Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Any team of medical professionals is comprised of highly complex individuals that face a variety of ethical and professional challenges daily. For this reason, to lead them, one is to have the ability to identify emotional hardships and conflicts in the team and address them promptly. Such an ability to recognize one’s emotions by differentiating communication peculiarities, facial cues, and body language is known as emotional intelligence (EI) (Grand Canyon University, 2018). EI is of paramount importance for nurse leaders, as the organization of nurses’ workflow cannot rely solely on their functional responsibilities as nurses. Medical professionals tend to feel overwhelmed and stressed because of workload, communication with physicians and other nurses, and the complexity of cases they process at the moment (Magama & Kgositau, 2018). With an overwhelming majority of nurses being stressed or finding themselves on the verge of stressing out, the leader’s inability to recognize concerns and intra- and interprofessional conflicts may result in disrupted team morale and poor patient outcomes.

One of the fundamental aspects of EI is self-awareness, which allows people to recognize personal emotions and understand their potential impact on others. Leaders are not likely to efficiently address the emotive state of their colleagues if they cannot take the responsibility of not projecting their emotions on others (Grand Canyon University, 2018). A self-aware leader, while capable of controlling personal emotions, may help the followers acknowledge their emotions without being imposed with a subjective opinion and manipulated. For example, when one of the nurses in the team performs poorly over the past days and hence, catalyzes conflicts with physicians and patients, it is natural for a manager to feel upset or irritated. However, addressing this irritation without acknowledging the nurse’s feelings may result in worsening the outcomes, as the nurse may struggle with a personal issue, stress, and burnout. Hence, in a work environment, the leader should strive for excellence by manifesting support and compassion by finding a balance between subjective emotions and the actual issue taking place within the team.


Grand Canyon University. (2018). Nursing leadership & management: Leading and serving [E-book]. Web.

Magama, M. M., & Kgositau, M. (2018). Perception of stress by nurses in their profession: A case of primary health care clinics. Biomedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research, 2(1), 2137-2140. Web.

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