In a world where change is the only constant, where ambiguity reigns supreme, and where diversity is celebrated, the one skill that sets great leaders apart is Emotional Intelligence (EI, often referred to as EQ*). Yes, you heard it right! It’s not just about intelligence, subject matter expertise or technical prowess anymore; it’s about understanding and managing emotions – both yours and those of others – to navigate through the complexities of modern-day workplaces.

  • The ability to understand and manage your emotions, as well as recognise and influence the emotions of those around you.

Picture this: you’re leading a large, diverse team, and a project hits a roadblock. The pressure is on, deadlines are looming, and tensions are running high. What sets apart a leader who crumbles or explodes under the stress from the one who rises to the occasion? It’s their emotional intelligence at play.

EI isn’t just some buzzword thrown around in self-help books; it’s a game-changer in the realm of leadership and organisational capability. Research shows that leaders with high EI are not only better at managing their own emotions but also excel in understanding and influencing the emotions of their team members. It has a ripple effect.

In today’s diverse and dynamic workplaces, where collaboration is key and adaptability is a must, EI is your secret weapon. It’s what helps you connect with colleagues from different backgrounds, navigate through change with ease, and foster an environment where everyone feels valued and understood.

But emotional intelligence isn’t just about warm fuzzies and feel-good vibes. It’s a hardcore business strategy with tangible results. Studies have shown that leaders with higher EI are more effective at boosting morale, increasing employee engagement, and driving productivity. In fact, EI is more than twice as important as IQ and technical ability when it comes to driving performance. Thousands of academic studies have demonstrated the predictive power of EI in job performance, leadership potential and employability. In fact, Daniel Goleman reports EI makes a 90% difference between star leaders and average ones.

If you’re thinking, “Can’t we just rely on AI to handle all this emotional stuff?” Think again. While AI is great at crunching numbers and analysing data, it still has a long way to go when it comes to understanding the intricacies of human emotions. That’s where emotionally intelligent leaders shine – in their ability to navigate the complex landscape of human interactions with finesse and empathy.

Here are some ways to develop your EI:

  1. Develop self-awareness – pay attention to your emotions and thoughts, and how you behave
  2. Practice active listening with others – listening with curiosity, not judgement – seek to understand
  3. Put yourself in others’ shoes -what is their angle and what is important to them
  4. Be clear and concise with your communication, say what is relevant to the situation or the goal
  5. Employ wellbeing strategies and manage your stress
  6. Seek and be open to feedback

So, what’s the bottom line here? Cultivating emotional intelligence isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have for anyone looking to thrive in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world. And the best part? It’s a skill that can be learned and honed with coaching, practice and dedication.


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