Is Emotional Intelligence Important for Effective Leadership?

Emotional intelligence is defined as “skill in perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions, and feelings” (dictionary.com). Considering that business leaders often have to lead or manage teams with large numbers of people, it is quite possible that emotional intelligence is very important for effective leadership. Here is why.

1. Communication

People who are emotionally intelligent can often communicate better than people who are not. This is because they have a greater understanding of how the words that they speak, and the tone with which they speak them will have an impact on other people.

This can help emotionally intelligent people to speak and communicate with others in an optimized way. This is crucial for leaders because business leaders often have to give orders to and communicate with many people.

2. Conflict Resolution

Leaders are often put in situations where they are forced to resolve conflicts between two or more people. These situations can often be very highly charged emotionally. Further, the stakes may also be very high. For example, there could be large sums of money on the line, or even people’s jobs.

For this reason, emotional intelligence at work, on the part of leaders can be crucial. Understanding how each party is feeling during situations like this is necessary for being able to resolve the conflict in the right way. If a leader is unable to empathize with one of the parties in the conflict, then he or she may take the wrong course of action.

The more emotionally intelligent a leader is, the more successfully he or she will be able to resolve the conflict in most circumstances.

3. Reading People

Being able to read people is another skill that is important for business leaders, and is also another one that emotional intelligence helps with. Being able to read people and their emotions is useful in negotiations, job interviews, networking, board meetings, and other business events.

The better that a business leader can read a person’s emotions, the more information he or she will be able to have available to make key decisions with. For example, even just simply being able to tell whether or not a person seems to be suspicious can make the difference between making a bad deal, or avoiding it.

Emotional intelligence at work is not the only skill that is needed for effective leadership. Leaders must also have great business intelligence and other skills. However, emotional intelligence can definitely be a strong asset to leaders who want to do well at their companies. So, if you are striving to be a great business leader, it might be a good idea to try to improve your emotional intelligence!

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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