Emotional intelligence and leadership

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“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision, or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through the emotions.”

How to be an emotional intelligent leader? Although there is no formula to be a great leader,  Primal Leadership: realizing the power of emotional intelligence book, by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie Mckee (2002), could be a good start.  The book explores cases studies open-loop system on leadership, or in order words, how our mood impact people around us. “We relay on connections with other people for our own emotional stability.” Leader has more influence, and their word, more weight, on their followers, so a positive emotion could drive commitment and productivity.

The main point of the book is to show emotional task as primal dimension of leadership.  “Understanding the powerful role of emotions in the workplace sets the best leader apart from the rest.” According to the authors leaders influence through emotions, and they should be able to drive collective emotions in a positive direction (resonance) and smooth the way toxic emotions (dissonance).

Self-awareness is the most critical skill because it is related to knowing ourselves. We as leader are the primary source, our own primary tool, to work with people. As paying attention in ourselves we can understand others.  Self-awareness is the ability to perceive emotions.  As differential, “self-aware people typically find time to reflect quietly, often off by themselves, which allows them to think things over rather than react impulsively”. The secret is to know what thing triggers our emotions.

Another personal competence is self-management, described as the leader’s primal challenge. There are many factors that could influence on this process. Confrontation, disagreeable people are some example that usually provoke irritation. Learning how to control emotions in these situations is fundamental to set up the positive environment, and stay in a respected position.  “No leader can afford to be controlled by negative emotions, such as frustration and rage or anxiety and panic.”

Social awareness is the third dimension, and it is related to empathy. “By being attuned to how others feel in the moment, a leader can say an do what’s appropriate – whether is to be to calm fears, assuage anger, or join in good spirits.”  Empathize with others helps leader to inspire, motivate and guide team.

 Review – Primal Leadership book is a vital reading for all kind of leaders. Besides explaining the concept and importance of emotional intelligence, and how to become a resonant leader through self-directed learning, the book has as plus a detailed section focused on how applying those concepts, and helping leader to build emotionally intelligence organizations.