How Emotional Intelligence Shapes Great Leadership

Emotional intelligence is quite a buzzword these days. But one place it’s still lacking is in the workforce. After all, it’s the single competency that separates the great leaders from the mediocre.  

World renowned psychologist and author Daniel Goleman has done quite a bit of research to identify the three pillars of emotional intelligence. So what three qualities do emotionally intelligent leaders and managers have?

  1. They’re self aware: Managers who are aware of themselves have a deep understanding of their own personalities, thoughts, motivations, emotions, etc. Being self-aware also helps them understand others and be more aware of how they’re perceived by peers and employees.
  2. The ability to focus on others and exhibit empathy: Good leaders put themselves in other people’s shoes before making decisions. They pay attention to their body language and can meticulously notice a change of tone in someone’s voice.
  3. The ability to build and maintain social relationships: Great leaders not only have to perform well and deliver results, but they also need to be able to bring others along on their journey.  Meaningful interactions with employees are the main forces that help bosses establish a successful team. It has been said that people don’t leave jobs, they leave their bosses. Employees with supervisors with high emotional intelligence are 4x less likely to switch jobs than those with supervisors with low emotional intelligence.

If a manager lacks emotional intelligence, it’s not too late to make a change for the better. At Culture Conscious, we use a combination of mindfulness training and the Enneagram to help develop this imperative soft skill.  It’s a very grounded and strong component, even though we refer to it as soft. We are all people first and contributors second in both our personal and professional lives, which can be said for many great leaders as well. 

Who are the best bosses and leaders that you have worked for?  Think hard to identify the qualities that make them great, and more than likely you will note the "soft skills" that are connected to emotional intelligence.