The Most Important Traits of Leadership With Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your own emotions and instinctively interpret the emotions of others to develop effective relationships. As a leader, the emotional intelligence skill set is a necessity -- given the importance of building unity and motivating workers. Leaders with emotional intelligence exhibit several common traits.

High Self-Awareness

  1. A starting point for emotional intelligence is high self-awareness -- your understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses and how you come across to others. Emotionally intelligent leaders must sense how others respond to their leadership by listening and reading nonverbal signs. Over time, you monitor feedback from others in assessing your best attributes as a leader. A charismatic leader, for example, recognizes this style as his strength and uses it to motivate employees toward shared goals.

Empathy Toward Employees

  1. American psychologist Daniel Goleman, who -- the website MindTools explains -- helped popularize the emotional intelligence concept, noted that empathy is a core quality of emotional intelligence. Empathy is your understanding of the situations, position and feelings of others. Autocratic leaders sometimes struggle with empathy because they don't naturally listen to subordinate input. As a coach or participative leader, you may have more natural inclination to monitor employee concerns. When employees feel like you recognize them as people, have concern for their personal and professional challenges, and want to work with them to resolve conflicts, you typically garner more respect as a manager.

Accountability and Motivation

  1. Goleman also noted the importance of self-motivation and the motivation of others. As a leader, you normally must demonstrate accountability for your decisions, actions and mistakes to gain trust of workers. When you set a bar of high accountability, it is typically easier for you to hold your employees to higher standards of performance. With collaborative employee, department and company goals and a culture of accountability you can optimize production.

Communication and Conflict-Resolution

  1. Goleman says that social skills are prominent in emotional intelligence. More specifically, emotionally intelligent people understand the value of articulate and persuasive verbal communication, as well as the importance of intentional listening. Leaders must also negotiate conflicts with employees and sometimes mediate conflicts between employees or within work groups. Effective conflict-resolution is often a separating factor between high-performing and average organizations. As a leader, you must promote open, honest exchanges of perspectives, and goal-based decisions.