Since 1995 with the publication of Daniel Goleman’s best seller on emotional intelligence, this topic has been booming until today, however, it is still a factor little considered in the areas of people management within companies, when emotional intelligence in leaders is a key factor in their success.
Several studies published during the last decade have shown that emotional intelligence correlates directly with the achievement of leaders, unlike what happens with IQ, which only has an impact at the beginning of working life, but loses relevance at the time of having to lead other people.
This makes a lot of sense when we think that when managing teams what we are doing is having to manage their motivations, worries, moods, etc. In other words, we have to be able to manage the emotions of those around us, convey a sense of purpose and manage motivation.
Thus, thinking that leaders have to know everything or know even the smallest part of their job is not true (although in some cultures it may be desirable), what a person who wants to lead with excellence really needs to know is how to manage himself and thus support the management of the internal states of his team.
Someone who has developed high levels of emotional intelligence understands what are called emotional patterns, that is, the relationship between thought, emotion and action. Put simply, these factors influence each other, so that when you have a thought, for example, that it is not possible to achieve the goal of the month, the body reacts with emotions such as frustration, disappointment or sadness. It will be these emotional states that will then guide the person’s behavior, directly impacting their results.
So, when we think about developing leaders in an organization, or when we are looking for talented leaders to join our teams, we need to see how developed these skills are. In this way, we will not only know if the person is the right person for the role, but we will also be able to provide support on the key points that need to be improved to become an exceptional leader.
Leading from the authority of the position is already a counter-cultural element, while doing it only by seniority in the organization is questionable for the rest of the team, who expect (and need) that the person in front listens, welcomes, motivates and manages what happens from the individual to the collective, with the sole purpose of making the whole achieve extraordinary results, both on “good” days and on those that are not so good.
It is worth asking then, how present is emotional intelligence in the leaders of our organizations? What are we doing to know their level of emotional intelligence and support the development of these competencies? I hope that it is part of the effective management of people and leaders and, if it is not, that from now on it begins to take the place it has in the results. We already have the challenge, now it is up to us to take it on.