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The past two decades have brought about significant shifts in the role and expectations of leaders. It is no longer enough to be an authoritative figure who makes all the decisions and enforces discipline across a team. In today’s world the most efficient and successful companies are driven by empathetic leaders who use emotional intelligence to motivate their team.
Emotional intelligence was introduced in the 1990s by psychologist, Daniel Goleman who defined it as, ‘The ability to recognise, understand and manage your emotions, as well as to recognise and influence the emotions of those around you.’
Emotional intelligence is now widely recognised for its ability to create work cultures where open communication, mutual respect and empathy are valued, resulting in better employee satisfaction, engagement and overall productivity.
Goleman used his research to break emotional intelligence into five key abilities:
- Self-awareness – leaders who are self-aware possess a deep understanding of their own emotions, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as knowing the impact their behaviour will have on others. Self-awareness allows them to regulate their emotions effectively, make better decisions and adapt their leadership style to suit the needs of their team.
- Self-management – refers to an individual’s ability to manage and control their own emotions, and reactions. Leaders who practice this behaviour have the ability to remain composed and focused in high pressure situations, instilling stability and confidence within their team.
- Social awareness – leaders with social awareness can read a room and recognise other people’s emotions. They strive to understand other people and have the ability to forge meaningful relationships, resolve conflict and create a positive and collaborative work culture.
- Relationship management – having empathy is a vital skill for leaders. Empathetic leaders can tune into their team members’ feelings and concerns, creating better communication, trust and rapport.
- Motivation – a good leader will always strive to look beyond financial incentives. Leaders with high motivational levels are resilient, enthusiastic and know how to inspire their team to achieve shared goals.
Emotional intelligence may not come naturally to everybody, but most people can improve their emotional intelligence by practicing self-awareness.
Knowing the traits of someone with low emotional intelligence can be a helpful starting point for anyone looking to improve their own self-awareness. Leaders with low emotional intelligence often find themselves in arguments and possess a strong desire to be right. They tend to blame others when things go wrong and are prone to reactive and emotional outbursts. They can be quick to dismiss the feelings of others and struggle to respond appropriately to the emotional tone and atmosphere around them.
Emotional intelligence can no longer be viewed as a non-essential soft skill in business. The ability to lead with empathy is a fundamental leadership skill that will separate a good leader from an exceptional one.
For a deeper dive in to the role of emotional intelligence in marketing leadership, you may like to listen to this episode of the Revitalise & Grow podcast: S7. Ep5: The role of emotional intelligence in marketing leadership.
Or get in touch to talk further – we have qualified coaches who can help leaders looking to improve their self-awareness and emotional intelligence.