Emotions - Using Them with Intelligence

I remember a time when the leaders in a large company I worked for were very authoritarian, they spent most of their time behind closed doors, with only a select few gaining access to them. Every so often we’d hear them barking orders, most of us were terrified of them.

Times have certainly changed.

In today’s world, successful leaders can be found chatting to the most junior of staff. Communication is their leadership tool of choice. They know how to communicate well and their leadership is very effective as a result.

How are your communication skills?

Communication isn’t only about words, it’s about emotion. The way we communicate impacts how well we connect with others, it impacts how we make them feel.

As the great Maya Angelou said; 'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

It’s the truth, human beings are emotional, our day to day life is governed by our emotions, even at work.

You will often hear people say ‘it just doesn’t feel right’, ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this’ or similar types of expressions.

The business world is also governed by emotions. If you don’t agree, take a look at the commercials next time you’re watching television. Most advertisements do not focus on the product they are selling, instead they focus on how you will feel if you buy those products. We don’t always like to admit that emotions play a role in business but the evidence is there.

Once you understand the role of emotions in business, it is easy to understand the vital importance of emotional intelligence in leadership.

If you’re not familiar with Emotional Intelligence, here is a brief run down.

Emotional Intelligence gives us the ability to recognise emotions in ourselves and in others. It also gives us the cognitive skills to manage our own emotions and to influence the emotional responses of others.

It includes the following three skills:

  1. 1. Emotional Awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and the emotions of others.
  2. 2. You have the ability to harness your emotions and focus on tasks such as thinking and problem solving.
  3. 3. You are able to manage and regulate your own emotions and help to stabilise the emotions of those around you.
There is a clear connection between your level of emotional intelligence and your ability to lead others effectively. Like leadership, emotional intelligence begins with the self. A great leader will have a clear awareness of their own emotions and an understanding of the emotions of those around them. They can identify not only their own strengths and weaknesses but also the fears and concerns of those they lead.

This awareness gives them the ability to have empathy and understanding for team members, conflict is reduced and trust is built.


Alison Vidotto is the award winning author of 22 Leadership Fundamentals; the Door to Success says Push! A leadership keynote speaker and trainer, CEO of Vidotto Group and Founder of the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam (www.accv.net.au) Alison has a passion for leadership and development, both within herself and in others. She writes leadership articles for the Australian Business Women's Network (http://www.abn.org.au/blog-list/leadership/) Alison has also been published in the...

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