Emotional intelligence vital for effective leadership


The subject of emotional intelligence  is now being considered a  critical aspect of any leader.

HR Talk with Paul Nyausaru

What is Emotional intelligence and what competences are required in order for one to be emotionally intelligent?

Salovey and Mayer (1990) define emotional intelligence the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.

It has been argued that having such ability plays a significant role in distinguishing between exceptional leaders and mere leaders as well as creating an environment conducive for high productivity.

What emotional intelligence competences are critical to the success of a leader in this ever-changing world? This week’s instalment will explore some of these competencies and highlight how critical they are to an effective leader.

The following outlines a set of five emotional intelligence competencies that have proven to contribute more to workplace achievement than technical skills, cognitive ability, and standard personality traits combined.

The competencies are grouped into two main categories which are the social competencies and personal competencies
Social Competencies are those competencies that determine how we handle relationships.

Intuition and Empathy: This has to do with our awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns. It is important in the workplace for the following reasons.

Understanding others: An intuitive sense of others’ feelings and perspectives, and showing an active interest in their concerns and interests. Unless we put ourselves in our colleagues’ shoes, we will not be able to relate well with them. This goes beyond the job itself and focuses on the social wellbeing of fellow workers.

Customer service orientation: The ability to anticipate, recognise, and meet customers’ needs. The existence of every organisation is dependent on the customer that we are there to serve. Failure to give due recognition to our customers will do a lot of harm to the organisation.

So it is critical to pay attention to their needs and be able fulfil even their unexpressed needs.

People development: Ability to sense what others need in order to grow, develop, and master their strengths. Development of employees is critical in taking care of the social well-being of employees.

Identifying employee competencies and nurturing them is an important ingredient to the fulfilment of the organisation’s social responsibility to its employees.

Personal competencies: Competencies that determine how we manage ourselves:
Self-awareness: Knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons.
Emotional awareness: Recognising one’s emotions and their effects and impact on those around us. Having such ability is critical in that it enables us to gauge how we react to others in our interactions with them. Realising the impact of our emotions on others will assist us determining the best way to respond to situations that may arise.

Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one’s strengths and limits. There is no one who knows us better than ourselves. Getting to know what we are good at and the areas that we need assistance helps to us put ourselves in the right position. We will cultivate humility to accept assistance from others even though they are our juniors.

Self-regulation:Managing one’s internal states, impulses, and resources. This competency is important in the workplace for the following reasons.
Self-control: Managing disruptive emotions and impulses.

Trustworthiness: Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.
Conscientiousness: Taking responsibility and being accountable for personal performance.

Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change.

Paying attention to these competencies is critical in fostering a work environment that results in high productivity in an environment that brings everyone together. It is therefore important for every leader to gain knowledge and understanding of how emotional intelligence impacts on the organisation.

Paul Nyausaru is a Human Resources Practitioner. You can contact him on email
pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk or pnyausaru@gmail.com  Views contained in this article are personal.


  1. Very informative article that illuminates the importance of servant leadership in an organisation’s purpose and substance.It also illustrates the care with which Jesus Christ mentored the disciples in the practice of empathy,honesty,integrity and so forth.

  2. of all the articles you have been wrting on HR talk which I have been following, this one I rate it as +5. wish it knocks some sense in our leaders, be it in the church, at work or even at home. This article to me its like a sermon on its own which I would then say Mr Preacher Sir lets walk the talk you and I, bring this to reality and everyone would enjoy. Maybe you need to elaborate further point by point. Thank you.

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