inclusive leadership:leveraging on emotional intelligence for effective leadership.


In today’s society, emotional intelligence has become a must-have for everyone, inclusive of leaders, as it affects the way you feel personally, how you interact with others, how you make decisions, and how others perceive you. In today’s corporate world, business savvy, analytical skills, experience, and vision are all attributes associated with the best employees, directors, executives and organizational leaders.
However, emotional intelligence is an overlooked quality, which is found in the most successful leaders/bossesbosses/team leads and this has necessitated various organizations to look beyond technical and business development skills.
So let’s delve right into what emotional intelligence entails, how it affects one’s ability to lead and work with others and how it can be improved. This topic will be addressed from an organizational perspective and through the mirror of the larger society.

Daniel Goleman defines it as “the ability to identify, assess and control one’s own emotions, the emotion of others and that of groups.”
Emotional intelligence is the self-awareness and proper management of one’s own feelings to enable smooth relationships with others. Emotionally intelligent people are aware of their own feelings and the emotions of others and that makes it easy for them to relate and work well with others.
Emotional intelligence has the following components:

Self-awareness – ability to recognise and understand personal moods, emotions and drives and the effect of them on both self and others.

Self-regulation – entails the ability to delay action to allow time for thought.

Internal motivation – entails working with and for an inner vision of what is important, a curiosity and desire for learning and development, a drive that goes beyond external rewards such as money or status.

Empathy – ability to understand the emotional make-up of others and the skill to treat people according to their emotional reactions.

Social skills – the ability to manage relationships, build networks, find common ground and build rapport.

Before this is addressed, it is necessary to first come to a consensus that EI is essential for effective leadership before even asking why. (illustration/example)

ORGANISATIONAL PERSPECTIVE Leaders who possess high emotional intelligence lead and work well with others. They are sensitive to the outlook of their team members and can detect when there is disconnect. Such leaders possess high degree of empathy which allows them to empathize with others.

Possessing high EI quotient goes beyond having excellent social skills and empathizing with employees. A leader who is emotionally intelligent is often effective in leadership, because they accept their own shortcomings and welcome feedback from others.

Another valuable skill emotionally intelligent leaders possess is the ability to communicate well – they listen to their team members and appreciate their ideas as well as express their expectations from the team.

Also, ideas from team members are not ridiculed even if it is not feasible. This manner of leading enable employees and co-workers willing to share their views or initiatives on how to move the business forward and this positively impacts organizational profitability.

HOW EMPLOYERS/BOSSES CAN SHOW EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE – Connect with employees/co-workers/subordinates on a personal level
Give accolades when due.
Communicate properly.

PERSPECTIVE – THE SOCIETY Most Nigerian politicians (I’m not sorry to say) are not even good leaders, let alone possessing emotional intelligence.
Policies are churned out without sensitivity to the interest of the masses, and the outcome of such decisions usually tell badly on the masses.

Illustration 1: the ban of registered e-hailing okadas – what was needed in this instance was regulation and not a ban.
Illustration 2: the circular on eligible cars for e-hailing companies.
Illustration 3: looting and hoarding of palliatives.
Illustration 4: favouritism in political appointments.

HOW TO IMPROVE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE The interesting thing about EI is that it can be improved. The realization for the need of improvement must first be embraced before any other thing. Emotional intelligence has a nexus with the golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated.

Sara Canaday – a leadership speaker and author, suggests that if you’re quick to anger, you might find outlets to control it, such as mindfulness exercises or yoga (I’ll include read related books on the subject).

Robin Stern – associate director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, suggests taking the time to respond to a trigger. This can allow you to better manage your response, rather than jumping to hurt or anger immediately.

It is only when leaders possess emotional intelligent that inclusive leadership is feasible, as they would be sensitive to the outlook and welfare of their followers. Emotional intelligence has a nexus with the golden rule – treat others the way you want to be treated. If everyone abides by the golden rule, then the world would be a better place for all.

About the Author
Blessing Udo is a brand protection lawyer with particular interest on how businesses can leverage intellectual property for business growth. She is a first-class graduate of the Nigerian Law School and an associate with the law firm of Jackson, Etti and Edu, a leading Nigerian law firm known for its robust and top-notch intellectual property practice, where she advises clients on intellectual property, brand protection, manages clients IP portfolio and also engages in data protection audits.
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