What are the traits of a great team leader? When you ask most people this question, they will often give you obvious traits like industry experience, business acumen and analytical skills. They rarely include emotional intelligence, one of the most important traits of all.

In this post, we’re going to have a look at what emotional intelligence is and why every leader needs to be emotionally intelligent in order to succeed.

What is emotional intelligence?

In the business world, the concept of emotional intelligence (sometimes referred to as EQ) is defined as the ability to comprehend, control, and even develop your own feelings while at the same time being able to understand and manage other’s feelings.

IQ, on the other hand, is the measure of someone’s ability to reason. It stands for ‘intelligence quotient‘, and indicates how well someone can use information and logic to answer questions or make predictions.

Emotional intelligence for leaders

EQ has become an important trait in modern leadership.

It goes beyond the normal business management routine, and challenges leaders to become self-aware of their emotions and understand how these emotions affect others.

It helps them create positive results both at a personal level and for the entire team in general.

The skill of emotional intelligence can be broken down into 5 key elements that you can use to gauge your own EQ as a leader.

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is a very critical component as it helps you to evaluate and understand your strength and weaknesses. When you understand your high and lows, you are able to recognize how these emotions can affect you personally and the impact they would have on your team’s overall performance.

Self-awareness helps you to discover the best in you and push you bring out the best in others.

2. Self-regulation

As a leader, self-regulation is needed to help you maintain control of both yourself and your authority.

It will help you from abusing your powers and leadership privileges to sabotage the efforts of other team members, or even making critical decisions without proper consultation. It also helps you avoid micromanaging, one of the most dangerous management habits of all.

When you stay committed to your personal integrity, you will have the ability to control your emotions.

3. Motivation

When you are self-motivated, you will have high energy and positivity in achieving your goals. Self-motivated leaders with high emotional intelligence boost the morale of their team members, and motivate them to continue working hard so as to achieve the set targets and goals.

When you are self-motivated, you nurture a healthy emotional connection in yourself and also in your team members and you work with unwavering commitment to deliver results.

4. Social skills

Leaders who have good social skills are able to effectively communicate with their team members regarding any new project or development.

Regardless of the situation at hand, a leader who is emotionally intelligent knows how to put the message across to his subordinates whether they are good or bad news.

Social skills also help leaders to be good planners, manage transitions and it also gives them an upper hand when it comes to solving disputes that arise in the workplace.

5. Empathy

When a leader is empathetic, they are able to put themselves in other member’s situation and consider their unique circumstances. The emotions that we feel when we see other people suffering is what drives our compassion and desire to offer a helping hand.

A leader with high emotional intelligence is able to identify with other members situation and is able to support them either in their career or personal growth needs.

Team members who work with a compassionate leader are always more motivated and they develop more trust with their leaders. A 2016 Gallup study found that teams with high EQ managers had 24% to 59% less turnover than those with low EQ managers.

Develop your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence for leaders is a powerful attribute that leaders need to invest in so as to develop great working relationships where every worker feels motivated and taken care of. It also improves productivity and sets new standards for organizational culture.

If you want to learn more about emotional intelligence, and how you can strengthen your own EQ, an online leadership course can give you the tools and methods to do so.