Emotional intelligence (EI) is the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. Two pieces of emotional intelligence are energy and maturity. Energy is the liveliness and stamina with which people approach their work. Maturity is described as people’s refinement, social graces, tact, capacity to grow and change, and ability to interpret signals from others. Both of these elements contribute to emotional intelligence. It is important to be aware of your inner emotional self to conduct yourself in the best manner when managing others.
Emotional intelligence is one of the more difficult concepts for individuals to understand, improve, and master. It is based on a variety of non-intellectual factors that can influence behavior. Some leaders are unaware of how their emotional intelligence affects their superiors and subordinates. In fact, many individuals will reassign negative outcomes and behaviors to those around them and be completely unaware of their personal effect on others’ actions.
Emotional intelligence is a relatively new concept in leadership, having only been studied since the early 1980s. Many definitions of EI can be found in the literature. Notably, the Institute for Health and Human Potential defines EI as the ability or capacity to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of oneself and of others. EI might also be thought of as having “street smarts.” Street smarts are those characteristics most often possessed by highly charismatic leaders that allow them to exercise savvy and poise in controlling relationships among outside agents and stakeholders. Executives possessing this ability have a better understanding of how to manage the complex relationships in teams and foster positive relationships with rivals while attaining control and collegiality among organizational members. Fostering EI in organizations and teams is an essential factor in successful organizations and should not be overlooked
The four salient constructs of the emotional intelligence model are (1) self-awareness, (2) self-management, (3) social awareness, and (4) social skills. These constructs are slanted toward the relational or “art” aspect of leadership. At the same time, these constructs can and should merge to form a secondary level of “intelligence” that is ever present and that monitors the technical and relationship orientations of the leader. Conscious engagement and mastery leads to subconscious implementation; this is the internal gyroscope that many successful leaders learn to depend upon. “Those who use the emotional intelligence framework to guide their thoughts and actions may find it easier to create trust in relationships, harness energy under pressure, and sharpen their ability to make sound decisions—in other words, they increase their potential for success in the workplace.” 24 The dynamic culture leader connects the four emotional intelligence constructs with this “internal gyroscope” to analyze him- or herself and the organization, and to merge the appropriate levels of science and art in creating an organizational culture that can withstand ever-changing environmental challenges.