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3 August, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 2 August, 2017 10:07:36 PM

Organisational Behaviour Emotional intelligence for successful leadership

Dr Ulfat Hussain
Organisational Behaviour 
Emotional intelligence for successful leadership
Dr Ulfat Hussain

Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been a subject of discussion in the management circle. Often we hear of the term ‘Emotional Intelligence’ frequently used by managers and leaders.  Ordinarily speaking, emotional intelligence is one’s ability to identify and manage his own emotions and the emotions of others around him  In this article we will discuss on Emotional Intelligence and we will look at why emotional intelligence is so important for leaders, and how you, as a leader, can improve yours.

Let’s begin with a question:  when you are asked to think of a “perfect leader” what comes to your mind?  You might think of a person who never lets his temper get out of control, no matter what problems he is facing. Or you might think of someone who has the complete trust of his staff, listens to his team, is easy to talk to, and always makes careful, informed decisions.

To answer the above question, we will refer to Daniel Goleman, a Harvard Graduate, and a renowned psychologist who helped to popularize the concept of EI in leadership.  According to him, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, and those of the people around him. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they are feeling, and how these emotions can affect other people.

Key Elements of EI in Leadership:

Management psychologists and writers have spoken of many attributes of an emotionally intelligent leader.  We will discuss the following key elements and examine how you can grow as a leader with these skills:

First, Self-awareness:  If you are self-aware, you always know how you feel, and you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you – subordinates, peers, and cross-functional colleagues. In a leadership position, you must have a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses. Keep a journal of events, spent a few moments to write your thoughts and how best to achieve targets.  People are prone to anger and strong emotions, calm down, and examine reasons and causes of your emotions and how patiently you could handle the situation. Do not use slangs and make uncivil remarks.  Above all, you must behave with humility.

Second, Self-regulation:  Leaders who are in control and regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make emotional decisions, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control.  Examine what values are most important to you. Think of examining professional conduct and code of ethics. If you know what is most important to you, then you probably won't have to think twice when you face a moral or ethical decision – you'll make the right choice. Hold yourself accountable; don’t blame others when something goes wrong. Admit your mistakes and face the consequences. Be calm and don’t shout at others. Just write down pertinent points that you want to say, say it firmly.  

Third, Motivation:  Self-motivated leader works consistently toward his goals, and he maintains extremely high standards for the quality of his work.  

Make sure that your goal statements are fresh and have a SMART goal setting.  You must always think that you are a leader and you are here to lead the team.  Avoid pessimism always have optimism for optimism is strength and pessimism is weakness.  

Motivated leaders are usually optimistic no matter what problems they face. Every time you face a challenge, or even a failure, try to find at least one good reason about the situation. Think positive and don’t lose heart. There will always be a lesson learned for you.

Fourth, Empathy:  For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else's shoes. They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need advice. Care your team by being empathic. Take time to look at from other people’s perspectives or viewpoints. Pay attention to your body language; listen attentively to what employees say. Observe others’ body language, too. Learning to read body language can be a real asset in a leadership role, because you will be better able to determine how someone truly feels. This gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately. Appreciate your subordinates’ efforts and hard work, at least give them a pat at the back.

Fifth, Social Skills:  Leaders who do well in the social skills are great communicators. They're just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and they're expert at getting their team to support them and be excited about a new mission or project. Leaders who have good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically. You must learn the art of conflict resolution and resolve conflicts among your team members, customers, or vendors.

You must have a strong communication skill both oral and written.  As a leader, you can inspire the loyalty of your team simply by cheering up or praising their work and efforts.

Simple Tips to Improve Your EI:

a. Observe how you react to people. Don’t rush to judgment before you know all of the facts.

b. Be open to others’ viewpoints.

c. Look at your work environment, establish friendly and congenial atmosphere.

d. Do a self-evaluation – of strengths and weaknesses. Be honest in identifying your weaknesses and try to be a better person.

e. Examine how you react to stressful situations. Don’t become upset immediately when something does not happen the way you want.  Take responsibility, don’t blame others.

f. Train and coach subordinates to upgrade their skills where necessary.

g. Apologize if you hurt some one’s feelings. Remember humility pays well in business world. Remember people are usually more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right.

Effective leaders must have a solid understanding of how their emotions and actions affect people around them. The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he or she will be. The ability to manage people is very important in all leaders, so developing and using your emotional intelligence can be a good way to show others the leader in you.  

Managing emotional intelligence plays an important role in achieving your goals. It also means that you value others, listen to their wants and needs, and are able to empathize with them at many different levels.  Managing your Emotional Intelligence professionally will make you a successful leader.

The writer is senior consultant Pro-edge Associates Ltd and adjunct faculty, DU



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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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