Building Emotional Intelligence in Today’s Leaders

In the movie Remember the Titans, the story follows the integration of two high schools. Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) is hired as head football coach in a very emotionally charged situation. At any point, something bad could erupt. Yet, the movie captures the attitude transformation of the team. The team captain, who was an All-American defensive player, finds himself complaining about the selfishness of another player.

Besides, this captain wasn’t supporting the head coach’s philosophy of becoming a successful team. Only when the leaders on the team supported the team strategy did the team start being successful.  Captains understand how to lead on their ships. In business, many managers do not know how to lead. Therefore, they are always lingering threats of a silent mutiny. How do managers stay engaged with their employees? In this discussion, we will examine how emotional intelligence can help today’s leaders better connect with their followers.

Emerging leaders understand the need for team-building and leadership development. With that said, effective leaders know how to connect with their followers. Having high emotional intelligence is a benefit for today’s leaders. Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, argue that managers need greater emotional intelligence in the workplace.[1]

Most people have heard of IQ (Intelligence Quotient). However, the average person does not know about emotional intelligence. What is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage one’s own mood as well as the mood of others. Jones and George further maintain that managers will better be able to relate to their employees. Understanding employees, as well as customers, is a necessity for successful organizations.

Given this perspective, managers should instinctively know that displaying bad attitudes with their workers will not lead to positive results. According to a Carnegie Foundation survey, 85% of an individual’s success in life is attributed to a person’s ability to deal with people and manage his or her self. Therefore, a positive attitude by managers may contribute greatly toward organizational profitability in the long run. A manager with high emotional intelligence would know the impact of a good attitude in the workplace.

In summary, managers face unparalleled challenges due to globalization and hyper-competition. Organizations that get the most from their employees will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This article showed how emotional intelligence can help today’s leaders to better connect with their followers.  Great leaders can set the tone for an organization.

John C. Maxell, the author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, argues the significance of a good attitude: “If you want outstanding results, you need good people with great talent and awesome attitudes. When attitudes go up, so does the potential of the team.”[2] When selfish leaders manage organizations with low emotional intelligence, the low-term results will be negative and can go well beyond the bottom line for most corporations. Therefore, a good attitude does matter, Captain!

Please share your ideas on this topic.

© 2018 by D. D. Green


[1] Contemporary Management by Gareth Jones and Jennifer George

[2] The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxell


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