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5 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence is Important for Leaders

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If I were to tell you that there is a factor for success that increases your ability to influence others and be more efficient, collaborate better with your team, and be more effective as a leader, would you be interested?

You’ve heard of IQ, which measures intellectual ability. But have you heard of EQ – emotional intelligence? It’s been called the missing link that sets high performers apart from the pack.

Books on the brain

© Flickr user brewbooks

EQ is defined as having the ability to identify and manage your emotions on the one hand, and then to pick up on the emotions of those with whom you are interacting on the other hand. It really is the ability to express the appropriate emotions at the appropriate time so that you can influence others and work more effectively, put people at ease, confront problem employees, and build relationships.

Studies show that having a high level of EQ is a better indicator of being successful as a leader than having a high IQ. That’s why it’s such an important leadership skill.

Here are five reasons why you, as a leader, should cultivate your emotional intelligence:

1) Self-Awareness – EQ gives you the ability to know what you’re feeling and what’s important to you. This helps you perceive your emotions as they arise in response to a situation. That matters because if you know where you are you’ll be better at meeting other people where they are.

2) Emotional Management – With a high EQ, you can have the ability to manage your own emotional state; regulate yourself, and stay in control so you don’t let your anger take over your behavior. As with everything in life, controlling what you can control is often the best course of action.

3) Effective Communication – Now that you are aware of your emotions and can manage them, you can clearly convey directions and know what to say to inspire and motivate others. Leadership requires people to lead, and emotionally aware leaders have great communication skills.

4) Social Awareness – Leaders with high EQ are well-tuned to the emotions of others and are able to pick up on what is going on around them. It’s critical for leaders to be able to inspire and motivate a team—but teams have social dynamics that you must process to lead effectively.

5) Conflict Resolution – This may be the last reason on the list, but it’s one of the most important. There are always conflicts in the workplace. Leaders with high EQ are able to handle conflicts better, provide resolution and develop more effective workplace.

It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both. — David Caruso

Emotions help you make decisions. They tell you what is important to you so you can make the right choices because you notice what other people are feeling. That’s not to say you should always go with your gut, but that your gut does contain important data to consider!

Likewise, emotional intelligence is emphatically not emotional manipulation. Using a guilt trip or dredging up ancient history isn’t smart; it’s sabotage. Rather, EQ is about knowing your own emotions so that you can react to them the way you want to react to them. And with that data, you can improve your relationships with others.

Who doesn’t want to be able to manage their own emotional state and know how to deal best with others? Do you want to know how to rate your emotional intelligence? Reach out to us here at AccelaWork to learn more about ways to positively leverage emotions at work—and beyond!

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Cindy Allen-Stuckey

Cindy Allen-Stuckey

Cindy Allen-Stuckey, CEO and founder of Making Performance Matter, collaborates with organizations to convert their strategy into action. She takes global organizations to the next level by developing customized "people strategies" that bring their business strategy to life and enabling them to optimally execute it.