Emotional Intelligence – The Secret to Leadership Success

Recent studies strongly suggest that emotional intelligence plays a greater role in determining the success of leaders than many other measures, including intelligence or traditional management skills. A person with an average IQ cannot practice skill-building techniques for a few hours a day and reach a genius level after a few years. In contrast, emotional intelligence (or “EI”) is a learned skillset.

Improving Emotional Intelligence

Each of us has the ability to improve our emotional intelligence and use it as a resource in making a long-term, positive impact on the organization, the people around us, and our professional satisfaction. While some people are wired to be more emotionally in tune with their peers, those who are not can still learn the skills required to excel in this area.

Leaders can increase their personal self-awareness and understanding of their emotional reactions to situations. With practice, they can also learn to sense what others are feeling and regulate and respond to situations in an emotionally appropriate way.

A person with high emotional intelligence knows how to respond in the right way, at the right time, with the right person.

So, how do you develop this powerful quality that separates high-performing leaders from the rest? It starts by increasing your self-awareness.

  1. First start paying attention to your moods, emotions, and motivations. Make note of situations or ideas that trigger different emotional responses.
  2. Then, seek feedback from people you work with and others you interact with. Ask them to help you gain insight on your personal strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Finally, apply what you’ve learned. Consider your actions before reacting and take responsibility for your behaviors.

Recognize the impact your actions may have on others and create a plan for improving your leadership effectiveness.

When you have a plan in place for continual improvement, you can then monitor your approach and style based on your personal goals.

Self-regulate by using your awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your own behavior. Take ownership of your own thoughts, feelings, and emotional reactions.

Today’s business environment of increased global competition and frequent change is one that will certainly test your personal effectiveness.

Image-Emotional-Intelligence-diagram

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Too often, organizational morale and the bottom line both suffer when leaders set the wrong example and display inappropriate emotional responses. The number-one reason people leave organizations is the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor.

The cost of turnover is high, but what’s worse is employees who stay and give the bare minimum each day because they have a poor relationship with their boss.

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Helping your leadership team develop emotional intelligence will allow them to change how they respond to the feelings they experience. These changes will have a profound, positive impact on their behavior—and ultimately, on their job performance.

Leaders who can successfully regulate their emotions are also better positioned to influence other employees and their performance on the job.

CMOE works with leaders to increase emotional intelligence in four main areas: self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and relationship management. Self-awareness and self-regulation have to do with understanding and successfully managing one’s own emotions; social awareness and relationship management focus on the ability to understand the emotions of the people around you and apply that understanding to your relationships with others.

Research on Emotional Intelligence in the workplace

Decades of research has shown that EI plays a significant role in determining the success of leaders. It ranks well above many other qualities such as traditional knowledge, IQ, and management skills.

Daniel Goleman, the author of Working with Emotional Intelligence, reports that when IQ scores are correlated with performance, it only accounts for about 25% of how well people perform in their careers.

That leaves 75% of career success correlated to Emotional Intelligence. Goleman reports that it’s even higher for leaders.

Everyone operates with both logical, rational thinking and with an emotional mind. We believe people who are aware of their emotions and able to manage interactions with others are better positioned for professional success.

Leaders with EI have the self-awareness to understand their emotional triggers and the ability to respond appropriately in challenging situations. Leaders with high EI can also sense emotions in others and seek to understand, if they don’t already know why they are experiencing them.

These successful leaders don’t ignore emotional or stress signals on a team. They are proactive in helping others in the organization manage emotional reactions and respond appropriately.

Leaders who can manage and regulate their emotions are better positioned to influence others and their performance.

We can all improve our level of EI and learn to use it as an internal resource for having a long-term, positive impact on the organization and the people around us.

As you learn to regulate your own emotional responses, you can improve your own job performance and experience greater professional career satisfaction.

Results of Emotional Intelligence

It isn’t always easy to minimize stress, negativity, or obstacles that interrupt performance. It requires the ability to suspend your judgement, control immediate impulses, and think before moving forward.

Leaders that exhibit EI, maintain a positive outlook, and provide their teams with a long-term vision for success, even during challenging times, help guide the organization to greater success.

While it’s not easy, it is a skill that can be mastered with coaching and practice.

Contact CMOE today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your performance goals.

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About the Author

CMOE

CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.