Emotional intelligence is the ability of a person to understand his/ her emotions and those of people around them in order to know how to interact with them. People with high knowledge of emotional intelligence understand their surroundings well and are able to manage their emotions accordingly. Psychologists argue that people with a high level of emotional intelligence have great leadership and problem solving skills due to their ability to read and interpret the work force around them. Emotional intelligence helps people in leadership in a number of ways depending on the level of conscience of the people on different issues regarding the components of emotional intelligence (Gordon, 2007). This paper analyzes the different levels and components of emotional intelligence, reviewing how they affect leadership and how they can be applied in leadership.
Self-awareness is the first component of emotional intelligence. This is the ability to understand oneself including thinking, feelings, and attitudes towards certain issues at the work place or in other quarters (Ford, 2010). In leadership, the level of self-awareness in an individual is important in the context of two main ways. Initially, people with the high level of self-awareness know their areas of strength well. In consequence, these people can tackle activities that they are best and delegate other tasks. This factor is capable of enhancing the productivity of the people as people are offered a chance of capitalizing on their potential (Gordon, 2007). Furthermore, people with a high level of self-awareness have knowledge of their weaknesses hence they try to correct them. However, low levels of self-awareness lead to failure in leadership because these individuals can easily expose their weaknesses and fail to capitalize on their strengths.
In addition to self-awareness, a high level of emotional intelligence fosters self-regulation and motivation, which encourages leaders into achieving their goals. A leader who is self-motivated and guided have inbound commitment which renders them highly productive because they effort is not dependent on secondary incentives that may often be unavailable. This is in contrast with the leaders presenting low levels of emotional intelligence who cannot work unless monetary and physical motivation are employed (Gordon, 2007). Such leaders do not deliver well especially, where high-level decisions should be made. Self-motivation helps the leaders achieve their goals without necessarily considering the rewards that they ought to get from the same.
Apart from self-motivation and awareness, another component of emotional intelligence includes empathy. Empathy entails the ability to identify and accommodate one’s needs and wants. Through empathy, a leader can learn to prioritize his or her needs and business needs to rank them appropriately thus achieving optimum performance in the business. High levels of emotional intelligence ensure people that their leaders will prioritize their goals and wants. This prevents overlapping of needs that may result to abandonment of some (Ford, 2010). However, lack of empathy makes the leaders perform poorly as they fail to prioritize their wants and attend to them without order. High levels of emotional intelligence ensure that the social relations of an individual remain at the highest level possible. A person with a high emotional intelligence develops positive social relations with others. Ability of establishing good relations with others fosters cooperation and support which is essential in the workplace (Jones, 2007).
Emotional intelligence theories can be applied at the workplaces in a number of ways. Initially, leaders and managers can utilize self-understanding to identify their strengths and weakness to respond to their limitations accordingly. On the other hand, self-guidance can help leaders reflect on events that affect their leadership role, which enables them plan on how to execute their activities accordingly. Self-direction can help leaders decide when to take actions ensuring that their emotions do not guide their daily decisions. Emotional intelligence also enables one to develop high levels of self-motivation, which can be applied by leaders in their real world to work and achieve their objectives regardless of the rewards. Self-motivation when applied in the leadership enables the leaders to perform their tasks without eyeing rewards due to the aspect of internal motivating factors. The inbound force motivates individuals thus working hard to realize their objectives.
Leaders can apply empathy in their daily activities to develop an understanding of their wants and needs. Knowledge of one’s needs is essential especially in decision-making as one is to rank his or her wants according to their priority (Jones, 2007). By understanding individual and business needs, the leaders can prioritize the needs so that they achieve the maximum for the business and their personal desires. Leaders can also apply the emotional intelligence skills in ensuring that they develop positive social relations with the people at work while avoiding conflicts. Although conflicts are healthy at the workplace, leaders can avoid the clashes to salvage time and resources that could be wasted in reconciliation procedures. It is apparent that emotional intelligence is a vital component of leadership, which affirms the need pursuing this concept to be successful in leadership positions in the workplace.
Ford, J. M. (2010). The impact of emotional intelligence on job satisfaction: A study of front-line staff at a large healthcare organization (Order No. 3409332, Capella University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 127-n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/717681261?accountid=45049. (717681261).
Gordon, A. E. (2007). Emotional intelligence as an antecedent of leader-member exchange relationships and leader effectiveness. (Order No. 3277253, State University of New York at Albany). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 63-n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304740876?accountid=45049. (304740876).
Jones, S. M. (2007). Emotional intelligence within organizations: A study of emotional intelligence and performance ranking within a biomedical company. (Order No. 3256102, Pepperdine University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses,134-n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304706963?accountid=45049. (304706963).