Managing your emotional intelligence


The subject of emotional intelligence is now being considered a critical aspect of any leader.

What is Emotional intelligence and what competencies are required in order for one to be emotionally intelligent?

Salovey and Mayer (1990) define emotional intelligence  as the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. 

It has been argued that having such ability plays a significant role in distinguishing between exceptional leaders and mere leaders as well as creating an environment conducive for high productivity. What emotional intelligence competences are critical to the success of a leader in this ever-changing world? This week’s instalment will explore some of these competences and highlight how critical they are to an effective leader.

The following outlines are a set of five emotional intelligence competencies that have proven to contribute more to workplace achievement than technical skills, cognitive ability, and standard personality traits combined.  The competencies are grouped into two main categories which are the social competencies and personal competences.

Social Competencies are those competencies that determine how we handle relationships.

Intuition & Empathy. This has to do with our awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns. It is important in the workplace for the following reasons.

Understanding others: An intuitive sense of others’ feelings and perspectives, and showing an active interest in their concerns and interests. Unless we put ourselves in our colleagues’ shoes, we will not be able to relate well with them. This goes beyond the job itself and focuses on the social wellbeing of fellow workers.

Customer service orientation: The ability to anticipate, recognise, and meet customers’ needs. The existence of every organisation is dependent on the customer that we are there to serve.  Failure to give due recognition to our customers will do a lot of harm to the organisation. So it is critical to pay attention to their needs and be able fulfil even their unexpressed needs.

People development: Ability to sense what others need in order to grow, develop, and master their strengths. Development of employees is critical in taking care of the social wellbeing of employees. Identifying employee competences and nurturing them is an important ingredient to the fulfilment of the organisation’s social responsibility to its employees.

Personal Competencies—Competencies that Determine How We Manage Ourselves

Self-Awareness: Knowing one’s internal state, preferences, resources, and intuitions.

This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons:

Emotional awareness: This has to do with recognising one’s emotions and their effect and impact on those around us. Having such ability is critical in that it enables us to gauge how we react to others in our interactions with them. Realising the impact of our emotions on others will assist us determining the best way to respond to situations that may arise.

Accurate self-assessment: This is about knowing one’s strengths and limits. There is no one who knows us better than ourselves. Getting to know what we are good at and the areas that we need assistance helps to us put ourselves in the right position. We will cultivate humility to accept assistance from others even though they are our juniors.

Self-Regulation. Managing one’s internal states, impulses, and resources. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons:

Self-control: This involves managing disruptive emotions and impulses.

Trustworthiness: Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.

Conscientiousness: taking responsibility and being accountable for personal performance.

Adaptability: flexibility in handling change.

Paying attention to these competencies is critical in fostering a work environment that results in high productivity in an environment that brings everyone together. It is therefore important for every leader to gain knowledge and understanding of how emotional intelligence impacts on the organisation.

Paul Nyausaru is an HR Practitioner and leadership coach. For all your HR interventions and leadership development training you can get in touch with him on WhatsApp/call 0774062756 or email pnyausaru@gmail.com

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