Emotional intelligence is the ability of an individual to properly understand how the feelings of people work and how best to deal with each particular emotion. To be given the role of a leader comes with a lot of responsibilities as you will be in charge of individuals. This means that the people that you will be leading are people with different personalities, abilities, weaknesses and emotions. All these things therefore call for an individual who is very knowledgeable and has all the qualities and characteristics of a leader in order to be able to make any meaningful impact leading such a group of people. The first part that a leader should be concerned with personally before entering into the world of leadership is to know about how he or she emotionally reacts to given situations. This also applies to trying to lead a group of people towards a desirable destination as you need to be able to deal with all their differences and use them to create a unified force that will be used to push the entire group or organisation forward in order to reach the goals that have been set.
A leader is the one who brings all the other people working within a group together and helps in channelling all their energies towards a single goal. This is why as a leader you should always know your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.
The following points which will be discussed will help you to understand why it is very important for a leader to have a higher level of emotional intelligence.
It shows your level of maturity: This is to say that your ability to intelligently deal with the different emotions of people is a way of showing how matured you are as a person with a leadership role. This kind of maturity does not deal with how old an individual is but rather his or her ability to maturely respond to various emotional situations in a very unique way without comprising what the group or organisation stands for. This means that there are those who have reached the adult stage in life but do not necessarily display their maturity due to the fact that they react to certain emotions just like kids or children will do. However, the one who is able to appropriately respond to his or her emotions and that of those who are following him is the person who is recognised as being emotionally intelligent. Maturity as they say does not come with age and so there is no significant or sure way of telling when a person is matured. This goes to show that maturity is a mental state of being and the mere fact that emotions also deal with the inner feelings shows that he or she who is ready to understand those emotions will be seen as having matured well. Buddha learnt to control his emotions but subjecting himself to various conditions which were all geared towards helping him to better understand how his feelings work and how to properly handle all those feelings.
It shows how you see those who work with you: There are various emotions that come into play when a group of people are gathered and there is no guarantee that those emotions will be on a single area since some will be feeling angry whilst others will be happy. Someone might be sad due to a personal reason whilst another person might also be very edgy. All these emotions or scenarios require different approaches to be able to properly handle them and it is only when you are able to handle such emotions in their individual capacities that you can be seen as being emotionally intelligent. Individually handling the emotions of those working with you helps to let them know that you value them for who they are and that the personal welfare is of significance to you. People are always ready to open up when they are shown individual attention so be emotionally wise to what they are going through and help them use such emotions effectively.
It creates a unified force: Emotional intelligence on the part of any leader has the ability to help in the creation of a unified inspirational force which can then be directed at achieving the targets of the organisation. This is all down to a leader realising how to handle each and every single emotion of his workers adequately before such a force can be created.
Emotions are there to be channelled towards the undertaking of various activities and your intelligence in handling it will show how successful your leadership will be.
About the author: Jeff Evans, Ph.D. I am CEO of Envision Global Leadership, Inc., a leadership development and organization development consulting firm focused on change navigation. I have been working with large-scale organization change as an internal and external consultant.