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Beryl Mansel: Emotional intelligence is essential to leadership

Nurse leaders who can manage their own emotions are more likely to succeed at work and boost their physical and mental well-being, a mental health studies lecturer says.
Leadership

Nurse leaders who can manage their own emotions are more likely to succeed at work and boost their physical and mental well-being, a mental health studies lecturer says

Leadership is about influencing others to achieve a common goal. However, this role can be an emotional burden due to the challenges, constant changes and relationships with others. A nurse leader that can manage their own emotions and have empathy for others will be more effective in the workplace.

Emotions are the normal function of the body and mind in close communication with each other. If something is traumatic for the mind, there will be repercussion for the physical self, just as stress for the body will have consequences for the mind. If your head aches, you

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Nurse leaders who can manage their own emotions are more likely to succeed at work and boost their physical and mental well-being, a mental health studies lecturer says



A nurse leader that can manage their own emotions will be more
effective in the workplace. Picture: John Houlihan
 

Leadership is about influencing others to achieve a common goal. However, this role can be an emotional burden due to the challenges, constant changes and relationships with others. A nurse leader that can manage their own emotions and have empathy for others will be more effective in the workplace.

Emotions are the normal function of the body and mind in close communication with each other. If something is traumatic for the mind, there will be repercussion for the physical self, just as stress for the body will have consequences for the mind. If your head aches, you will be distracted from tasks and more likely to make mistakes. It is important to recognise how your emotions affect your performance. Emotional Intelligence (EI) considers a person’s ability to perceive, manage, understand and reason with emotions.

Self-awareness is at the heart of EI and enables a person to discern, describe and understand their feelings, creating a guide for their own behaviour. 

People, not process

Social awareness and relationship management will provide a solid foundation on which to develop nurse leadership skills. Yet competencies associated with EI are often described as soft skills, contradictory to the idea of clinical practice which suggests processes and effectiveness. However, it is not the process but the people that are important.

Patients and staff require sensitive treatment. This is particularly important when it comes to patient safety, bonding, team working and collaboration. Elements of EI such as empathy, self-confidence and self-awareness are at the core of transformational leadership style.

Effective leadership is not only about having exceptionally high levels of EI, but also the ability to apply this intelligence in practice. Leadership places huge demands on the shoulders of one person. The ability to process emotionally relevant information accurately should be valued – it can increase the chances of success at work and boost mental and physical well-being.


Beryl Mansel is a lecturer in mental health studies at the College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University

 

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