Emotional Quotient and the Leader

By default, the average business/organizational leader seem to be very experienced, visionary, practical and business savvy. Albeit, one skill that is scarce in most "successful" leaders is: emotional intelligence. They sort of tick the other boxes but the emotional quotient box is left unchecked.

Emotional Quotient, EQ (popularly referred to as Emotional Intelligence, EI) is the ability to understand, manage and develop one's feelings, while also being able to effectively manage the emotions of others.

The subject of Emotional Quotient goes beyond getting a perfect hang of the nitty-gritty of being a great leader, it reveals the both the impact and import of the emotions of a leader on the organization, business and stakeholders. Much more, it teaches the leader how to channel this knowledge towards triggering positive outcomes - internally and externally.

A chapter in the book, Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results, authored by Raj Sisodia, says: “Emotional intelligence (EQ) combines self-awareness (understanding oneself) and empathy (the ability to feel and understand what others are feeling). High emotional intelligence is increasingly being recognized as important in organizations because of the growing complexity of society and the variety of stakeholders that must be communicated with effectively.”

Leaders who display and nurture high emotional quotient unarguably excel at leadership.

High EQ: Benefits for the Leader

  • Right Attitude: While pressure at the workplace may be unavoidable, the emotionally leader manages pressure effectively without letting pressure manage them. With them, transferred aggression is a stranger. By implication, they sort of enjoy work/life balance, knowing that the emotions of the work/business place need remain at work/business (and of course, vice versa).
  • Self-Control: In today's world, respect is not demanded, irrespective of positive (sometimes), it is earned. Leaders who come behind in controlling their emotions automatically cannot command a heart-centered respect from their subordinates.
  • Self-Awareness: Good decisions are hinged on having a true picture of oneself. It also requires a perfect understanding of how one's feelings can affect the productivity of the team and the overall business/organizational goals. Great leaders are self-aware of not just their emotions, but their areas of weaknesses and strengths are known to them. For example, a leader struggling in the area of punctuality but is self-aware about that weakness can make a deliberate effort of sending a punctual team member (who is equally up to the task) to represent such a leader in meetings that matter. Self-awareness allows the leader work with rationality so that judgment is not affected.
  • Effective Communication: Owing to the fact that emotionally intelligent leaders understand their stakeholders, they can, almost immediately interpret the tone and body language of their stakeholders and subsequently, fine-tune their conversation to match the drive of the moment.
  • Growing Empathy: Leaders with great EQ are not strangers to their own emotional well-being per time, therefore, this understanding allows them to rightly ascertain the emotions of those around them. For business or organizational leaders, a growing empathy avails them the opportunity to put themselves in the position of their team members, thus, their decision making-process is deliberate as well as thoughtful.

High EQ: Benefits for the Business and/or Organization

  • Improved Stakeholder Engagement: Stakeholders that feel a negative attachment-or no attachment at all-to a leader or other stakeholders disengage and, therefore, fail to capitalize on the great benefits that accrue to partnerships and collaborations.
  • Improved Organization/Business Culture: Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein write un the book, Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust, “In our view, leadership is always a relationship, and truly successful leadership thrives in a group culture of high openness and high trust.” Leaders with emotional intelligence build and encourage stronger relationships that sometimes, results into partnerships, which would in turn, bring financial rewards to the organization or business.
  • Excellent Results: When team members know that their emotions are valued, excellence at an increasing level is guaranteed.

As Robert Johansen writes in his book, The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything, “If leaders are going to thrive in a future of extreme disruption, they must not only manage their own energy, they must encourage, model, and reward positive energy in others.”

The bottom line remains that, the leader with a high emotional quotient, gets a fore taste of these benefits, after which, what's in the leader naturally flows to those around; and finally, the combined effects of the leader's emotions and the emotions of the people being led by him/her ultimately spread to the business or organization. If the results are good, great for the team and the business; if poor, all will not augur well for the leader, the team and the business. They are all connected.

The question then becomes: How emotionally intelligent are you as a leader? What's your Emotional Quotient?

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