Emotional intelligence is a crucial leadership skill. It allows leaders to pick up on people’s emotions, model the right behaviours and communicate strategically in different situations.
Entrepreneurs, executives and business owners who possess emotional resilience typically have no problem maintaining harmonious relationships with all stakeholders. Although high emotional intelligence is an asset, today’s rapidly changing business environment requires leaders to be the master of their emotions.
Leaders who possess emotional mastery can go one step further: use how they feel to their advantage and take inspired action.
We cannot stop ourselves from feeling sad, angry, anxious or fearful. Emotionally intelligent people understand that negative emotions must not be ignored but acknowledged. However, when business is not picking up, the board demands better performance or the economy is in doldrums, leaders face the most heat as they’re directly responsible for the company and its people.
During such troubling times, leaders with low emotional intelligence are likely to have outbursts that derail projects and put off staff. A high level of emotional intelligence is useful in avoiding emotional crescendos and motivating everyone to put their head down and work harder.
Leaders who have mastered their emotions are not only mindful of how they are feeling and control any emotional churn happening inside them, but also channel feedback from negative emotions to broaden their thinking and work towards resolving challenges. They also encourage and reinforce positive behaviour patterns in their employees, business partners and stakeholders impacted by the challenging environment. As a result:
- Employees meet stretch goals, feel motivated to think creatively, and step in to support one another without explicitly being asked.
- Suppliers, vendors and financiers cooperate and make adjustments to help businesses weather the storm.
- Leaders themselves can stay on the ball and take thoughtful, deliberate action that enables them to capitalize on opportunities.
- The business has the potential to emerge stronger, more adaptive and better poised for the future.
It must be added that emotional mastery also helps leaders sustain their personal energy and continue leading a peaceful, joyful life.