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Why Emotional Intelligence is Important in Leadership

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence: Today’s leaders face great challenges in their organizations. Professor Olga Canizares explains what they are and the needs they require.

We are all aware that we live in a changing, challenging world with many uncertainties. The business environment echoes this complexity and is continually evolving.

The society that we have built in this 21st century has been giving clear signals for some time of the great challenges that leaders who intend to manage organizations have to face. To do this, they have to go through acquiring and develop a series of competencies and skills that go beyond their academic training and work experiences.

Leaders must acquire and develop a series of competencies and skills that go beyond their academic training and their work experiences.

Organizations that are not constantly reviewing their plans and making the necessary adjustments will have little chance of survival. To do this, they will need leaders who have the capacity to adapt and are willing to manage change quickly and with little financial and emotional cost.

“Leadership is all about emotional Intelligence. Management is taught, while Leadership is experienced.” Rajeev Suri

The new Challenges:

These are some of the challenges that organizations and their leaders will have to face in 2021-22:

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence (Unsplash)

As we say, the complexity of these challenges goes through acquiring and developing new skills and abilities, one of them is Emotional Intelligence (EI), as the report published in the framework of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The Future of Jobs Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which distinguished the competencies that a leader should develop:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Creativity
  • Productive relationships
  • People management
  • Effective decision making
  • Service orientation
  • Negotiation
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Connectivity

Productive Communication:

Those leaders who choose to develop their emotional competencies will go through a process of personal transformation that will directly influence their Conscious Leadership.

We could say that each of the competencies that EI helps to develop goes through learning that yields a series of benefits:

The brio and drive of the 21st-century press with relentless force. Depending on the type of business, organization, and product or service that you want to offer, the human factor in companies will be a strategic business decision.

There will be fully automated models that seek efficiency in the processes; distribution, industrial processes, and others will need to support people over machines, to help personalize the customer experience and to make the organization a sustainable model.

New skills Leaders need:

Let’s look at situations in which leadership is going to need emotionally intelligent skills:

Conflict management, emotional self-regulation, empathy, and assertiveness are some of the skills that leaders need.

1. When the level of difficulty of a task is complex:

There is a lot of uncertainty, a lot of challenges and the processes are not clear, the possibility of conflicts appearing is much higher, and therefore, conflict management is an essential competence for leadership.

2. In the continuous adaptation to learning:

Being open to learning will no longer be a voluntary option, it will be practically part of our daily lives. The speed proposed by the innovation increases without giving us the power to slow it down and this speed generates states of anxiety and stress. Emotional self-regulation is basic and healthy for our ability to immediately adapt to the competition.

3. To understand the changes in roles and paradigms:

The roles with functions of authority have seen the disappearance of obedience and respectful submission to the superior. A paradigm of shared vision and aligned ideas is necessary, which is why it is necessary to replace the weight of the hierarchy with that of authority with the ability to manage human relationships.

4. In the encounter with diversity, equality, generational coexistence, and different cultures:

Women have been incorporated into the world of work in an integral way and without return, several generations work together in companies; Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation, therefore in many different practices and perspectives coexist and all bring with them different needs. Let us add that approximately 3 out of every 100 people in the world have left their countries to work in other territories, in companies in a place of cultural exchange and diversity that requires a high dose of listening, empathy, assertiveness, and communication for the meeting.

5. In the discovery of talent and vision:

A leader will need to find common ground with the people on his team, not only to align the vision but to avoid disagreements and blocking situations. Knowing their beliefs, values and mental models, self-knowledge will allow a more responsible leadership, emotionally healthy and of high value to the organization.

6. In the recruitment, development, management, and retention of talent:

In a connected society, in a network, individual motivation and creativity constitute a common good in all organizational profiles. Good leaders need to have personal, group, and strategic competencies to be able to give agile and flexible responses that generate a link between the project and the organization. Also, the organizational proposal has to be capable of generating self-motivation. Moreover, emotional commitment is directly linked to productivity.

We could continue to reveal scenarios in which a good development of emotional intelligence is essential for a conscientious leader. But it is likely that we will never end and also, if we are honest, we have no idea what is going to happen in the future.

We can train ourselves to be flexible, to be able to adapt, seek collaboration, and build social networks that are solid and sustainable. We can learn to distinguish flexibility, and adaptability and support each other, collaborate along the way, and build a solid social network. This is how this new”organizational algorithm” is, in which the sequence of instructions represents a solution model to put the person in the center, in the focus. And then, when we have already done it, we will have to be open to what follows and that is neither more nor less than the evolution to which we are already accustomed for millions of years.

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