Managers must lead organizations to achieve business results. They must have the ability to motivate people to follow a vision and relentlessly work towards a common goal.
Therefore, managers should have the hard skills and the ability to understand the emotional needs of team members and other stakeholders, including customers and partners. Due to this human angle of managing a business, emotional intelligence for managers is a crucial capability that every manager must improve continuously and consciously.
What is emotional intelligence in leadership?
Emotional intelligence in leadership is the ability to be self-aware about our emotions while we lead a team working towards a common goal. It includes the ability to gauge the feelings of others in a situation.
It also refers to the ability to channelize the emotional energy of others towards success. Importantly, it also includes the capability to understand the impact of one’s actions on the emotions of other stakeholders in each business situation.
Ways in which emotional intelligence helps you
Here are seven ways emotional intelligence makes you a better manager:
1. Emotional intelligence makes you more self-aware
Self-awareness and managing oneself is the first step of handling a situation or a team.
If you are conscious of your emotional state, especially in a stressful situation, you can make better decisions without being swayed by your emotional state. This aspect applies for both when you are on an emotional high or a low; in both states, your emotions can bias you towards making irrational decisions.
2. You make better business decisions
With higher emotional intelligence, your make decisions based on facts and figures, resulting in better outcomes.
We are often attached to some beliefs or some pet projects as managers. Consequently, we find it hard to let go of some of them, especially when they are not working as expected. Having control over our actions by taking out emotional biases from the decision-making process helps us wisely make objective decisions.
3. You can motivate your team members
Emotions are contagious in a team. If the manager radiates positive emotions, the team feels more motivated and confident. The resulting positive energy can drive the team towards success.
4. You empathize with team members who need support.
An empathetic manager can understand the real challenges for a team member and provide the necessary support. Consequently, they can turn around the morale of the employees who are struggling.
5. The team members feel safer with a manager with higher emotional intelligence
They understand that the manager will treat them with fairness even when the chips are down. This belief builds loyalty to the team, and each member engages in the fearless pursuit of success.
6. A manager with higher emotional intelligence will develop future managers
A test of true leadership is how a manager can build more leaders from his team. The team members absorb the soft skills that the manager demonstrates. Ultimately, they grow into managers with higher emotional intelligence.
7. Emotional intelligence can benefit your career
At an individual level, studies show that people with higher emotional intelligence can grow faster in organizations. They earn more money and also the respect of peers, team members, and customers.
How to improve emotional intelligence in leadership?
The first step is to resolve to try to improve one’s emotional intelligence consciously. Next, managers need to reflect on past situations where they could have reacted/acted better if they had better emotional intelligence.
Additionally, managers should avoid haste every time managers need to communicate with others or make decisions. Especially in stressful situations when they feel the need to act very fast. A quick mental check to collect one’s thoughts and control one’s emotions before acting or communicating can do wonders.
Additionally, managers need to pay attention to the team members’ emotions. They should understand what the person communicates through their body language during meetings. Importantly, managers need to put themselves in their shoes while dealing with team members, especially in unpleasant situations.
Managers who consciously try to develop their emotional intelligence will soon witness the benefits of emotional intelligence in leadership. They can expect positive outcomes like improved productivity of the team, lower attrition, product innovation, and happier customers.
Further, the business will benefit when teams are working towards a common goal with a fearless attitude. The reason is the team focuses all their energy on business outcomes. Such a scenario can be possible only when a manager leads the business with high emotional intelligence.