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Integrating Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Ask a room of individuals on what they would identify with leadership and you come across a myriad of answers that range between motivations, strategy, building culture and leading individuals. A precise action that would be undertaken by the leader would be to achieve results.
There has been a mystery to find the right mix iterating and reiterating between various attributes and skills that would be involved around the leader. The rise of life coaches, mentors, advisors and leadership teachers has added madness to the mix. Adding to this, the complexity of the human workforce has made the pursuit of the right skill a journey of a lifetime.
Research is yet to quantify the exact set of leadership patterns that would yield results to a group of individuals. However a study that was undertaken by a consulting firm Hay/McBer drew a random sample of 3,871 executives out of a sample size of 20000 individuals. The research addressed six effective leadership styles that originated from emotional intelligence.
Each of the six different components are seamlessly mixed to lead a team. Just as a golfer would select from an array of clubs to meet the demand of a particular shot, so would be the leader’s role to identify the best practice to address a scenario. Leadership would thus become a function of choice than of individual personality.
The emotional competency that was expected through the random sampling included self-awareness, self -regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. This matched with leadership bore practices that were revered by the sample size.
Anyone who practices leadership consciously or unconsciously undertakes these six styles of leadership. The best leaders know how to choose between a set of flexible practices.

  • Coercive leaders demand immediate compliance.
  • Authoritative leaders mobilize people toward a vision.
  • Affiliative leaders create emotional bonds and harmony.
  • Democratic leaders build consensus through participation. Pacesetting leaders expect excellence and self-direction. Coaching leaders develop people for the future.

Practicing different Styles
Leaders who have the capacity to master more than four types of leadership styles would be able to steer the climate within their organization. Leaders would effectively exhibit a fluid nature to meet the best of it to match the style that is required in a situation.
The integration of emotional intelligence acts as a primer to reinforce leadership.


To address an example, an affiliative leader has strengths in three emotional intelligence attributes: in empathy, building relationships, and communication. This allows the leader to respond effectively by studying the employee’s emotional levels and building a strong rapport. The affiliative easily builds bonds and relationships with ease.

If you are a pacesetting leader who wants to work on building relationship and exercise the affiliative style often, you would need to consider working improving your level of empathy, skills at building relationships and communicating effectively.
Another simple example would be the authoritarian leader who wants to include democratic practices into his repertory. The leader would need to consider improving his communication and social skills to collaborate with the team.
Final Words
Though adding skills to improve leadership practices may sound simplistic in nature, developing emotional intelligence requires patience and practice.
Unlike technical knowledge, the development of emotional intelligence can be done at later stages of life. It takes a lot of practice and commitment, however the investment is always worth the payoff.
Source : HBR’s 10 Must Reads – Managing People by Daniel Goleman

(Adapted from Seal Education Newsletter)

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One thought on “Integrating Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

  1. Leadership thought process has different strategies !! Great one !!

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