Emotional Intelligence and Leadership: Why It Is Important
Monica Segeren
emotional intelligence

What is emotional intelligence? The Institute of Health and Human Potential defines emotional intelligence as: “In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others.” With that being said, why is this important within leadership? Our bosses and leadership need to realize how they affect their team and wellness at work. Without a boss with emotional intelligence, it can create a toxic work environment and can deplete employee satisfaction in the workplace. 

Empathy is Important in the Workplace

Mistakes happen, unforeseen events can happen and things that cannot be controlled at times and if your emotional intelligence is low, your reaction will be irrational. You cannot properly manage without learning how to manage your emotions first. Say there is a customer yelling at your employee about their order being wrong and you are having a bad day at the office. If you use that behavior from having a bad day instead of using a professional standpoint, it will be reflected on the staff that works below you very poorly. If you show your staff how to handle and deescalate the situation in a calm and cool manner, they are most likely to follow in your footsteps. If you act crazy and irrational, your workers will think it is acceptable. Leadership and emotional intelligence are the foundation of setting your company up for success. Harvard Business School says: “Global leadership development firm DDI ranks empathy as the number one leadership skill, reporting that leaders who master empathy perform more than 40 percent higher in coaching, engaging others, and decision-making. In a separate study by the Center for Creative Leadership (pdf), researchers found that managers who show more empathy toward their direct reports are viewed as better performers by their boss.”

A Stable and Healthy Work Environment        

Without someone who has a grasp on emotional intelligence, the workplace can become unhinged. Since upper management makes decisions and provides growth for the company, it is important for them to have a rounded foundation about their employees and the company itself. Since emotional intelligence is broken up into four categories: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management…it is important to have an equilibrium. This is easier said than done and Harvard Business School also stated that “95 percent of people think they’re self-aware, but only 10 to 15 percent actually are.” 

Happy Boss, Happy Life

You might have heard the phrase: “happy wife, happy life” but in this situation we will say “happy boss, happy life.” If you work 40 hours a week with your boss by your side, if they have a lower emotional intelligence score, they could be less happy than someone who does. You can take a basic test of your emotional intelligence here to see basic results and are able to purchase a more in depth evaluation for $10.00. If you are a boss or a natural born leader, I highly recommend taking the test just to see where you stand and how you can improve. As workers, it is important to know that there is always room to grow. There is always more research, another book to read, more ways to develop healthy relationships and so on. There is always a way to become a better you!     

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