The Significance of Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is crucial to being a human in so many ways, whether it is raising children in your home and hanging out with friends and family, or dealing with employees and interviewing new applicants for an open position. Leadership is no exception and, in fact, it is just as important to have a high sense of emotional intelligence in a leadership role, as it is in every other facet of life. Why Emotional Intelligence is Relevant To more accurately understand why Emotional Intelligence is so important, it is important to understand the definition and what it fully entails.
Dr. Sadri Golnaz defines emotional intelligence as “the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth” (Golnaz, 2012). Being able to understand these emotions, when to suppress, when to access them, when to ignore, and when to let emotions flow freely, is a valuable trait, especially as a leader.
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Understanding people, what motivates them and what demotivates them, what breaks them and what builds them up, can be all the difference between employees enjoying their workplace and despising their workplace. In other studies, it has been found that happier employees work harder and are more likely to stay with the company. Lack of Emotional Intelligence It is possible to make it through life and be successful without having any real emotional intelligence. However, being in a leadership position and lacking emotional intelligence can be detrimental to the workplace.
For instance, that boss that no one likes: he’s mean, rude, brings employees down, never builds them up, makes those under him do all the work, and makes an insignificant error something that could cause him to let someone go. This boss lacks emotional intelligence. Employees don’t want to work under him, employees are frustrated with their job, employees quit frequently, the work is at the bare minimum, all of which could be helped, if not avoided completely, if the boss listened to his employees, worked to help his employees, showed passion and initiative, and was a role-model leader that employees could strive to be like.
Goleman’s Model Daniel Goleman created an emotional intelligence model that includes five skill areas, three of which fall under personal competence, while the other two fall under social competence: self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation make up the three personal competencies, while empathy and social skills make up the two social competencies (Golnaz, 2012). These five skills are a great representation of leadership qualities that people strive for. If a leader employs these skills in the workplace, not only will he, or she, be efficient, but will also encourage employees to follow in the same steps.
Being an example to those around should be the core of any leader, even if the leader is lacking any of the qualities above, being a person others can look up to and strive to be like can turn a mediocre leader into a great leader. For example, Winston Churchill is known to be one of the greatest leaders of all-time, however his personal skills and public speaking skills were lacking. What Winston Churchill did have was courage and passion in the midst of utter turmoil.
He gave the United Kingdoms a leader that was flawed, but understood the people and strived to build them up and gave them someone to believe in when the United Kingdom’s struggle was at its peak in World War II. Conclusion There are numerous reasons as to why emotional intelligence is so important for a leader to take interest in and master, but when everything is analyzed, the most critical aspect is being a leader that people want to follow. If that is the sole motivator of a leader, everything else will eventually follow suit.