In the concluding part of this miniseries on leadership, we delve into the concept of emotional intelligence (EI). Initially coined by P. Salovey and J.D. Mayer in 1990, emotional intelligence gained widespread recognition through Daniel Goleman’s influential book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ,” published in 1995. These pioneering academicians defined emotionally intelligent individuals as those who demonstrate the capacity to perceive and control their own emotions and the emotions of others, enabling them to navigate relationships and achieve favorable results effectively.

Expanding upon the research conducted by these scholars, emotional intelligence is descriptively a set of cognitive abilities that enable individuals to effectively perceive and comprehend their own emotions and the emotions of others in the present moment. Furthermore, it involves utilizing these emotions wisely and skillfully to promote positive and harmonious interactions on a personal and social level. In practical terms, emotional intelligence involves adeptly using emotions and demonstrating discernment in situations that call for emotionally attuned responses rather than relying solely on purely logical or intellectual approaches.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is important in comprehending leadership styles as it profoundly impacts how leaders engage with and influence others. EI encompasses the ability to recognize, understand, and effectively manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Self-awareness, empathy, communication and influence, and relationship-building are four key areas influencing a convening leader’s leadership style. Starting in this article, we will look at the four key areas in the context of the leadership theories we have explored: authentic, leader-member exchange, transformational, and servant leadership. Part A will discuss the key areas of Self-Awareness and Empathy, and in the next article, Part B, we will conclude with Communication and Influence and Relationship-Building.

SELF-AWARENESS: Emotional intelligence (EI) is crucial in helping leaders develop self-awareness regarding their emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. A heightened awareness empowers leaders to understand how their emotions and behaviors influence their leadership style. By recognizing their biases, triggers, and areas for improvement, leaders can make more effective decisions and communicate more efficiently.

In the context of convening leadership, self-awareness is fundamental to the Authentic Leadership Theory, which emphasizes knowing oneself, aligning actions with personal values, and understanding the impact of one’s actions on others (Avolio & Gardner, 2005). In the Leader-Member Exchange Leadership Theory (LMX), self-awareness assists convening leaders in recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, understanding their limitations, appreciating individual differences among stakeholders, and promoting personalized leader-follower exchanges. Additionally, self-awareness fosters a growth mindset in convening leaders.

Within the Transformational Leadership Theory framework, self-awareness through self-reflection enables convening leaders to evaluate their ability to inspire and motivate stakeholders, assess their capacity to promote intellectual stimulation, measure their level of individualized consideration, and examine their ethical standards and integrity. Lastly, in Servant Leadership, servant leaders prioritize understanding their strengths, limitations, and the consequences of their actions on others. This self-awareness empowers them to effectively meet the needs of their stakeholders and foster impactful and transformative collaborations (Northouse, 2018).

In summary, emotional intelligence and self-awareness contribute significantly to the leadership styles of convening leaders. By being self-aware, leaders can better understand themselves and their impact on others and tailor their approaches to meet the needs of stakeholders in collaborative settings. This self-awareness forms the foundation for impactful and transformative collaborations.

EMPATHY: Emotional intelligence (EI) encompasses the ability to comprehend and share the emotions of others. Leaders with high EI exhibit empathy, enabling them to tune into the emotions and perspectives of their team members. This empathetic approach establishes stronger relationships, fosters trust, and creates a positive work environment. By understanding the emotions of their stakeholders, leaders can appropriately respond, provide support, and motivate stakeholders based on their unique needs.

In the realm of Authentic Leadership, empathy exemplifies the leaders’ capacity to understand and connect with the emotions, experiences, and viewpoints of others. It entails actively listening, demonstrating understanding, genuinely caring, and showing concern. In the context of LMX Leadership, empathy involves individualized understanding, active listening, support, flexibility, perspective consideration, emotional support and recognition, trust-building, and open communication. By showcasing empathy, LMX leaders strengthen exchange relationships, enhance stakeholder engagement and satisfaction, and foster positive work collaboration.

Within the framework of Transformational Leadership, empathy entails emotional awareness, active listening, supportive communication, individualized consideration, collaboration, empowerment, and a servant leadership approach. Through empathy, transformational leaders establish strong connections, foster engagement, and inspire their followers to reach their full potential. Lastly, in the context of servant leadership, empathy is demonstrated by putting oneself in the shoes of others and comprehending their feelings and experiences. This understanding allows servant leaders to respond compassionately and supportively, fostering trust and collaboration.

In summary, emotional intelligence involves understanding and sharing the emotions of others. Leaders with high EI demonstrate empathy, which helps build stronger relationships, foster trust, and create a positive work environment. Empathy is evident in various leadership styles, including Authentic Leadership, LMX Leadership, Transformational Leadership, and Servant Leadership. By practicing empathy, leaders enhance their ability to connect with their stakeholders, respond effectively to their needs, and cultivate an environment of trust and collaboration.

The foundation of emotionally intelligent leaders rests upon four key pillars: self-awareness, empathy, communication and influence, and relationship-building. In Part A, we explored Self-Awareness and Empathy. In the following article, Part B, we will explore the crucial aspects of Communication and Influence and the significance of Relationship-Building because community matters.

In community,

Dr. Pat

Patricia A. Clary is a consultant who champions the advancement of strategic community impact agendas to address intricate societal challenges through collaborative efforts, convening leadership, and effective governance. If you would like to know more about the different leadership styles, please get in touch with Dr. Clary through the following channels:

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Patricia A. Clary, Ph.D.

Columnist Community Matters / Collaboration / Convening Leadership / Governance / Systems-Thinking