Which of the 12 competencies of emotional intelligence do leaders need to be successful?

How Emotionally Intelligent Is Your Leadership Team?

Emotional Intelligence. It’s an essential quality for anyone to have, but it is absolutely vital for leaders in business. Managing teams requires not only managing your own emotional wellbeing, but that of your employees and sometimes your clients, which isn’t an easy thing to do. In fact, a study published in Great Place to Work indicates that only 16% of American employees feel that they are “flourishing” in their jobs. Now, that number looks grim, but in companies that value Emotional Intelligence in their leadership roles, it increases significantly, to over 50%. These numbers show that leadership teams who make employees feel cared for and valued give their employees a greater sense of meaning in their jobs, which in turn increases productivity and employee retention.

But what is “Emotional Intelligence,” and what do you do if you feel like it’s not something that comes naturally to you? The Harvard Business Review breaks down the concept of Emotional Intelligence into four domains: self -awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Those domains are then further broken down into 12 competencies: emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, positive outlook, empathy, organizational awareness, influence, coaching and mentorship, conflict management, teamwork, and inspirational leadership. Ideally, a leader would be competent in all the above, but realistically, most everyone is more skilled in some aspects of emotional intelligence than others. For example, if a leader is a strong conflict manager, she might be skilled in giving people unpleasant feedback, knowing she can seamlessly handle any fallout. However, if someone is more of an influencer, he may prefer leading by example. Neither is incorrect, but increasing your competency levels in BOTH will help you recognize the situations where one strategy might be more effective than another.

But before you can work on improving your emotional intelligence, it’s helpful to take stock of where your current strengths lie. Simply reflecting on the categories above can be a good metric (if emotional self-awareness is already one of your strengths), but more quantifiable options exist as well. Probably the most widely available of these options is the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence test (often called MSCEIT), but a quick google search yields dozens of other choices that you can use to suit the specific needs of your business.

So now you know what emotional intelligence is and how it breaks down. Maybe you’ve even reflected on your own strengths and weakness or taken an assessment that highlights which areas you need to work on. Your question now is, “how do I do that?” Well, much of it begins with reflection, and a lot of it. Reflect on your emotions and how they affect your actions, reflect on the feedback you get from others, practice active listening, empathize, and try to be as open-minded as possible. These things sound simple but doing them continuously and skillfully in the midst of trying to hit deadlines and other workplace goals is tricky. And that’s where we can help too! Elevating the emotional intelligence of our members is one of the core missions of EFBC, we believe that developing EI skills is essential for personal and professional growth. We’re committed to providing opportunities for our members to enhance these competencies in every aspect of our programming. This includes everything from our Forums both Full and Flex to our workshops, seminars, curriculum, leadership series, roundtables, and committees. Thus, if you’re looking for a more involved (and fun!) way to beef up those Emotional Intelligence competencies, come out and join us!