When you think of a “perfect leader,” what comes to mind?
You might picture someone who never lets his temper get out of control, no matter what problems he’s facing. Or you might think of someone who has the complete trust of her staff, listens to her team, is easy to talk to, and always makes careful, informed decisions.
These are qualities of someone with a high degree of emotional intelligence.
In this article, we’ll look at why emotional intelligence is so important for leaders – and how you, as a leader, can improve yours.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they’re feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.
For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a leader who shouts at his team when he’s under stress, or a leader who stay in control, and calmly assesses the situation?
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize EI, there are five main elements of emotional intelligence:
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