The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Linda LaitalaLeadershipLeave a Comment

Do you sometimes react quickly to a situation and later wish you had “thought before you acted”?  Do you find that your emotions control decisions rather than objectively looking at an issue before acting?  As a leader, are you aware how your emotions and the emotions of your team can affect actions and reactions?    Your answers to these questions may determine your level of Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional intelligence makes a strong leader and builds stronger teams.

Emotional intelligence is defined as how an individual perceives, reasons with, understands, and manages emotions. Not only does this consist of your own emotions, but the emotions of those you interact with.  Emotionally intelligent individuals have the capacity to make studied decisions and are better problem-solvers. They are more capable of navigating conflict and stress at work through effective communication and empathy. They don’t take constructive criticism personally. On the other end of the spectrum are individuals that struggle with emotional intelligence. Instead of communicating effectively, they may communicate by avoiding controversy, criticizing others, and not being open to others’ ideas.  This makes for poor team players. Constructive criticism makes them play the victim or turn defensive. You can see how this could be a problem in the workplace.

Emotional Intelligence seems to come naturally to some, be it because of their personality or upbringing.  But emotional intelligence can be learned.  Leaders in the field emphasize the importance of these five attributes:

  • Self-awareness: learning to recognize your emotions.  What triggers your emotions?  What “pushes your buttons”?  Remember, emotions can be regulated with thoughtfulness.
  • Self-regulation: When you realize how much influence emotions have on people, you can learn to manage them.  What causes you stress?  Looking carefully at a situation will give you the opportunity to maintain your composure and look at an issue from many points of view.
  • Social skills: Active listening means considering individuals’ words as well as their non-verbal cues. Understanding how to effectively interact with your team will ensure that everyone is heard.  it will also help you work through team conflict.
  • Empathy: Embodying an empathetic attitude means considering other individuals’ feelings and points of view.  What would you do in their situation? How is your behavior impacting how they act? Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will help you understand their motivations.
  • Motivation: What are you passionate about?  What gets you out of bed in the morning?  How motivated are you?  Can you communicate that enthusiasm to others?

We have to “work smart”, in order to do that, we have to be emotionally smart.

Want to connect with executives who will support you on your journey to improving your management techniques?  Call Linda at 612-889-5848 about Raven Roundtables.

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