Most of us are taught how to behave and react according to the various situations as they arise. Of course, you would have been taught the same while in school, along with the general need to be empathetic.
As it was a while back, chances are that you would have forgotten these crucial lessons on emotional intelligence, except that it is applicable, even today. Given the current global context, it is apt to restate that emotional intelligence for leaders is but a necessity.
You can assert that a global leader has more to deal with, such as an imminent press interview. But think about it for a moment – your nation’s global leader, who happened to be elected by the people, is the one at the top post, right?
And in that case, he is the one who exercises total control over your nation’s armed forces to its nuclear weapons, correct? And if that is the case, would you instead not ensure that the person who controls such power, including the ability to fire nuclear weapons and kickstart global destruction, is of sound mind and emotionally intelligent?
Now, you can see why emotional intelligence for leaders is not just necessary but essential and mandatory.
- Being self-aware:
One of the reasons that, as a leader, you need emotional intelligence is you tend to become more self-aware. You will be more aware of your strengths, limitations, emotions, etc. – how you feel now.
Being more self-aware translates to reacting to some of your basic emotions, but this is also where emotional intelligence kicks in. You get to rein in those emotions, regulate the lot and ‘react’ better in public.
As a leader, you would be expected to be under the public glare24*7. Now, you can see why such leaders need to be in tune with their emotions and current requirements and can react accordingly, within reason. Moreover, by being more self-aware, you can now access all the information regarding a particular situation instead of opting for a “knee-jerk emotion.”
- Self-management and its importance:
As an upcoming leader, you would be faced with myriad problems daily. As a result, you would be bound to let your emotions get the better of you. And one of the worst things you can do as a leader is to let others see how you feel, reacting to all that pressure.
And that’s why you self-manage your emotions and immediate concerns and, if necessary, leave them away to deal with later. You allow yourself, as a leader, to have some breathing room. And this should enable you to focus on what’s essential at the very moment.
You bring all your emotions under control and do not lose your temper over even the most minor issues. As a leader, you learn to manage your emotions better and learn to manage them both efficiently and ruthlessly.
- Having empathy:
Yes, it is often one of the indications of someone with essential emotional intelligence. And as a leader, you are expected to showcase your empathy and ability to care. Remember that your empathy needs to be genuine, or you will face blowback on the same issue.
You must show your people that you genuinely care about them and their current concerns. This, in turn, will endear the masses to you, which will help you connect better with all of them.
Having your empathy kick in just before the elections is not a good idea. The public has shown their preference for an authentic leader rather than a ‘Paper man.’
- Being able to connect and maintain relationships:
One of the trademarks of an emotionally intelligent person is his innate ability to connect with others and maintain a strong working relationship. To that end, it is imperative that, as a leader, you have the requisite emotional intelligence.
Apart from allowing it to make you more self-aware of your emotions, you also connect, develop and maintain strong working relationships with the masses. Take Brazil and the recently concluded elections. It was one of the most bitterly contested elections between two candidates.
The comparisons between both could not be any more odious. One lacked any emotional intelligence to date, and as for the other candidate, he possessed some to an extent.
Thankfully, the candidate with the EI was elected and will soon be inaugurated as Brazil’s next president. The point is that as a leader, you must have a strong connection with your base, resulting in a strong working relationship.
A mere read should make you aware of why leaders’ emotional intelligence is necessary these days. Without the requisite emotional intelligence, you are bound to screw up massively the next time you appear at a public meeting as a leader. And that is why, it makes sense to develop some, before your next public meeting.