The Role of Emotional Intelligence (E I) in Management

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand and manage own emotions as well as those of others.  The work environment is characterised by complex relationships that impact organisational performance. Positive relationships that are based on mutual understanding lead to cooperation that supports the realisation of organisational goals. On the other hand, constrained relationships that stem from the absence of emotional intelligence in leaders and followers impede teamwork and productivity. An emotionally intelligent person ensures that his/her emotions align with other people’s behavioural expectations. EI is a crucial attribute for managers as it determined their ability to perform leadership and motivation functions.

Components of Emotional Intelligence

There are five main components of emotional intelligence and understanding them guides how EI can be exploited to increase management effectiveness.  These components include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Emotional Intelligence



Self-awareness is concerned with the individual’s ability to understand own moods and motivations and their ramifications on other people.  Some of the indicators that one is self-aware include a sense of humour, confidence and the ability to know how others perceive you.


Self-regulation refers to the ability to control one’s anger.  A self-regulated person does not react promptly to annoying situations but instead think systematically to identify the right reaction.  This element requires one to be responsible for own deeds and to be adaptive to changing situations.


This component involves having an internal drive to realise goals regardless of the obstacles. Emotionally intelligent people in this category are committed to realising goals and have the ability to persevere.  They are also committed to learning directed toward self-improvement.


Empathy considers the individual’s ability to understand the reactions and emotions of others.  Self-awareness should precede empathy as one cannot understand the emotions of others before understanding own emotions.  Emotionally mature people can predict emotional reactions of others to situations, and they are interested in addressing other people’s worries.

Social skills

This considers the individual’s ability to detect and understand social signals that form the basis of establishing strong interpersonal relationships.  Social competencies associated with emotionally intelligent people include good time management skills, team management skills, communication skills, and leadership skills.

Managers who are mature emotionally portray the five components of EI that helps them to manage relationships with the subordinates and other stakeholders.  A successful application of EI in leadership and employee motivation is a pre-requisite for establishing a productive workforce.

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Leadership is concerned with influencing the beliefs and behaviours of others towards a common purpose. It is the manager’s responsibility to influence the employees towards organisational goals.  Emotionally mature managers understand their emotions and their impacts on the subordinates. They, therefore, avoid behaving in a way that destroys relationships in the work environment.  These managers are also good communicators and have a sense of humour that increases the ability to lead.  Their social skills make them excellent team leaders that create good collaborations in the work environment.

Emotional Intelligence and Employee Motivation

Emotional intelligence supports employee motivation leading to high productivity.   Employees have social needs that are satisfied when interpersonal relationships in the organisation are emphasised.  Emotionally mature leaders are friendly to the subordinates that reduce the social distance between the managers and employees thus motivating the latter.  Their ability to articulate goals motivate employees at it makes subordinates to understand their role in supporting realising organisational goals.


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