Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to recognize and influence the emotions of those around you, as well as understanding and managing your own reactions. Researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey coined the term in 1990, but it gained immense popularity when psychologist Daniel Goleman normalized the term. Empathy, social skills, self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation are all components of emotional intelligence (EQ) in leadership.

Emotions make us human. How at ease are you with the emotions of your co-workers? How at ease are you with your own?

Our sentiments and passions have a significant impact on our teams’ success, relationships, and interactions. Emotions, when it comes to productivity or performance, clearly demonstrate the negative influence of frustration outperforming the positive influence of optimism. That’s not all —with the rise of AI in HR (where has AI not left its digital mark yet?), it’s become more important than ever for leaders to display EQ.

Emotional mastery, according to the conscious business philosophy, is a meta mindset that underpins all others. It has a significant impact on how we perceive the world and whether we are able to choose responsibility over curiosity or over the need for certainty at any given time. The key is to ‘feel’ your feelings and harness their power and energy. This entails engaging with the power of all emotions, both positive and negative, such as happiness, excitement, gratitude, pride, sadness, fear, anger, and guilt.

Being a great leader today necessitates expertise, acumen, and a variety of soft skills — skills that leaders can use to motivate their people, thrive in the face of challenges, and deliver superior performance. These are referred to as emotional-intelligence soft skills.

Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence can improve team performance and increase employee engagement. The more difficult and disruptive the organizational and business environment, the more leaders will need to rely on their emotional intelligence skills.

At this stage of our careers, we are weaving in and out of emotional situations daily. Whether you are dealing with employees facing burnout, new team members adjusting to change, rejection or failure on campaigns, or (and this is the most frustrating one) office politics. 

We’ve all been there. But how do you come out of it guns blazing? 

You lead.

However, in this post-pandemic world, many leaders are still not adequately equipped to deal with the demands this fast-changing and -evolving work environment makes on them and those around them. 

Here are some factors that every current and up-and-coming leader must subscribe to:

  • Leaders must integrate a coaching element with EQ-specific goals to help inspire their teams and nurture EQ among them as well.
  • Existing workforces must be assessed to understand the current EQ profile of a team and shared with them to change the traditional narrative of HR profiles, improving their morale and cementing their confidence.
  • EQ elements must make their way into every strategy, whether internal or to stakeholders and clients. Leaders and managers must be aware that until a team is ready to fully adopt EQ as a modus operandi, some members may not be keen or akin to opening up and being part of a transparent structure; they should not be penalized and encouraged to do so over time.
  • When recruiting or assigning new members, EQ must be a priority that is sought and expected. This will empower teams and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

While leaders will still require traditional leadership skills that helped bring them to the fore, more and more studies are being committed and published on the absolute need to look beyond the team-management bubble of performance and adopt EQ as a crucial metric.