Five reasons why emotional intelligence is essential in effective leadership

Anyone who pretends that emotional intelligence is a ‘soft’ skill has never managed a bullying claim, told an employee that their position is redundant, or been involved in an industrial negotiation. Many management tasks that are essential in today’s workplace require understanding of the emotional issues that employees and teams face. Resolving them takes strength, decisiveness, compassion, strategic thinking and integrity – and the importance of these skills shouldn’t be underestimated.

Emotional intelligence can be understood to be the ability to recognise and understand your own feelings and the feelings of others, and to choose how to respond to them. Rutgers psychologist Daniel Goleman named five elements of emotional intelligence back in 1998:

  • Self-awareness;
  • Self-regulation, being the ability to manage constructively your own emotions, in order to act in your long-term best interest;
  • Motivation beyond money and status;
  • Empathy for others; and
  • Social skills, such as managing relationships and building networks.

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