The importance of EQ in leadership

The Oxford dictionary defines emotional intelligence as a persons capacity to be aware of, control, and express his/her emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. From this definition it becomes clear that it is essential for leaders to posses emotional intelligence if they wish to achieve effective interaction with their employees.

There are five key elements to emotional intelligence which leaders can develop to ensure that they maximise their leadership skills, namely:

1. Self-awareness.

2. Self-regulation.

3. Motivation.

4. Empathy.

5. Social skills.

1. Self-awareness:

Being a leader with self-awareness means that you fully understand how you feel, and you grasp the effect that your feelings and your actions can have on your colleagues. Self-awareness enables you to clearly identify your strengths and weaknesses. Leaders with high self-awareness will act with humility regardless of their authority or hierarchical position.

2. Self- regulation:

Leaders with high levels of self-regulation will be able to manage themselves effectively and will rarely verbally attack others, compromise their values and/or make rushed or emotional decisions. In essence self-regulation is all about staying in control. Self-regulation prevents you from abusing your privilege of leadership to attack and/or stereotype others and calls for you to keep control of your emotions and how they affect others as well as stay committed to personal accountability.

3. Motivation :

Self-motivated leaders are driven and consistently work toward their goals. They motivate their employees and they hold themselves to extremely high standards regarding the quality of their work. They develop a healthy emotional connection to the results they seek from their efforts, harnessing them to drive them forward without being obsessive.

4. Empathy:

Empathy allows you to put yourself in other people’s shoes and consider their unique perspectives. It goes without saying that this is very important when it comes to successfully leading a team or organisation. Leaders with empathy will actively support the career and personal growth of their team members, will be able to offer constructive criticism in such a manner that it does not crush the recipients' hopes, and solicit regular feedback from their employees. Leaders with this quality usually motivate employees to perform above expectations.

5. Social skills:

When leaders possess good social skills they are great at communicating tactfully, which is a useful skill to have when it comes to getting their team motivated about a new project or objective. Having Social skills allows a leader to receive both good and bad news with the same clarity of mind and this leads to subordinates feeling comfortable enough to approach and update the leader on any matter. Leaders who possess good social skills are also great at planning, effecting and overseeing major changes in the workplace as well as resolving potential conflicts as promptly as possible.

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