It is a well debated area as to what makes an effective leader but attributes such as high IQ, good technical ability and excellent communication skills often crop up when identifying what makes a highly effective leader.
However, there is a large body of research suggests that it is mainly ‘human skills’ that set effective leaders apart from the rest. These skills include confidence, commitment in achieving goals despite setbacks, staying calm under pressure and the ability to persuade and influence all members of the Company. The ability to be aware of your own emotions as well as understanding the situational context has been shown to be a powerful tool in leading a team.
Researchers have dubbed this behaviour as ‘emotional intelligence’, consisting of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. By being ‘emotionally savvy’, leaders are able to engage their team members in their work. Retention issues often stem from a lack of understanding from the leaders, resulting in disengagement and doubt. By adopting emotionally intelligent behaviour and attitudes, leaders can improve team members’ motivation, reduce staff turnover and improve productivity.
Emotional Intelligence is a skill which can be learnt; it is not necessarily innate. The four main competencies which can be developed in each leader are:
This can be broken down into ‘emotional self-awareness’ (the ability of a leader to recognise how their feelings affect them), and ‘self-confidence’ (having a kind of gravitas).
This includes abilities such as self-control and the ability to stay calm under pressure, especially during a crisis, as well as maintaining focus on the task at hand.
This includes abilities such as empathy; cognitive empathy (understanding how others think about the world) and emotional empathy (understanding immediately how other people feel).
This can be achieved through exceptional teamwork and collaboration, as well as identifying and facilitating any necessary change.
Emotional intelligence is not a pathway for leaders to manipulate team members into practices and decisions which are against their best interests. Instead leaders should consider the values associated with effective leadership, including employee motivation, improved job satisfaction and better employee wellbeing.
Essentially, being an effective leader is not so much about handling circumstances and people proficiently, but more about knowing how to and truly wanting to create an encouraging environment for people to work as a member of a team.
If you are interested in becoming a more effective leader, please contact us to discuss possible training and development options.