rather than technical knowledge.

In today’s workplace, emotional intelligence allows individuals to management relationships, navigate social networks, influence and inspire others. These abilities can influence productivity, efficiency and collaboration.

Some of the benefits of cultivating EI skills include:

  1. Self-Awareness. Leaders are more self-aware. They can recognize emotions as they arise in response to an action or situation. This self-awareness allows them to address problems and handle the situation better.
  2. Self-Management. Regulation of emotions is the next step in emotional intelligence. By regulating emotions, individuals are less likely to make rash or hasty decisions, or let their emotions take over.
  3. Social Awareness. Being sensitive to the emotions of others allows leaders to discern what is going on around them. They are able to sympathize, give helpful feedback, inspire and motivate. These traits allow the leader to gain respect and loyalty.
  4. Relationship Management. Effective communication and conflict resolution are benefits of emotional intelligence. Leaders must be able to clearly express their thoughts and know whether their co-workers are listening. Also, conflict resolution is an important part of communication. Leaders can mediate disagreements and help walk through effective solutions.

Emotional intelligence has become so important to the workplace that many companies look through the lens of EI in hiring, promoting, and developing their employees.