Why emotional intelligence will be a defining leadership trait in 2024

75% of Fortune 500 companies are already using emotional intelligence training tools

Why emotional intelligence will be a defining leadership trait in 2024

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the overrising importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. Previously, employees had limited interaction with C-suite leaders who appeared distant and unrelatable. However, the pandemic created a need for more visible and empathetic leadership teams at all levels of an organization. Leaders who were visible and showed vulnerability were proven to be more successful in motivating their employees to contribute to the organization’s success.

If anyone knows the necessity of emotional intelligence in the boardroom, it’s Linda Allen-Hardisty. As a Queen’s IRC facilitator, an ICF-master-certified executive coach, and an organizational development professional, Allen-Hardisty teaches individuals how to chisel and perfect their natural empathy to really thrive as  leaders.

So why is emotional intelligence so increasingly important in organizations?

“For leaders, managing emotions is key – because how you act as a leader can ripple through the organization,” she says. “Today, it really is a necessary leadership skill –managing emotions and leading with emotional intelligence. Increasingly, we’re seeing how emotional intelligence defines successful leaders, even more so than their skills or their IQ.”

And the data’s there to back this up. According to research from TalentSmart, 58% of overall job success is attributed to emotional intelligence, with 75% of Fortune 500 companies already using emotional intelligence training tools. With that in mind, how can leaders strengthen their emotional intelligence skills? And, if  you’re not naturally prone to it, can this skill actually be taught?

“Emotional intelligence can be developed,” says Allen-Hardisty. “Leaders can change and evolve their emotional intelligence to become more effective in their organizations.”

It all comes down to developing, and sticking to, an emotional development plan – one which considers five aspects: self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal, decision-making, and stress management. However, as Allen-Hardisty willfully admits, emotional intelligence training is not for the faint of heart. After all, taking a look inside yourself, being honest about your shortcomings, can be daunting.

“Developing emotional intelligence takes time, it takes energy, and it takes a commitment to becoming more emotionally effective overall. Choosing to improve your emotional intelligence is about changing your overall behaviour – and that can be pretty hard work.”

But is it worth it? Absolutely.

In the future of the employee experience, in which people are choosing how, when, and where they work, leaders need to be empathetic and compassionate in their roles. A lot of that comes down to valuing a more ‘female’ leadership style. As Allen-Hardisty tells HRD, she’s a big believer in harnessing the traditional feminine traits of emotional intelligence such as empathy and collaboration – something she believes is coming to the forefront in 2024. 

“We’re seeing more of a feminine side to leadership come up lately,” she says. “This means a focus on wellbeing in their teams as well as empowerment and recognition. All are aspects that leaders will need in order to thrive in the months to come.”

Queen’s IRC’s Building Trust Using Emotional Intelligence program runs from February 5-8, 2024, via Zoom. To learn more or to register, please visit our website at https://irc.queensu.ca

Linda Allen-Hardisty is an organizational development professional (Queens IRC OD Certificate), an executive coach (ICF MCC professional designation), a team coach (EMCC Global Accreditation), and a Forbes Coaches Council contributing member. She’s built a reputation as a vibrant, contemporary voice in the business world by blending her grounding in OD with a practical approach to addressing organizational challenges and opportunities. She facilitates the Coaching Skills, Performance Management, and Building Trust Using Emotional Intelligence programs for Queen’s IRC.

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