Emotionally Intelligent People Are The Future Leaders

In our time, more and more big companies looking for suitable employees, who with their knowledge and experience will raise both the profile and the profit of a company. However, staff managers and recruiters claim that despite the high standards of candidates and the heavy folders with the degrees and master’s degrees, the new employees prove to be incompetent or they need extra training and, for that reason, big companies are constantly in the hunt to the ideal employee. But, since the experience and the degrees don’t seem to always form successful working teams then, what defines an ideal employee?

The answer comes indirectly, with many managers asking their employees to “perceive and adapt to the situations of the working environment, to maintain the balance in their relationships with the other employees and of course, to take the right decisions for the benefit of the business.”

Τhe ability to adapt to situations, to maintain balance and, to make the right decisions are qualifications that someone cannot learn in a university no matter if they study for 4 or 44 years! Either you have these qualities inherently or you work with yourself to acquire them. There are great minds out there, who have studied at the best universities but yet, they lose their temper when something goes wrong. So, what does this mean? It means that smart and educated people will not necessarily be adaptable, productive and efficient employees.

And, here it comes the basic question. What gives someone these qualities that many smart people do not have and, why such individuals are the future leaders?

Emotional Intelligence!

Emotional Intelligence is a term that entered our vocabulary in 1995 with the book of the author and science journalist Daniel Goleman, ”Emotional Intelligence”. Although many scientists of that time rushed to criticize his claims that non-cognitive skills can matter as much as IQ for workplace success, his book stayed on the list of best sellers in New York Times for more than one year! Today, it seems that his claims can prove him right!

5 main components form emotional intelligence!

According to Goleman, a person is defined as emotional intelligent when they can recognize their emotions or the emotions of others and, use these emotional information to control their thinking and adapt their behavior according to the circumstances. There are 5 main components that make up such emotionally intelligent individuals.

1. Self-awareness

What if you studied at Harvard, what if you have a master in communication, if you cannot recognize your feelings and how they affect you then, chances are you’ll face difficulties in both your personal and professional life. However, emotional intelligent people go beyond recognising their emotions; They are aware of how their actions affect other people’s emotions thus, they adapt their behavior according to what they want to achieve.

Another trait of self-aware people is that they know their strengths and weaknesses thus, they are always open to learn more, while at the same time they tactfully refuse to take on more responsibilities than they can handle. This way, they save themselves not only from tones of workload but also from damaging their reputation as unreliable individuals.

Self -aware people are usually confident in their abilities, have great sense of humor, they hear more than they speak, they think before they speak, they categorize their emotions and the emotions of others so they can ”predict” others behavior based on their feelings, they understand how others perceive them, and above all, they understand the basic idea that emotions are thoughts, too! 

2. Empathy

Empathy is one of the most critical elements of emotional intelligence. The ability to understand how other people feel and to respond in a way that you show them you care about their problem or you understand their point of view is what brings people closer together and creates healthy and balanced human relationships. You don’t have to agree with the others all the time, though. The important thing here is to understand and respect their personality and what they are going through. Plus, empathy helps you understand better the dynamics of human relationships, either at workplace or in your personal life and, this can only be of your advantage!

3. Self-regulation

By far the most difficult part of emotional intelligence! Recognising your feelings and empathising other people are usually not enough to make you stand out from the crowd. You have also to learn how to control those feelings by controlling your thoughts! And, this is not an easy task!

Anyone can become angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy.

Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethics

It may takes years for an individual to recognise their feelings, track them down to the source and change the thoughts connected to those feelings. For example, how many people have the self-control to translate the negative criticism made by others as a lesson to be learnt, instead of giving vent to their anger? Few. How easy it is for you to avoid a quarrel with someone you know is jealous of you, instead of giving them a piece of your mind? Not easy!  However, it is worth it to try to learn how to control your thoughts because this will be your power against the others. Not to mention how life-saving can be proved to tricky situations! Sometimes, silence is gold!

4. Social skills

Combining all the three above, we come to social skills! A person who is self-aware, shows empathy and knows how to control their thoughts, feelings and reactions is a master of social skills! They can stand in every occasion, they can provide solutions to different problems, they behave as the peace maker of a team not as the troublemaker, they maintain balance among different personalities, they are good listeners, good communicators, other people trust them and rely on them and, as employees, they are the lifesaver of a company!

5. Motivation

You may wonder why the motivations of an individual play a role to their emotional intelligence. Actually, motivations are the great force that either can help someone or destroy them. This is why it is very important to be aware of your motivations before you make any decisions in your personal or professional life. Behind many people’s professional choices, there is usually money, fame, recognition or power motivation. Even though money and fame are strong motives for someone to make them work hard, they usually bring a lot of competition, stress, and frustration, making the person less creative and productive.

On the other hand, emotionally intelligent people have completely different and unusual motives when they decide to take action. Their greatest motivation is to fullfill their inner need for knowledge and experience! The real reward for them is not money or fame but, the fact that they progress mentally and psychologically and they win their biggest competitor…themselves! This makes them action-oriented (they know what they want to do), higly focused (they follow a step by step guide to reach their goals and they are not afraid or disappointed by any setbacks), and committed until to the very end (failure it’s not an option!)

Put all these together and will easily come to the conclusion that eq is equal important – if not more important – to iq.

Very simple, these features employers ask for, are leaders’ traits, not employees’ traits. Their main difference is that employees have learned to follow instructions, while leaders are good to guide others! This is why there are more people who ask for a job than those who offer a job!

But, here it comes another question…Why should someone with these capabilities choose to provide their services for the benefit of an employer while they can use them to start their own business? Could this explain why employers cannot find easily employees to meet these qualifications? And, there is another thing to consider…

If smart and emotionally intelligent people choose to close the door to what we know today as ”big companies” and, follow their dreams and intuition to build their own career, could that be the end of those companies, and the emerging of new innovative ones? Could current valuable employees be the future leaders? The internal crisis in huge brand names the last years shows that the state of things has begun to change in this direction…

Sotia Bella