Consider the best leader you encountered in the past or present. Was that person easy to talk to? Were they accepting of ideas regardless of your position within your company? Perhaps they were even sympathetic when you encountered hardships in work or in life? These examples are of someone who displays emotional intelligence. What is Emotional Intelligence? Salovey and Mayer describe emotional intelligence as a group of mental abilities that help people to recognize their own feelings and those of others (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). To be specific, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and of those around you (Landry, 2019).
There was a time when demonstrating emotion and empathy was a sign of weakness, not a sign of leadership. Research into leadership has shown that emotional intelligence is a factor that contributes to effective leadership. Emotional Intelligence is now known as a relevant skill as vital to leadership as technical skills and cognitive intelligence. Lack of emotional intelligence can result in widespread issues within an organization, such as low employee morale and high turnover rate, thus increasing employee-related costs (Landry, 2019).Emotional Intelligence helps leaders by ensuring effective communication that leads to accomplishment of needs and goals, directing focus to essential matters, and understanding antecedents and consequences of moods and emotions and how they evolve and change over time (PSU WC, 2016, L. 2).
A leader hoping to gain emotional intelligence to aid them in their work should start with truthfully recognizing their emotions. If you can learn to understand your emotions, you can learn to manage them. By gaining awareness of yourself, you can gain understanding of those around you as well (Harvard, 2019). It also helps to be open to feedback from people around you, gauging your social interactions based on how your peers review you. By working to improve one’s self in the art of social interaction, they can develop the necessary skills to lead their organization to greatness.
Harvard Professional Development. (2019, August 26). How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved May 23, 2020, from Harvard Division of Continuing Education: https://blog.dce.harvard.edu/professional-development/how-improve-your-emotional-intelligence
Landry, L. (2019, April 03). WHY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IS IMPORTANT IN LEADERSHIP. Retrieved May 23, 2020, from Harvard Business School: https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/emotional-intelligence-in-leadership
Pennsylvania State University World Campus. (2016). PSYCH 485 Lesson 2: Trait Approach-Emotional and Social Intelligence. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from Penn State Canvas: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2015147/modules/items/29089122
Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. (1990, March 1). Emotional intelligence: Imagination, Cognition, and Personality. 185-211. doi:https://dx.doi.org/10.2190/DUGG-P24E-52WK-6CDG