It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.”
~ David Caruso

There are numerous qualitative traits that make up an effective leader – charisma, vision, determination, etc. These traits are not only well-known, but also well-understood. However, another key, yet sometimes overlooked, factor when looking at effective leadership is – emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence centers on one’s ability to not only manage and understand our own emotions, but also those of the people around us. This quality allows us to influence others and manage personal relationships. Although everyone has some level of emotional intelligence, effective leadership requires the leader to be well-skilled in this arena. A leader who has high levels of emotional intelligence can facilitate teamwork, inspire their employees, cultivate creativity, and motivate increased productivity.

Traits of Emotional Intelligence for Effective Leadership

There are five primary traits of emotional intelligence, you need to develop to truly become an effective leader:

  1. Self awareness – Leaders who have high levels of emotional intelligence know their strengths, known their weaknesses, and can recognize these emotions as they are happening to themselves.
  2. Self regulation – Emotional intelligence also includes the ability to self regulate. Effective leaders control their emotions; they do not allow their emotions to control them. With emotional intelligence comes a leader’s ability to think before he acts on emotion-driven impulse.
  3. Superior communication skills – Effective leadership centers on communication, and superior communication skills is a key trait in those with emotional intelligence. Leaders must be able to concisely and clearly convey their thoughts and directions to others, in order to inspire them to action.
  4. Social awareness – Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence are able to empathize with those around them. They do not judge others too quickly and put themselves in the other person’s shoes. They strive to truly understand the needs and wants of others to best align their mutual goals.
  5. True team players – Emotional intelligence is seen in effective leaders who are true team players. They understand: “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM.’” They will often put aside their immediate personal wants or needs for the greater good of the organization, knowing in the end the rewards will be much richer than the instant gratification of being selfish. This serves as a role model for others, who then follow suit.

Developing these five traits is critical for effective leadership.

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (623)340-7690.