Emotional Intelligence And Leadership
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Question: With reference to leadership literature and practical examples, critically evaluate the following statement: "Emotional intelligent leaders have the ability to inspire employees as they are more likely to be in tune and in sync with those around them".
Answer: Introduction: If you are asked to think of the concept of an 'ideal leader', what basic things or qualities comes in your mind? Let me present two scenarios. In the first scenario, you go to your boss and ask him to leave for some private reason. With partial attention, your boss hears you, then he first scrutinises you for your previous works and finds some fault. You get to listen to some sweet and sour talks from your boss. Then he tells you that the current ongoing work is very important and there is a tuff deadline to finish the job. So, he will not be able to allow you a leave. And then he again reminds you that you need to focus more on your work and you should forget about leaves as of now. In the second scenario, you go to your boss's cabin and ask him to leave. He listens to you carefully, understands your issues and why you need the leave, and then he asks you if there is any way he can help out. Then he allows you the leave and also tells you that he has trust in you, and he knows that you can finish your work within time. I am pretty much sure that every one of us will choose the second scenario. If we compare the qualities of the bosses in the two scenario, we can identify a contrast in qualities. The boss in the first scenario is quite strict, not empathetic to the employees, behaves rude, and does not have trust in his employee's skills. While the boss in scenario two is quite calm and helpful. He listens to the problems of his employees carefully, tries to help them, and shows empathy to his workers' problems. He also has full faith in his employee's skills ("Emotional Intelligence in Leadership: Learning How to Be More Aware", 2019). Yes, in a nutshell, these are the key qualities of an emotionally intelligent leader. In this particular article, we will deeply discuss how emotionally intelligent leadership inspires employees and helps to be in tune and sync with others while embracing a healthy workplace culture.
Background: To understand the development of emotionally intelligent leadership properly, we first need to know what emotional intelligence or EI is. Different researchers have tried to define it from a different viewpoint. According to researcher Beck, emotional intelligence reflects one or more persona of a human being (Beck, 2013). Another opinion about EI is that it is quite similar to the analytic ability and proficiency of a person (Pachulia & Henderson, 2009). Salovey and Mayer find EI as a part of social intelligence, which includes taking care of other's feelings as well as the emotions and feelings of his self. It helps to guide and control a person's thoughts and activities (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). According to Joseph and Newman, it is a primary infrastructure of effective leadership (Joseph and Newman, 2010). Now discussing leadership, it is a quality through which an individual motivates, encourages other people of a group and stimulates their activities in order complete a particular task or work (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). The development of emotionally intelligent leadership means developing a personality and attitude in the workplace by understanding the emotional aspects of the employees and their self.
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Emotional leadership and its nature: Emotional leadership means the ability to understand the emotional nature of the employees and through that, achieving excellent performance in the workplace (Boyatzis 2009, p. 757). Emotional leadership is strong chemistry between leaders, employees and the circumstances. It is a triangular relationship equation. This means to handle a certain situation or to complete a particular task, leaders come up with proper plan and guideline, operate the employees and supervise their work, provide essential motivation, help, and knowledge when needed. Employees are another main part of this equation. They do all the necessary works to complete a task. In most of the cases, the quality of work depends solely on the capabilities of the employees. After all, a leader is numb without employees or followers. The third part of this triangular relationship is circumstances. Based on the context of a certain circumstance, a leader plans his roadmap and guide his employees accordingly. It is the environment where the leader and the employees work (Shankman & Allen, 2013). The essential elements of Emotional leadership are described below.
Self-Awareness: Self-awareness means having full control over your own emotions and feelings. If a person is well aware of himself and his nature, then he can understand how his activities will affect on the people surrounding him. Besides it, self-awareness helps a person to identify his strengths and weaknesses correctly. And when a person correctly identifies his pros and cons, it becomes easier for him to behave more accurately with others. There are few strategies through which a person can increase his self-awareness. Maintaining a diary day by day is a very good practice to increase self-awareness. It helps a person to analyze his day to day activity perfectly. While experiencing a strong emotion, if a person slows down a bit and thinks what makes him impulsive, then it helps to control emotions (Ackerman, 2019).
Respect: It does not mean only showing respect to others. An emotionally intelligent leader also should practice self-respect. Having self-respect also helps to build respect for others. The way a leader manages himself or herself also indirectly influence his or her employees or followers. If a leader shows respect to others, and if an employee makes a mistake, still if the leader behaves with the employee in a good manner, then it will surely motivate the employee to work better. This way showing respect can help in boosting performance (Crossley, 2015).
Empathy: To be a good leader, a person must be empathetic to others. While conducting a team in the workplace, a leader must understand the problems of his employees from their point of view. This helps to develop better team bonding. There are certain ways to develop empathetic skills. Putting yourself on some other one's shoes helps to understand the situation of the particular person. Supporting your point of view is quite easy. But to assist another person's view, first, a leader must need to understand the problems of the person well. Body language is another important aspect of empathy. While you are talking to someone, your body language reflects how much attentive you are to that person. Constantly moving your feet back and forth or crossing arms can create a negative impact on the person opposite to you. He may think that you are not paying attention to what he is saying. Learning to read body language must help to present yourself with a better approach. Besides it, a leader should respond to the feelings of his employees. Suppose you are telling your employee to work late. He also said yes, but you understood the disappointment in his voice. Rather being silent, you must need to address him. You must tell him that working late is as frustrating to you as he is feeling. Maybe you can offer him with some better adjustments in future or else you can help him to organize his work. This way, it will surely improve work efficiency and personal bonding (Batool, 2013). According to the Global Leadership Development firm DDI, the number one leadership skill is empathy. It also reveals that leaders who practice empathy in their daily and working life have a 40 percent higher performance ratio than others in training and decision making.
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Social Competence: To become a great communicator, a leader must perform well with his social skills elements of emotional intelligence. They should be open to both good and bad news. Leaders with good social skillset can easily adapt to changes and different work culture and also make their team accustomed to it. There are several ways to build a good social skill. Leaders can improve their social skill by solving conflicts between their team members and keeping constant communication with them. To achieve good communication skill, a person must need to be a good listener first. Praising your team members for something good also helps to increase social skill, but make sure it does not look fake (Boyatzis &Oosten, 2002).
Relationship management: Relationship management means having the capability to train, influence and mentor others, and by doing that, resolve internal conflicts. The common tendency of people is to avoid conflict but to get it solved; a leader should properly address the issues as they arise. Through research, it has been found that every unresolved conflict can waste almost eight hours of effective working time of an organization in gossip and other unnecessary activities. This affects to lower down the morals of the employees also.
Maintaining a good relationship always produces fruitful results and increase work efficiency. Society of Human Resource Management recently conducted a survey where 72 percent of employees ranked "respectful treatment of all employees at all levels" as the top factor in case of job satisfaction(Landry, 2019).
Role of Emotional Intelligent Leadership in Organizational Development: Nowadays, most of the organizations admits that emotionally intelligent leadership is a very effective way to increase the work performance, and it also develops a better work culture. Intelligent leaders are those who gather a ton of knowledge and skillset through their experiences, and it helps them to manage and organize their daily tasks with ease. It also helps them to conduct their team in a better way. There are few roadblocks like individualism culture, secrecy culture which can effect in changing the management efforts (Bennis, 1987). Besides it, initiating and implementing change in a certain scenario always requires a well-groomed leadership skillset. The one more fact is that any change always faces hardships and a certain level of resistance. A good leader perfectly equipped with emotional intelligence always try to overcome those resistances and apply changes in the workplace. To address and recognise the problems, a leader must need to be patient enough and be emotionally sound. He should understand the problems of his members and address it perfectly. The normal nature of people is to resist changes and to maintain the same thing, but only a good leader can implement change by being strong and focused on his aim.
Conclusion: Through this article, I tried to provide a brief narrative about what emotional intelligence is and how we can incorporate it with cognitive leadership to get a better result in the workplace. By using emotional intelligence, leaders can develop their leadership skills and can make a resonant relationship with their team members, stakeholders (Caruso &Salovey, 2004). This way, the productivity of an organization also increases. Emotional intelligence helps a person to recover from a stressful state to an energetic state. To maintain growth in their projects, a leader must understand their own emotions and feelings as well as the feelings of his team members, and he should find the proper moment to trigger the process to get a better result. He should always understand the issues of his team members from placing himself in their shoes. He should be self-aware about his capabilities and emotions and behave properly, even in critical situations also. He should know his strengths and weak points. He must respect his team members and others. Not only this, a good leader should have enough self-respect for himself also. Besides, a good leader must be socially active with others. He should keep regular contact with his fellow members, interact with them, and if any problem occurs, provide them with a good resolution. In today's life, so many past concepts have been changed. And keeping balance with that, so many changes also happened in the professional work culture. Organizations are now understanding the value and importance of emotional intelligence and applying the key elements of it into leadership qualities.
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