Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence has such critical components as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. The four emotional intelligence skills can be combined into two pairs: self-awareness and self-management form intrapersonal competence and social awareness and relationship management – interpersonal or social competence. Intrapersonal competence focuses mainly on personality, while social competence is the ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives to improve the quality of their relationship. Taken together, these four components create the foundation for emotional intelligence that leaders can use to manage teams and organizations more effectively.

Self-awareness can be seen as the foundation of all other components of emotional intelligence. It includes a person’s ability to evaluate their own emotions and understand how they affect work and personal life. Self-awareness also consists of an adequate assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses and a sense of self-confidence. Leaders with a high level of self-awareness can trust their feelings, which helps in difficult times to make embarrassing decisions. Self-management is a second key component of emotional intelligence, which can be defined as the ability to control destructive or harmful emotions. Leaders learn to maintain emotional balance so that worry, anxiety, fear, or anger do not interfere with their clarity of thought. This category includes such qualities as the desire to inspire the trust of others, conscientiousness, the ability to adapt, initiative, and optimism, manifested despite all difficulties and failures.

Social awareness is the ability to understand the feelings of other people. Socially aware leaders show empathy and can view a situation from multiple perspectives and interact with different people. Moreover, social consciousness implies a service orientation, the ability to identify and satisfy the needs of employees, consumers, or customers. In turn, relationship management is the ability to connect and interact with others. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are sensitive and kind to those around them. They develop staff, inspire employees with their vision for the future, establish adequate communication, are sensitive to the feelings of others, and have a positive impact on them. Emotional understanding by leaders of their subordinates contributes to the implementation of positive changes, the establishment of cooperation and work in teams, the elimination of conflicts.

Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in the success of transformational and charismatic leaders. Charismatic leaders tend to use persuasion through emotion and appeal to the feelings of their subordinates. Transformational leaders create an image of the future and motivate employees to make dreams come true, which requires using components of emotional intelligence. In a wide variety of situations, charismatic and transformational leaders show self-confidence, determination, and perseverance. A high level of self-awareness, combined with the ability to manage their emotions, allows a leader to demonstrate self-confidence and gain the trust and respect of subordinates.

Furthermore, the ability to manage the emotions of others or to contain these emotions helps the leader to objectively assess the needs of subordinates, which may be hidden behind the direct expression of feelings. Emotional intelligence allows a leader to treat subordinates as a whole person with their emotions, opinions, ideas, needs, abilities, and dreams. It is emotional intelligence that helps the leader develop staff and maintain high self-esteem for each employee. An emotionally intelligent leader creates an atmosphere of trust and respect and fills subordinates’ work with meaning so that they strive not only to satisfy personal needs but also to bring maximum benefit to the organization.

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