Emotional Intelligence – the Key Traits of Outstanding Leaders

Emotional Intelligence (EI) may be the most important trait that determine whether managers will be successful or not. I’ve seen countless times the impact they have on their teams when they rank high or low in EI. EI is often perceived as ability to be sociable and sensitive to staff and able to engage them. However, these traits alone are not enough for a manager to successfully lead a team and move the organization forward, or even to advance their career.

Emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It’s key to personal and professional success.” (https://www.lexico.com/definition/emotional_intelligence). In addition to be sociable, sensitive and engaging, genuine leaders exhibit key 7 traits. They: 1) are driven by a desire to win (competitive) and achieve, 2) are sensitive to the organization’s goals and need to meet them 3) are resilient and calm in challenging situations, 4) are able to communicate effectively with leaders to effect change, 5) are able to take criticism without being crippled by it and use it to achieve goals, 6) elicit advice from their staff to make decisions, 7) are able to provide critical feedback to staff while maintaining objectivity and acting as coach or mentor to help them develop their strengths.

Managers with these traits are successful because they are able to inspire their team, enable their potential and elicit their trust. The impact on the team is huge in terms of the benefits, i.e., they earn the trust from their staff, staff feel positive about their capabilities and invest themselves in their roles, all of which translates into higher productivity. Thus, managers that rank high in EI effect positive changes that drive the organization forward and, in turn, receive recognition that help them advance their careers.

It is possible to determine these traits in people before the hire and afterwards. If you would like to evaluate your own or your staff’s EI, one of the most useful tools are psychometric tests. Ask me more: lauralazo@careersinagricultureandfood.ca

Laura Lazo, Ph.D.

CAF founder Laura Lazo facilitates the integration of high-fit diverse talent into the agriculture and foods sector, connecting qualified candidates with companies, non-profits, government, institutions and small businesses. She offers guidance on career development, best hiring practices and developing partnerships and opportunities.

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