Gone are the days when the authoritarian leader barked orders and followers jumped. Today, leadership is all about communication: the better we are able to communicate, the more successful we will be as a leader.

Communication is so much more than words, it’s about emotion — how we feel, how we make others feel and how well we can connect. We are emotional beings, our feelings play a large role in our day to day life, even professionally.

How often do we say things like “It just doesn’t feel right”, “I have a good/bad feeling about this”? Emotion plays a huge role in business. Just have a look at the advertising industry; very few ads list the components of a product. Instead, they let us know how awesome we’ll feel if we buy it. We use emotion much more often than we like to admit.

So with this in mind, the role emotional intelligence plays in successful leadership isn’t difficult to understand.

So with this in mind, the role emotional intelligence plays in successful leadership isn’t difficult to understand.

Let’s take a look at the components of “Emotional Intelligence.” By definition, it is the ability to identify and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others.

It is generally said to include the following three skills:

1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;

2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving; and

3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.

It is not at all surprising that Emotional Intelligence, like leadership, begins with the self. A strong leader will be aware of their own emotions and understand where they are coming from. By understanding ourselves, we can deal with our fears and limitations as well as identify our strengths and motivations.

Having a strong awareness of our own emotional triggers and those of the people around us can be a wonderful tool when leading a team. If we have an insight to where someone is coming from emotionally, it’s much easier to have empathy for them. When there are disagreements or differing opinions, a healthy emotional intelligence can give us the insight to appreciate where the other person is coming from.

This awareness of the other persons point of view enables us to take a step back and form a more objective opinion. It is really valuable when collaborating with others and making decisions, we can appreciate the impact we’re having on the situation and, in turn, the members of our team.

There is no question that the more you understand your own emotions and behaviours, the easier it will be to relate to others and build strong relationships.