Insightful BlogsNovember 30, 2022

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is key to business leadership

Although profit margins, boardroom strategies and digital transformation dominate business thinking in today’s market, there is one aspect directly linked to leadership that has the potential to make or break companies – emotional intelligence, otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ.

As a leader in the human capital management space and our position as a trusted advisor to companies and organisations, we are mindful of the relevance of EQ in business.

We follow many online references and definitions of EQ, including one by helpguide.co.za as “the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.”

It speaks to almost all so-called soft skills that business leaders must possess in order to fulfil their duties.

The fact remains, even with all the digital infrastructure in place and channels of communication that now define modern business management, leaders need to understand people and how to engage them effectively.

Indeed.com explains it well: “Emotional intelligence is important at work so you can perceive, reason with, understand and manage the emotions of yourself and others. Being able to handle emotions gives you the ability to guide and help people, and it can help you be happier and more successful.”

Sounds rational, but does it actually matter?

By all accounts the answer is yes – and one of the main reasons is because leaders cannot actually lead without influencing. And to influence effectively (which ultimately means you have the ability to get the best out of a person) requires self-awareness and emotional intelligence to understand why employees behave in a certain manner or feel a certain way.

This is a skill that can be taken to the market. The ability to ‘read’ people can be used as a really effective tool in sales – it makes sense because the seller can accurately assess moods, feelings and vibes and use this to their advantage.

Why is it relevant? Well, we all know that human resources has changed radically because of COVID-19. Remote work, hybrid business connection and revised company policy now define business management. Soft skills are going to matter more going forward, and to do this we take poignant points raised online on how to build these skills, including encouraging peer-to-peer teaching, practising soft skills, emphasising the value of interpersonal relationships and empathy, being flexible, personalising recognition, as well as setting work boundaries and instilling a firm but easily accessible channel for feedback.

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