It is common to have people in the society who have good listening skills regardless of what happens in a given surrounding. They have effective means of communicating in a manner that does not offend listeners. Furthermore, this special trait shows how caring and/or selfless an individual is even in situations where immediate solution may not come by easily. They do not get angry in stressful environments, but appear calm and composed. This kind of people possesses what is referred to as emotional intelligence, (EI). People with EI have good decision-making skills and have instincts that in most cases, predict the truth. This essay explores the significance of EI in leadership and why leaders have to develop their EI.
The Significance of a Leader to Foster EI
A good leader must be able to develop EI because individuals with high EI can identify their emotional situations and respond to emotional needs of others. People in any social environment will have diverse opinions, different personalities, and different abilities to come out of an emotional situation. For any leader to make meaningful decision, navigating through the different opinions of people ought to be studied with tact and ingenuity. This will be made much easier if a leader nurtures EI in order to respond to the needs of people. Through fostering EI a leader is either able to identify emotional needs of others or know how emotions of a leader affect other people around them (James et al., 2012).
In a corporate environment, sulky workers will translate their moodiness to the customers who are critical to the performance of an organization. A leader with well developed EI will be able to identify the grievances of workers and respond to their needs at the most appropriate time. On the leader’s part, it is easy to calm emotions even if employees’ matters cannot be resolved immediately. By knowing the best way to calm them down through dialogue and understanding, a leader will be able to talk and be understood. This way, the customers will be served and the reputation of the organization will steadfast. Hence, a leader has to develop EI to be understood and to solve issues that may lead to rebellion.
Essential Elements of EI
Good EI programs should nurture leader’s social skills because a person with good social skills attracts attention of many people in a given social environment. Social skill is critical as it helps one to become a team player. Own success is not only the norm for an EI leader but also makes others identify their skills too. Social skills also make an EI leader to potentially build and maintain relations with others, resolve disputes, and communicate excellently.
A self-aware person is able to appreciate his/her own emotions and as such, able to control feelings. It would make one develop self-trust and believe in their instincts. According to Cooper and Sawaf (1998) “When intuition is actively developed, it expands and heightens your emotional intelligence” (p. 6). In this regard, it is potentially difficult for emotions to overcome a leader. They would know their strengths and develop them further or identify their weaknesses and improve on them.
Empathy is considered one of the most significant elements of EI parameters. It refers to a leader’s ability to point out and comprehend the myriad views and opinions held by others within a given social environment. This virtue is important as it allows a leader to recognize emotional needs of others even in hidden emotion situation. An empathetic leader is able to manage relationships and pay attention to grievances of others. They would not be fast to make unwarranted judgments; therefore, they live honestly.
With high EI, a leader is motivated and would be willing to suspend immediate pleasures for long term achievements. A motivated leader is prolific and effective to confront any technical challenges that lie ahead.
In real life situation, most corporations have team building sessions where leaders and employees come together to socialize and build relationships. Goleman, et al., (2002) holds that, “Everybody in the group contributes to the overall level of emotional intelligence, but the leader holds special sway in this regard,” (p. 4). In addition, most organizations favor horizontal management system where junior employees can communicate directly with top leaders without protocols. This is an important method of enhancing communication, hence, to build an effective leader.