Why be an emotionally intelligent leader?

Using emotional management to create 'followship'

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Intelligence takes many forms, some of us are mathematically intelligent, musically intelligent or maybe visually intelligent to name but a few. This is what makes us great mathematicians, composers or artists. In the world of leadership, there are two simple and easy ways to think of intelligence:

  1. Intellectual intelligence ~ IQ
  2. Emotional intelligence ~ EQ.

So what is emotional intelligence (EQ)…?

EQ is a person’s ability to understand their own emotions and those of others, and to act appropriately using these emotions. Research shows that EQ is a critical component of effective leadership and contributes significantly to employee engagement and organisational profitability and has also shown that those leaders that have increased emotional intelligence can be up to 40% more successful than those with purely intellectual intelligence.

One of the great aspects of Emotional Intelligence is that unlike personality types that are fairly steady over time, we are able to develop our emotional intelligence, so having an insight into your own EQ can be seen as a window into yourself and an excellent opportunity to use a structured approach to your own development.

Everyone has heard a story about, or had direct experience of someone who is very clever, has great intellect and a high level of technical competence, who was promoted to a leadership role, in charge of a team (sometimes of some significant size) only to struggle and even fail at the role. Others will have heard a story about, or experienced someone who has a good level of technical competence, who was promoted to a similar leadership role, and who exceeded all expectations, and achieved great things.

Gallup have done much research into what creates followship, and let’s be clear anyone who says they are a great leader doesn’t have the right to do so. The only people who can say someone is a great leader are those who choose to follow them; after all Managers and appointed and Leaders are elected. Gallup has shown that for someone to be selected as a leader, they must exhibit 4 key traits:

  1. They much instill trust
  2. They must instill hope
  3. They much act with compassion
  4. They much create stability.

Yes, there is certainly a level of skill involved in doing these 4 things, but this is more about how we do what we do rather than what we do. The how becomes all important, and the how requires great leaders to be emotionally intelligent. There are 5 essential components of Emotional Intelligence any Leader needs to be aware of:

  1. Intrapersonal – how we understand and use our own emotions
  2. Interpersonal – how we relate and function with others
  3. Adaptability – how we deal with change
  4. Stress Management – how we manage ourselves in times of stress
  5. General Mood – how we manage our demeanor and overall attitude.

For anyone to be a great Leader having a self-evaluation and a 360 evaluation of their EQ is absolutely fundamental to their success. If you have any questions about emotional intelligence, how to assess emotional intelligence or how to help leaders develop emotional intelligence, please contact us at either of our UK offices.

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Our Managing Partner, Jason Rudgley is a performance improvement specialist. With over 20 years’ experience in OD and leadership development roles both in the UK and overseas, he works at a strategic level to help companies improve their performance. Equally adept at developing strategic plans and delivering complex development programmes to teams, Jason is known for his enthusiasm, ability to inspire, and unrelenting focus on making a difference. He has an MBA and is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.