Nigeria Blog

Emotional intelligence & leadership

Emotional Intelligence & Leadership Effectiveness

Can emotional intelligence really increase your leadership effectiveness; and how do you use it to produce real results within your organization and expand your leadership influence? 

First of all, what is emotional intelligence?

Based on Wikipedia, Emotional intelligence or (EI) describes the ability, capacity, skill, to identify, assess, manage and control the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups, and as a result of Daniel Goldman’s best seller “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”, has become more widely acknowledged by professionals, as a key factor in understanding the importance and relevance of emotions in relation to work outcomes.

Okay, that’s the long overview, but in a nutshell, emotional intelligence is about having a grasp on your emotions and understanding what you are feeling when it surfaces, and why you feel that way. It also is designed to help you understand the emotions of others so you can better relate to them and what they are going through.

When you take a deeper look at emotional intelligence, It seems that there are 5 distinctive components…we’ll refer to them as, 1 – Knowing, 2 – Managing, 3 – Motivating, 4 – Recognizing, 5 – Relating.

Let’s break them down…

The first one – Knowing – is about self awareness, it’s about recognizing various emotions when they surface and is seen as the linchpin for emotional intelligence

The second one – Managing – is about being able to handling your emotions so that they are productive and appropriate in given situations

The third one – Motivating – is about skilfully using your emotions to reach your goals; it’s about using emotions as a driving force for productivity

The fourth one – Recognizing – is based on the fact that since you are aware of your own emotions, it becomes easier to recognize them in others and this very act, should help you better connect with people on a deeper level.

The fifth one – Relating – seems to be about handling emotions in others and thereby helping the relationship.

Now that sounds great and everything and that is good information to know, but what does that really mean to you and how can you use it to increase your leadership influence?

Here’s what you need to know…

Emotional Intelligence is based on the premise that classical intelligence or academic acumen is not enough for building a successful life and career, but that you also need what is called “soft skills” or the ability to connect, relate, and deal with people from a personal and human perspective. And the thing is, many of these “soft skills” are even more relevant today because we are becoming more connected in our global economy.

In a nutshell, it simply means that as a leader, you need a broad perspective and more than just the conventional leadership approach of “telling people what to do”.

Nowadays, technical knowledge, functional skills, and abilities are not enough to be an effective leader. They must be connected with “soft skills” such as the ability to work well with others, lead productive teams and be a good team player, motivate yourself to get the job done, and be honest with yourself and others…just to name a few.

There has to be a mix of functional proficiency and capability, and personal skills to even compete within the global marketplace.

One of the mistakes many leaders make to only develop their management skills which is a one dimensional approach to leadership that will create to many deficiencies. 

The top leaders today are strategically taking the time to develop in 3 specific areas. They are developing their leadership abilities by studying classical and contemporary leadership styles; they are developing their business skills to be able to identify and deal with the varied challenges that arise daily; and they are developing their personal effectiveness skills, which is the category where emotional intelligence falls, so that they can become more efficient and productive in their personal lives, and can connect better with those they lead.

When it is all said and done, being able to manage your emotions, connect with those you lead on a deeper level, and exemplify character traits such as honesty, integrity, and fairness, will always boost your leadership influence and help you get the result you are after from your people.