Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important For Leaders

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important For Leaders 1 Year Ago · 5 min read

Talyaa Vardar

Talyaa Vardar, MA, FCPC, MCC
Executive Coach, Psychologist & Art Therapist

People are tricky beings and leading them isn't an easy job, but some leaders make it harder on themselves by ignoring a few simple principles of emotional intelligence.

You don't need to be an expert, or focus an extraordinary amount of effort towards emotional intelligence (also referred to as EQ) for you and your team to experience the benefits. By following a few basic principles, you can improve your emotional intelligence, and as a result, improve many things, from employee experience to organizational performance.

Business knowledge, technical skills, being result oriented and experience are important for nearly any business position, but they're not the only ones. As in his Emotional Intelligence book Daniel Goleman states: "It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions."

So, what else these managers need to learn and improve to transform themselves into leaders with people skills?

     1. Self-awareness
Self-awareness is about being honest and having a transparent relationship with the self. It is described as "the ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others." It is the foundation of becoming an authentic leader. 

     2. Self-regulation

Self regulation is our ability to manage and regulate our emotions. It prevents us from having ups and downs and regulate our mood. It also helps us to identify self goals and have inner discipline to take action towards achieving them. It is about valuing our own accountability without needing others to hold us accountable.

     3. Internal drive

Internal drive can be described as "having an apetite for work that goes beyond money and status."

Leaders with strong emotional intelligence understand their internal motivations, and how those motivations correlate with their values as well as those of their team and the organization.

A leader with a drive knows how to energize people and usually their people are inspired by them. These internally fueled leaders are also resilient. They are marathon runners and they do not quit until they reach their target.

     4. Empathy and communication skills

Empathy is the ability for someone to understand and the feelings of another person and have compassion about them. It's a key ingredient of trust and building fulfilling relationships.

Leaders without empathy, carry a high risk of being perceived as abrasive and toxic as they are ignorant of the emotional impact of their actions and decisions.

An empathetic leader however has a capacity to assess how their vision and decisions will be perceived and they communicate well to prevent future damage. They know how to relate their employees and visa versa.