…patriarchy is not necessarily afraid of highly educated or wealthy women. The fear is the inbred emotional intelligence women carry. Perhaps this is why some Nigerian leaders resist putting powerful women who are endowed with positive self-esteem and are emotionally intelligent in government or cabinet positions.
Research evidence suggests that intelligence alone will not explain our achievements at work or in life and that emotion plays a key role in relationships and organisational success. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, express and manage one’s emotions; the ability to understand the emotions of others and to regulate them and promote intellectual growth. Emotional Intelligence, also known as emotional quotient or EQ, is widely known to be a key trait for effective leadership. It generally includes the following skills: Self-awareness, which is one’s ability to understand one’s emotions. Individuals who experience honest self-awareness are able to recognise their strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. They know how their feelings affect themselves, other people, and their job performance. Self control is the ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check, to maintain effectiveness under stressful or even hostile conditions. This does not mean suppressing your emotions. It means managing disruptive impulses and destabilising emotions in order to allow the positive emotions thrive. Also, the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to important tasks, such as critical thinking and problem solving.
While both male and female genders are emotionally intelligent, recent studies have shown that females demonstrate a higher degree of emotional intelligence than males, on the basis of common ability tests such as the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Females also score higher than males in emotional self-awareness, interpersonal relationship, self-regard, and empathy. Perhaps, this is the reason Nigeria needs more female leaders.
Nigeria is one of the many highly patriarchal societies where masculinity is associated with leadership, assertiveness and dominance. Hence, the system of patriarchy has made people think in male terms when they envision a leader. For example, they think of competitiveness, decisiveness, control, domination, and intimidation. We rarely hear leadership characteristics like empathy, relationship-orientation, strong communication, collaborative or supportive skills, which are attributes associated with women. The reason for this is that patriarchy has always had deep-rooted fears and anxieties when it comes to women’s innate capacity for organisation and leadership. So, patriarchy is not necessarily afraid of highly educated or wealthy women. The fear is the inbred emotional intelligence women carry. Perhaps this is why some Nigerian leaders resist putting powerful women who are endowed with positive self-esteem and are emotionally intelligent in government or cabinet positions.
…a leader lacking in emotional intelligence is often unable to effectively gauge the needs, wants and expectations of those he leads. It is important that good leaders are self-aware and understand how their verbal and non-verbal communications affect their teams.
But there is good news. While emotional intelligence is an inborn trait, it can be changed because it is about behaviours It is an attribute one can learn and/or strengthen if it is weak. A person can learn to be emotionally independent and gain the qualities that allow them to have emotional intelligence by connecting to core emotions, accepting them, and being aware of how they affect a person’s decisions and actions.
The importance of emotional intelligence cannot be overemphasised. It is a vital tool in team coaching, stress management, feedback delivery, and collaborative tasks. It is the secret to leadership in times of crisis. Hence, a leader lacking in emotional intelligence is often unable to effectively gauge the needs, wants and expectations of those he leads. It is important that good leaders are self-aware and understand how their verbal and non-verbal communications affect their teams.
As earlier stated, emotional intelligence is an enduring process as people go through life experiences. Therefore, raising one’s emotional intelligence is an individual responsibility. Studies have shown that the level of emotional intelligence continues to improve as people become adept at handling their emotions and impulses, at motivating themselves, and at developing their empathy and social adroitness. Since emotional intelligence is a highly sought after set of core skills, especially in professional capacities and in personal relationships, it is a must-have.
Emotional intelligence is the skill through which one learns to develop empathy in order to communicate better and relate with other people. It enhances the ability to weigh words and mannerisms and to ensure they are the right fit for a situation.
Considerable research on emotional intelligence has focused on leadership. A June 2019 Ohio State University leadership study emphasises that the leaders who are able to establish mutual trust, respect and rapport with group members are more effective in managing conflicts, influencing other and growing organisational teams. The effectiveness of a leader depends upon his or her ability to solve problems that can arise in a group or organisation Skills such as flexibility, conflict management, coercion and social reasoning are very important in advancing levels in the leadership hierarchy. Additionally, proficiencies such as inspiration and/or motivation, integrity, interpersonal sensitivity, conscientiousness and intuitiveness are undoubtedly relevant for a director’s role in determining a company’s vision, mission and values.
Emotional intelligence is the skill through which one learns to develop empathy in order to communicate better and relate with other people. It enhances the ability to weigh words and mannerisms and to ensure they are the right fit for a situation. Markedly, good leaders should be caring, considerate, empathetic, supportive and must give personalised attention to their individual followers. These character traits may be easier for an individual with high emotional intelligence. Internalising the importance of emotional intelligence and applying it well yields positive leadership results. Emotional intelligence is a vital tool for leaders to possess in today’s dynamic world.
Chinna Okoroafor, a licensed psychotherapist and certified internal family systems therapist, writes from Colorado Springs, CO, U.S.A.
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