The importance of leadership in the workplace is hard to underestimate. Accomplishing any task without oversight and reflection can become almost impossible, especially if it involves cooperation. In such a situation, the presence of a leader can considerably speed up the production as well as any other processes, making the work more efficient and the working environment more friendly. Being influential, capable of empathy and gratitude, a good leader manages the work of others and leads the way for innovation and development. The person holding this position must possess several different qualities, both personal and professional.
A leader needs to be forward-thinking to propose new ideas, as well as the conviction and self-confidence to see them through. He or she also must be able to communicate and compromise, listen to the employees, and accept feedback, respect and encourage their co-workers. An effective leader should also be diligent and hardworking, to understand the struggles of their subordinates. Overall, the role of a leader requires a diverse set of skills, and the ability to manage emotions is one of them as well. Emotional intelligence is a concept that can be of great value in the workplace and needs to be practiced by everyone. This essay is aimed at describing this issue in the workplace. The nuances of emotional management and emotional intelligence will be discussed in tandem with its benefits for a good leader.
What Emotional Intelligence is
First of all, one has to understand the concept of emotional intelligence. The need for using people’s emotions to achieve better results at a lower cost has always been at the forefront of the business. The right term for this concept, however, only appeared recently, around the 20th century. Originally coined in the 1970s and popularized largely in 1995 by Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, emotional intelligence is a term used to describe people’s capability to recognize and control emotions. Emotional intelligence, more precisely, is the capacity of an individual to understand and manage their own emotions and the emotions of others. It is a skill that is developed through a person’s life or career and is crucial to forming bonds and working with people.
Having an understanding of one’s feelings can help reduce stress and anxiety, to control anger, and healthily channel the emotions. In interpersonal relationships, this skill can aid in gaining a better understanding of people’s temper and the meaning behind their words. Knowing the emotions that one is feeling not only allows for personal introspection but also gives the individual a perspective on how their words and actions affect other people. Through understanding the effect of emotions on others, one can influence the ingrained behavior and change for the better. Ultimately, emotional intelligence is a tool that can help re-shape an individual and others around them, for self-improvement.
How to Develop Emotional Intelligence
Like any process of self-improvement, learning emotional intelligence is a complex, multi-step process that requires attention, will, and patience. There are several skills and behaviors that one must learn to become emotionally intelligent. To become emotionally intelligent, the person must first of all gain self-awareness, an understanding of one’s actions through the lens of others (Bateman et al., 2019).
A self-aware individual recognizes their flaws and strives to correct them, knows the reasoning behind their motivations, and can exercise restraint when needed. Self-awareness gives a person the ability to effectively recognize, judge, and display their emotions by social and community norms, as well as personal beliefs. Another big aspect of emotional intelligence is self-management. The term refers to a person’s ability to direct their feelings positively, giving them the drive to accomplish more (Bateman et al., 2019). Self-management skills can drastically improve one’s professional performance, assisting in giving the emotions a productive outlet. The mastery over this skill also boosts the overall enjoyment of life and helps reduce the amount of accumulated stress.
The third step to assimilating emotional intelligence is developing social awareness (Bateman et al., 2019). Unlike self-awareness, this aspect primarily focuses on one’s ability to put others before them, cultivating acceptance of a variety of approaches and cultures. Social awareness is the skill to look at any situation through the lens of another person and to find their perspective just valid as one’s own (Bateman et al., 2019).
This concept is important to master because an understanding of emotions comes from the acceptance of each other, and mutual support. Lastly, a person seeking to improve their emotional intelligence must master relationship management. Relationship management, as suggested by the title, refers to one’s ability to manage their connections with other people and influence their emotional responses (Bateman et al., 2019).
Smartly navigating through one’s relationships with others can improve communication skills, strengthen bonds, and establish trust between individuals, not to mention contribute to a positive atmosphere between people. Certainly, all of the aforementioned abilities can greatly improve a person’s quality of life and personal character, leading to the development of emotional intelligence and understanding.
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
As with interpersonal relationships, the skill of emotional intelligence can bring a large benefit to a workplace or a working individual. Firstly, it can improve the work pace and communications between people (Cherry, 2020). When people interact, there is often an emotional barrier between them, preventing the conversations from being as impactful as they could have been, and distancing people from each other.
Emotional intelligence can breach the gap between individuals and improve the quality and speed of communications, therefore improving the workflow (Cherry, 2020). The use of emotional intelligence also helps an individual to make better, more informed decisions, to take responsibility for their actions (Cherry, 2020). People with this skill are also able to recognize their faults, reflect on the received criticism, and offer detailed feedback. Furthermore, the development of emotional intelligence can help reduce workplace conflict and tension, resulting in a healthier environment. An emotionally sensitive person can work as a mediator inside the organization, minimizing the impact of potential arguments and dissatisfactions.
Discerning the concerns and worries of one’s coworkers can help to resolve problems more quickly while keeping the relationships with others strong. Another general use of this concept is in responding to clients or customers. A successful company needs to be in touch with its target demographic and satisfy its client’s needs. Emotional intelligence can assist in determining such needs and formulating the best strategy or response.
How Emotional Intelligence Can Help a Leader
The general benefits of emotional intelligence were thoroughly elaborated, and now the particular advantages it gives in leadership are to be discussed. Firstly, emotional intelligence is an effective way of dealing with large amounts of stress. A position of a leader comes with complicated tasks and responsibilities, meaning a large amount of micro-management and multitasking. The process of leadership, as a result, comes with much worry and fatigue. The ability to recognize and navigate one’s feelings is the key to working without putting a strain on one’s self. Emotional intelligence can also help one to realize their limits and to relegate some of their duties to other, more qualified, or capable people (Emotional Intelligence in Leadership).
Emotional intelligence can also help to establish strong relationships with the team. Discerning the emotional responses and constructing a safe friendly environment can greatly boost the motivation of one’s subordinates and make them more likely to perform well (Ainomug, 2019). Setting effective communication by using emotion also improves the work quality, makes organizational tasks much more efficient, as the instructions are delivered more clearly. Another benefit of emotional intelligence for a leader is the increased ability to convince other employees (Ainomug, 2019).
Connecting with others based on feelings to promote one’s ideas and approaches can indeed be effective, especially if used in tandem with other management techniques. Furthermore, a leader who is in touch with their emotions can make decisions that better benefit the collective, and not their interests (Ainomug, 2019). The ability to disregard one’s desires or dissatisfaction is extremely important to work in the interests of a company.
In conclusion, the concept of emotional intelligence is widely used in the professional sphere to improve the work process. Emotional intelligence is a complex skill that requires a deep knowledge of self and others. The ability to take an introspective look into one’s feelings and recognize their validity and worth can improve an individual’s wellbeing, interpersonal relationships, and even their career. The work of recognizing and managing emotions is a process of self-improvement, that takes time and conscious effort to practice but brings tangible benefits to the people that master it.
In the workplace, the practice can improve the process of communication, in turn resulting inefficient management and better product, it can also improve the relationships between colleagues. This skill is useful in working with customers as well, aiding in learning their needs and preferences, and adjusting the organization’s work accordingly. The ability to quickly prevent potential conflicts or extinguish existing ones is also notable, helping to maintain a healthy work environment. In the job of a leader, emotional intelligence is an especially needed skill. It can help the person in charge to forward and promote their ideas to others, leading to innovation.
It can also establish strong bonds between workers, and make the subordinates see their superior as a friend. Lastly, it can aid in effective leader-worker communication, resulting in better, more accurate results. Thus, emotional management and emotional intelligence were discussed in detail, as well as their benefits for becoming a good leader were considered.
Ainomug, G. (2019). The Importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. 6Q. Web.
Bateman, T., Snell, S., & Konopaske, R. (2019). Management: Leading & collaborating in a competitive world (Thirteenth ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
Cherry, K. (2020). Utilizing emotional intelligence in the workplace. Verywell Mind. Web.
Emotional intelligence in leadership: Learning how to be more aware. Mind Tools. Web.