My last column was about the power of storytelling. About how communication skills powered with storytelling help upskill your ability to reach out to people in an engaging and meaningful way. Short, crisp, purpose-driven business stories foster team engagement, increase productivity and inspire people to action.
Today, we will take a look at emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is something that can be practised and learnt. It makes us much more self-aware, resilient and self-controlled. In this ever-changing post-pandemic world, it is an essential quality in a good leader.
Emotional intelligence helps us direct our emotions in a positive way and communicate more effectively. It helps us to be appreciative of others’ points of view without being biased or judgemental. It helps us empathise with others and does not push us to unnecessary conflicts.
The world is going through a lot of change, and many of us undergo some kind of crisis on a daily basis, be it at work or off work. A person with a high level of emotional intelligence is bound to manage such situations with calmness, ease and maturity as they are more aware of themselves. They know reacting in a crisis does not necessarily help resolve a crisis. Instead, being calm and poised and thinking through a solution may be a better alternative. This trait can thus help us to adapt to many situations without getting tense.
Years of experience show that a leader with high emotional intelligence drives motivation in their team, resulting in higher productivity and performance. They are able to take criticism with a positive mindset and act on it.
Here are a few benefits of having higher emotional intelligence and how it might benefit your organisation.
1. Better control in difficult situations
High emotional intelligence will help you to be in control while handling difficult situations. It is not about the crisis all the time. As you walk through the corporate world, you’ll face tough situations every day. If you have more emotional resilience, your ability to navigate through these situations will be easier; it will cause you less stress. It will give you the mental strength of not acting in haste or emotionally as such reactions often trigger a situation towards negativity instead of resolving it.
2. Fosters teamwork
I am not against conflicts; they are often good if handled maturely. A team with high emotional intelligence generally drives better teamwork. It allows everyone to share their ideas without the fear of being judged. People feel better as they are listened to. They feel valued and respected for their contribution.
3. Drives a positive work environment
No one wants to be part of a toxic culture. No one comes to the workplace to generate negativity. People with high emotional intelligence surely foster a better work environment. They help in boosting the morale of the team and motivate other members. And we all know that a positive work atmosphere results in higher productivity.
4. You can be the change agent
Change is constant in corporate life. Every day, many organisations are going through a transformation. Sometimes changes can be unnerving and can shake people up. When you develop high emotional intelligence, it helps you to look at things from a different perspective.
Instead of getting tense or reacting, you will start to see things from a different perspective and might even start appreciating the need for those changes. Every organisation needs people who can drive changes. You can be that change agent to accelerate the need for change, creating a positive effect on other employees.
5. You can be the connector
One of the important leadership traits is to be a connector between various people or teams. A person with high emotional intelligence is generally calmer and can act as a good connector. People trust them more versus a person who is emotionally reactive.
Many organisations are putting in a lot more effort to select candidates with high emotional intelligence. Organisations are taking a closer look at a candidate’s ability to manage themselves during stress — how they deal with their emotions and come across to others. While I agree that how one measures that could be subjective, you can’t ignore the fact that when you demonstrate high emotional intelligence you can regulate and manage your emotions better. You can demonstrate that you are in control and you are self-aware.
And since it can be developed, why not start building this skill right from the day you start your corporate journey?
As Adam Grant said, “Some of the greatest moments in human history were fuelled by emotional intelligence.”
In the next article, I will share tips on leading from the heart.
Partha Sarathi Basu has worked in leadership positions at Coca-Cola, Whirlpool, IFB group, Tata group, Spicejet and AkzoNobel. He is currently associated with a leading consulting firm apart from being a leadership coach. He is the author of five books based on his corporate and life experiences. A die-hard Calcuttan, he now lives in Amsterdam.