Leading with emotional intelligence is a critical factor in the success of your team, enabling you to develop trust, nurture engagement, and foster creative, innovative problem-solving.

by Sayo Afolayan
Date Published July 25, 2023 - Last Updated February 20, 2024

Pause. Take a few minutes to mentally review your team.

What is the overwhelming sense of your team? Decreased morale? Increasing levels of conflict? Diminished collaboration?

What do your numbers tell you?

Do you have low employee engagement scores? Higher turnover rates? Negative exit interview feedback?

Leading with emotional intelligence is a critical factor in the success of your team. There are two important pillars of high-performing teams: strong relationships and engaged team members. By using emotional intelligence-based leadership, you can develop high levels of trust and psychological safety, crucial elements in strong teams that collaborate effectively and achieve great results. Likewise, emotional intelligence enables you to nurture engaged team members who are more innovative and creative in problem solving. Organizations with engaged employees experience a 10% increase in customer loyalty and engagement, an 18% rise in productivity (sales) and a 23% boost in profitability. By embracing the strengths in emotional intelligent leadership, you are empowered to effectively establish these fundamental pillars of success within your team.

It Starts With You

Emotional intelligence-based leadership starts with you. You lead by example by exhibiting a high level of emotional intelligence and effectively applying it in your leadership role. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. This means, in addition to the results, you also place significant value on the well-being and the healthy emotional states of your team members. Furthermore, you prioritize creating an environment where individuals feel valued and empowered. Take a few minutes to answer these questions:

  • Are you attuned to your own emotions and capable of self-awareness?
  • Can you recognize and support the emotions, perspectives, and experiences of others, demonstrating empathy?
  • Do you genuinely want to build relationships with others by showing genuine interest, trust, respect, and open communication?
  • Do you pay attention to the emotional dynamics of your team and organization?

If you are lacking in any of these dimensions, it is important to be proactive in growing your emotional intelligence skills. As you continuously develop your emotional intelligence skills, you become a more impactful and effective leader.

How Emotional Intelligence Enhances Team Success

Emotional intelligence-based leadership has a profoundly beneficial impact on teams. These are five key ways.

Improved Communication

Individuals with high levels of emotional intelligence are very empathetic, skilled at active listening, and genuinely seek to understand others’ perspectives. This leads to increased communication effectiveness and a decrease in misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Moreover, organizations can save up to 17.5 hours per week (40% of the work week) with this reduction in communication inefficiencies.

Enhanced Teamwork and Collaboration

Emotionally intelligent leaders create an environment of psychological safety and trust within their teams. This is done by valuing individual contributions, recognizing and considering their emotions, feelings and needs, and being receptive to open dialogue. This supportive environment allows everyone to confidently contribute, free of the fear of ridicule or shame from colleagues or other members of the organization. They feel more comfortable with each other and connect better, leading to improved collaboration and teamwork. Also, because team members feel respected and safe, they share their creativity with the organization5, enhancing innovation and creative problem solving.

Better Conflict Management

Leaders with high emotional intelligence handle conflict and disagreement in a constructive and empathetic manner. They value the perspectives and emotions of others, actively seeking for win-win solutions through open dialogue. By creating a safe and respectful environment, emotional intelligence-based leadership encourages team members to resolve conflict with tactics that are constructive and empathetic.

Increased Employee Engagement and Motivation

An emotionally intelligent leader recognizes and understands the unique needs of team members. Their approach is personalized, providing tailored activities and opportunities that support, recognize, and appreciate individuals. This, in turn, results in highly engaged team members who will take initiative and go the extra mile to help achieve the team objectives and goals.

Effective Decision-Making

In decision-making, an emotionally intelligent leader considers not only the fact but also the emotions and perspectives of others. By doing so, the leader sets an example of how to make better, well-rounded, and inclusive decisions. This inclusive mindset when making decisions inspires team members, leading to better decisions that are inclusive and collaborative, enhancing the effectiveness of the team.

* * * * *

In leadership, there are many heralded approaches such as transformational leadership, level-five leader, servant leadership, situational leadership, and emotional intelligence-based leadership. Rather than looking at each in isolation, recognize the value of each approach and leverage their respective strengths to make a profound impact on the success of your team. Utilizing the strengths of emotional intelligence-based leadership is a valuable asset for a leader who wants to create a high-performing, successful team.

Tag(s): supportworld, leadership, performance management, people


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