Emotional Intelligence By Emmanuel Addo

Over the years, we have seen how leaders across the globe, be it, politicians, business leaders among others react to issues, or respond to questions and we marvel if they are the same people we idolize. For some politicians, how they react to diverse opinions, say a lot about their emotional intelligence level. In Ghana, a former district chief executive got sacked because he could not control his temper when challenged publicly. I am sure you have some examples of how the fame can be disgraced or ridiculed simply because they failed to master the act of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to comprehend and manage your emotions, as well as perceive and influence the emotions of people surrounding you. In the workplace, experts call the soft skill emotional intelligence quotient EQ. Emotional intelligence unleashes your potential for leadership traits such as empathy, decision making, self-awareness, and effective communication. For organizational success, managers must know the value of emotional intelligence. It is the quality that helps you to successfully coach teams, manage stress, deliver feedback, and collaborate with colleagues.

EQ is a key facet for developing your career. The technical skills that helped you secure your initial promotion will probably not guarantee you the next. It is the emotional element in you that is considered when you are aspiring for a leadership role. This encompasses the ability to be flexible to adapt and suit to a new environment and guide your thinking toward a more valuable outcome.

Components of emotional intelligence

For, leaders, emotional leadership is imperative for success. For instance, who is more likely to succeed; a leader who shouts at his team when under stress or the one who calmly assesses the situation while staying in control?

Now, let us look at how you can equip yourself and become emotionally intelligent.

Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist in the fore line of popularizing emotional intelligence put forward some key elements to it.

1 Self-Awareness.

Self-awareness is the first step of emotional intelligence. With self-awareness, you always know how you feel and understand the impact of your emotions and actions on people around you. Self-aware leaders have a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses, which ultimately calls for them to behave with humility. With self-awareness, you learn the art of slowing down when under strong emotion. You then take time to examine why and decide how to react.

2 Self-control

This is all about staying in control. Leaders with self-control rarely verbally attack teammates, make emotional or rushed decisions, compromise their values, or stereotype people.

As an element of emotional intelligence, self-control covers a leader’s commitment to personal accountability and flexibility. Through self-control, a leader masters the art of staying calm in challenging situations. You hold yourself accountable for anything that goes wrong, and the ultimate result is respect from fellow team players.

3 Communication and setting the tone.

As a leader, you are obliged to lead with purpose and clarity and set the tone for your team or organization. The baseline is having a clear and accurate comprehension of the communication environment you operate in.

As General Colin Powell said your communication as a leader sets the tone for the entire team under you. There is a ripple effect from every action, word, deed, or facial expression you make.

A leader should communicate with a positive mindset, and authenticity and respond instead of reacting. Remember that if you react by blowing a gasket and lashing out at someone under your leadership, moving forward, the shadows of the outburst will always cloud your relationship.

The 21st century leader need emotional intelligence in their toolbox to succeed. Aspiring leaders need this key ingredient in their toolbox.

Emmanuel Addo is the founder and president of the Young African Leaders Summit (YALS); a platform for cross-country idea sharing and assimilation, with the goal of bridging the identity gap that is commonly perceived to exist amongst Africa’s youth.