Emotional intelligence is more important than ever for executive leaders. At a time when the business world seems to be increasingly turbulent and cutthroat, doing good work and keeping top talent depend on emotionally aware leadership teams.
Talent hits the door while results slump in workplaces devoid of emotional leadership, putting hard numbers around “soft” business practices. By understanding all of the places having emotional intelligence counts in business, it can take its rightful place as an important skill set for executive leaders to cultivate.
Emotional intelligence begins with being aware of oneself and one’s surroundings, especially in terms of ability to perform. Self-centered, arrogant, or indifferent leaders generally don’t have a firm grasp on their own strengths and weaknesses or the power of their team. Without being able to accurately calculate performance based on personal skill sets and team abilities, it sets businesses up for making poor choices in highly competitive settings such as those that must be managed now.
Executives also have to be able to make sound decisions about business operations. In addition to cultivating awareness, to make good operational choices executives need to be able to effectively gather reliable information. This involves the emotionally intelligence skills of awareness and empathy, particularly empathetic listening. Hearing what people are saying with their words is one thing, but decoding what they are saying with their body language, intonation, and message patterns to understand the real meaning behind the words is something else entirely. Only by learning to truly listen to their team can executives tap into the emotionally rich data feeds that can guide them to better decisions.
Along with good decision making, executives face the challenge of maintaining talent pipelines. This requires multiple skills from the emotional side of the charts – relating to others, communicating effectively, leading and influencing others. Executives who can’t relate seem distant, those who can’t communicate cause crises of understanding, and those who can’t persuade talent of their potential future with the company are left with vacancies.
All in all, emotional intelligence is anything but fluffy psychology. It ties in closely with key business processes and objectives. Making the bottom line numbers and ensuring the loyalties of star performers are critical for the long term success or failure of the business, ensuring that top executives need to pay attention to the relational side of things. Rather than shoving emotional aspects aside in tough times like the present, leaders need to ensure their grow not just their technical skill sets, but also train themselves to rely on their emotional intelligence.