Leading With Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

Individuals with high emotional intelligence have increased ability to understand and relate to people. They have skills in communicating and decoding emotions and they deal with others wisely and effectively. Such people communicate their ideas in more robust ways, are better able to read the politics of a situation, are less likely to lose control of their emotions, are less likely to be inappropriately angry or critical, and in consequence are more likely to emerge as leaders.

Sometime last year, there was this newly recruited intern at the digital marketing firm I worked at. Her name was Jane. Jane was very friendly and quite good at getting her job done effectively and efficiently. One day, she resumed at the office with a huge frown on her face. She carried that frown all day long without hesitating to transfer aggression on her colleagues, even her superiors. Everyone thought, ’oh well, it’s one of those bad days. We all have them’. Therefore, we let it slide.

Emotional intelligence is not for the team leaders only. Every individual, irrespective of their position in the workplace need to have sound emotional intelligence. One major way an organization can improve their level of emotional intelligence among the employees is by encouraging group exercises and anything that involves working in teams.

However, overtime we began to notice that frowning and transferring aggression on people had become a trend with Jane. Slowly, we all moved from identifying her as that efficient new intern to that bitter and overly rude intern. To cut the long story short, Jane was acting up at work because she was allowing issues with her personal life affect her productivity and attitude at work. This is what we term a low emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is described as the ability to manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks. People with high emotional intelligence are flexible, adjust to change easily and work better in teams. They understand how to manage their emotions effectively and emotions of the people around them. The opposite is the case for people with low emotional intelligence.

Leaders with a high emotional intelligence tend to share among themselves certain qualities, they include:

  1. Self-Awareness: The understanding of oneself in terms of strength and weaknesses.
  2. Self-Regulation: The ability to control ones’ emotions, thereby, not taking things personal or allowing bad situations around them affect their focus.
  3. Self-Motivation: The ability to keep pushing towards the goal at hand irrespective of distractions that may arise.
  4. Empathy: The ability to understand, build and develop an emotional connection with people around them.
  5. People skills: The ability to work with different kinds of people in a team.

It is very essential that every person in the work place have a high emotional intelligence. This is because emotional intelligence affects the productivity of people in the workplace. If one person in a team or an organization possess a low emotional intelligence, he or she would end up spreading the negativity across the team even without realizing it.

A high emotional intelligence can help a person manage stress in the workplace. There is always that point in an organization where there is so much pressure to meet a certain deadline. An individual with a high emotional intelligence is able to manage the situation effectively. Unlike a person with a low emotional intelligence who would begin nagging, shifting blames and panicking.

Another benefit of high emotional intelligence is effective collaboration. Teams are made up of different people with different beliefs, way of life and upbringing. A low emotionally intelligent leader would end up bringing about stress, conflict and poor team work if asked to lead a team. So therefore, it is paramount that team leaders have a very high emotional intelligence.

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