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The Value of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders in 2023

The Value of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders in 2023

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the basis for empathy, allowing leaders to connect more easily with employees, solve conflicts, maintain harmonious relationships, diffuse tension, and invoke positive environments. 

Managers, leaders, and supervisors must find successful ways to connect with those on their team if they want to push them to reach their full potential. 

Read on to learn about EQ, why it matters, and what you can do to improve it in your leadership role.   


What Is EQ?

EQ refers to an individual's ability to correctly read the emotions of others, display emotions in a sensitive manner, and effortlessly connect with others emotionally. 

There are five basic types of EQ that Leaders should identify:

  • Self-awareness: Understanding and recognizing your own emotions and their impact on your choices and feelings and how they affect others. 

  • Self-regulation: Recognizing the most appropriate opportunity to share your emotions.

  • Motivation: Channeling your emotions towards more meaningful goals, accomplishments, and self-improvement. 

  • Empathy: Recognizing how those around you feel—and responding to those feelings accordingly and appropriately.

  • Social Skills: Packaging all of the other types of emotional intelligence together to better interact with your peers and colleagues to develop meaningful relationships and interactions.


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Why Is EQ Important In the Workplace?

Leaders need EQ because it helps them maintain a healthy self-awareness. When leaders display self-awareness, they can more easily reflect on their decisions, understand their minds, and manage their emotions. 

Leaders are continually reflecting on others. Employees can afford to focus primarily on themselves and their personal development, but a leader's job is to help each of their employees reach their full potential. To accomplish this, leaders must maintain a firm handle on their employees’ goals, feelings, and opinions. Once they understand their employees, they can appropriately communicate with them.

Communication is another critical reason why EQ is so valuable in leaders. While some employees prefer keeping to themselves, leaders must communicate daily. Managers can only hope to help their team succeed if they know how to relate to and interact with them. One significant piece of EQ involves recognizing how and when to talk to someone. 

Managers with substantial levels of EQ excel in bringing out the best in their employees through interaction. But they need to maintain this excellence when not face-to-face. Managers must learn how to send emails and written responses to individual employees effectively. 

Written communication can often be received in unintended ways. Some employees may find a response passive-aggressive when it was intended to be quick and to the point. Emotionally intelligent leaders have acquired a skill for recognizing these patterns and maintaining clarity even when sending written responses. A large part of improving this skill involves becoming more connected with your employees.

Building solid relationships is one of the most critical skills a leader can acquire. While garnering the necessary social skills to form relationships is crucial, crafting and maintaining those bonds is the key to connecting with your employees. 

Harvard Business Review conducted a survey spanning diverse industries and found that positive relationships significantly impacted job satisfaction. Even employees who worked trivial or tireless jobs were satisfied with their careers when they maintained strong relationships in the workplace. 

Strong relationships can improve company culture, boost retention, and form a foundation for better DEI standards

Social connection matters, and leaders need to set a precedent. Be examples by creating social opportunities for your employees, encouraging robust communication, and leading team-building activities to improve team-wide connection. 


How Can Leaders Improve EQ?

Improving EQ is a skill that any leader can acquire if they work hard and use the right resources. While these skills will come more naturally to some than others, all leaders must recognize the value of improving them. 

Here is a list of strategies you can use to build on your existing social skills and relate more easily to your team:

  1. Look inward: The first step in improving your EQ is understanding your inner workings. Focus on your feelings, why you feel that way, and what has prompted the feelings. Enhancing your sense of self will allow you to reflect more accurately on those around you. Consider reading Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradburry as a resource. 

  2. Practice: Every interaction is an opportunity to practice your social skills. Think about how certain situations make you feel, and then consider how this person may be similar or different from you. Focus on how these factors may affect how your employees react to a particular response. Lead with intent and understand that you may not get it right every time. 

  3. Listen: One of the best ways to improve your EQ is by taking a step back and listening. Hear what your employees say and allow them to do most of the talking. In meetings or 1:1s, focus on listening to your employees with intention. This will encourage your employees to open up to you. 

  4. Clarify: Don't be afraid to ask questions. Good communication revolves around clarity, and most miscommunication lies in misunderstanding the information being discussed. If you need help understanding, feel your employee needs clarification, or have questions regarding a vague topic, stop and ask for clarity. Before continuing a conversation, ensure that both parties are on the same page.  

  5. Focus on actions: The goal of improving EQ is to connect easily with your employees. And the purpose of this connection is to help your employees reach their potential. So if all else fails, focus on helping your employees reach their goals. Use your skills to discern what makes them tick and develop a pathway toward accomplishing their goals. 

  6. Request feedback: Sometimes, the only way to know how employees feel about your leadership abilities is to ask them. Use different feedback tools to gain as much insight as you can. Feedback can open your eyes to certain qualities or struggles you didn't realize. It is often difficult to know precisely how you come across to others. To combat this, use surveys and other tools to encourage honest feedback from your team.


Additional Resources

You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with leadership practices and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news

  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance

  • HR Guides—essential pillars covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics

  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics 

State of HR Report 2023

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