Be Emotionally Intelligent
Leaders are expert in reading mind of others.
Opening Case Study :
ALeader with High Emotional Intelligence – Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela, or “Madiba” as he was affectionately known died December 5, 2013. Not only did we lose a great man and a great leader for his country, but also a shining example of the kind of leadership we so desperately need today. He left a huge inspirational vacuum.
Mandala once said, “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” In many ways, Mandela was a mindful leader, having invested hugely in developing his self-awareness and managing his emotions. The truly mindful leader gets their own life in order ﬁrst before engaging in advising others to do the same.
He was a man of quiet dignity to match his towering achievements; a man with an ever-radiant smile and immense and humble sense of humor. Mandela was a rare visionary who would see beyond the current struggles and pain. He was convinced that one day the best parts of humanity would prevail over the worst parts. He even inspired his enemies to be better than they had been through forgiveness and reconciliation. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission he established is a great model for achieving justice in all nations where human rights abuses occurred and pain needs to be healed.
One of the clear things that propelled Mandela to greatness amidst his suffering and depersonalization in prison, was forgiving his jailors, feeling compassion for those who had caused him pain and his desire for reconciliation. Mandela had the capacity to transcend himself for the sake of those around him and higher causes. His personal pain at causing his family to suffer, seeing the nation he led sink into corruption, and admitting his own mistakes, after all he fought for after his release from prison, never overwhelmed him nor stopped his resolve to make things better. Mandela was not a perfect man, and in acknowledging his ﬂaws, he becomes even greater.
What a stark contrast Mandel’s life was compared to the behavior of many political and business leaders today who take credit and want the limelight when things are going well, and blame others and avoid responsibility when things go badly. The predominant leadership style today in many organizations continues to be egocentric, aggressive, self- serving and lacking in empathy and compassion for others.
Nelson Mandala was a beacon of hope, and like Gandhi before him, a shining example of what a leader can and should be. A man of great compassion and forgiveness and humilty. He will be sorely missed, but as has been said, ““When you live on the hearts of those you love, you will never die.”
Emotional intelligence has recently become one of the key talking points when it comes to leadership. One thing we know for sure is that it is a trait that can be measured and developed. But what exactly is it and how does it inﬂuence the concept of leadership?
Emotional intelligence has to do with one’s ability to both recognize and control their own emotions, while harnessing said emotions appropriately to have the most optimum reaction as situations dictate. It also has to do with one’s awareness of and sensitivity towards others’ emotions.
Emotional intelligence is therefore an important characteristic for anyone at any level of an organization but it is particularly important for those who occupy positions of leadership. A leader’s emotional intelligence can have sweeping inﬂuence over their relationships, how they manage their teams, and all in all how they interact with individuals in the workplace.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence or EI is the ability to recognise, understand and handle your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they are feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.
For leaders, having emotional intelligence is vital for success. Think about it: who is more likely to succeed at taking the organization forward – a leader who shouts at their team when under stress, or one who stays in control of their emotions and those of others, and calmly assesses the situation?
The original deﬁnition, as coined by the team of Salovey and Mayer (1990) is: emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the collection of abilities used to identify, understand, control and assess the emotions of the self and others. According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are ﬁve key elements to it:
5 Key Elements of Emotional Intelligence
- Self – Motivation;
- Empathy, and;
- Social skills.
The more a leader manages each of these areas, the higher their emotional intelligence.
Self-awareness means you are always fully aware of how you feel, and you understand the effect your feelings and your actions can have on the people around you.
A self-aware leader maintains a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses, and despite their position of authority and power still operates from a mindset of humility.
Self-regulation prevents you from abusing your privilege of leadership to attack and/or stereotype others and making hurried or whimsical decisions that compromise your values. It calls for you to keep control of your emotions and how they affect others as well as stay committed to personal accountability.
3. Self – Motivation
Self-motivated leaders work consistently toward their goals, motivate their employees and they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.
They develop a healthy emotional connection to the results they seek from their efforts, harnessing them to drive them forward without being obsessive.
Empathy is what allows you to put yourself in other people’s shoes and consider their unique perspectives. It is very important when it comes to successfully leading a team or organization.
Leaders with empathy actively support the career and personal growth of their team members, offer criticism without crushing the recipient, and solicit regular feedback from their employees. Such leaders are what it takes to motivate employees to perform above expectations.
2. Social skills
Leaders with good social skills are great at communication, which comes in very handy when it comes to getting their team pumped about a new project or objective.
They are emotionally intelligent enough to receive both good and bad news with the same clarity of mind and this makes their subordinates conﬁdent enough to update them on anything.
Leaders with good social skills are also great at planning, effecting and overseeing major changes in the workplace as well as resolving any arising disputes fairly and promptly.
All the great leaders know there is a lot power in their emotions so they make sure to learn how to identify, understand and manage them, and also go ahead to teach those they lead how to do the same.
This is referred to as having emotional intelligence and is one of the most important traits for any leader in any modern-day organization to have.