Understanding Emotional Intelligence


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When you understand and can control your own emotional responses, you become less susceptible to mood swings or counterproductive reactions to frustrating situations. Allowing your anger or panic to get the better of you forces your mind to race, and prevents you from thinking rationally, or focusing on objectives one by one; this wastes time and instantly compromises your productivity. Instead, it’s better to recognize where those “hot” emotions are coming from, bring them under control and proceed as calmly as possible.

According to psychologytoday.com, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people.

Most leaders have been taught to ignore their emotions as well as the emotions of their coworkers. When this is done, you find that no matter how structured the organization in question is, it seldom falls apart, and at times in an irreparable fashion, this is because, even though we must realistically accept that all organizations are created to make profit, the emotional status of the people working at generating this profit is key to achieving it. You can only achieve success when you learn how to deal with people.

According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it, the more you, as a leader manage each of these areas, the higher your emotional intelligence. According to mindtools.com, let’s look at each element in more detail and examine how you can grow as a leader:

  • Self-awareness.
  • Self-regulation.
  • Social skills.


  • Self-awareness; This item is so key that when you are in touch with your emotions, you always know how you feel, and you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you. Being self-aware when you’re in a leadership position also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses, and it means behaving with humility.
  • Self-regulation: Leaders who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control. This element of emotional intelligence, according to Goleman, also covers a leader’s flexibility and commitment to personal accountability.
  • Motivation: Emotionally intelligent people are self-motivated. They’re not motivated simply by money or a title. They are usually resilient and optimistic when they encounter disappointment and driven by an inner ambition.
  • Empathy: For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy can easily put themselves in someone else’s situation. They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, then show them you care by being empathetic.
  • Social skills: Leaders who do well in the social skills element of emotional intelligence are great communicators. They’re just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and they’re expert at getting their team to support them and be excited about a new mission or project. Leaders who have good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically. They’re rarely satisfied with leaving things as they are, but they don’t sit back and make everyone else do the work: They set an example with their own behavior

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