February 1, 2024

Emotional Intelligence of Women Leaders in Kenya’s Health Sector Organizations

Duncan Agenga

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Emotional intelligence has always been a tendentious topic, especially when it comes to leadership. Yet, it is a very crucial trait for effective leadership, particularly in fields that require empathy, compassion, and excellent communication. In this context, I am referring to Kenya’s health sector, where women leaders have made significant strides, shattered gender barriers, and showcased exceptional emotional intelligence.

High emotional intelligence in leadership is usually linked to improved interpersonal connections, skillful communication, and competent dispute resolution. Kenya’s health sector has been grappling with composite challenges, from inadequate resources to increased demand for quality healthcare services, cultural norms, and gender stereotypes which often lead to women being excluded from decision-making processes related to their healthcare needs. Leaders in this tangled setting must manage not only the complexities of the healthcare system but also their workforce’s range of requirements and feelings.

Years on, women still need to be represented in leadership positions worldwide, today, less than a third of leadership positions are held by women. Nevertheless, there has been a positive change in Kenya’s health industry, where more women are holding prominent positions. Despite the challenges of a highly patriarchal culture, women hold mid-level, and top-level leadership positions in the health sector, and their main aim is to continue soaring higher. These female executives are not just breaking through glass ceilings but also redefining leadership paradigms by applying their unique skill set, which includes increased emotional intelligence.

Empathy is a key component of emotional intelligence, and female leaders in Kenya’s health sector have a high level of this trait. Their compassionate approach recognizes not only the difficulties experienced by their teams but also the demands and worries of the patients/clients they assist. The health sector is united and has a purpose thanks to this compassionate leadership style.

In an industry where teamwork is critical, managing emotions becomes equally important. Kenyan women leaders in the health field have outstanding communication abilities, which foster an open and welcoming workplace. Their capacity to express ideas clearly, listen intently, and offer helpful criticism enhances the cohesiveness of their teams. The healthcare sector in Kenya is used to changes in technology, public health emergencies, and healthcare legislation. When faced with challenges of this nature, female leaders exhibit remarkable adaptability and perseverance. Their confidence comes from their capacity to manage uncertainty while maintaining emotional stability, which motivates their teams to take on obstacles head-on.

To sum up, it is comprehensible that emotional intelligence is important for health leaders to have, it is presumed that women tend to be more emotionally intelligent than men. This is essential, as their diverse experiences and insights are pivotal in addressing these health issues effectively. We must recognize and cherish the unique emotional intelligence that women bring to the forefront as we honor their accomplishments in leadership. This creates opportunities for a more resilient, compassionate, and employee and community-centered healthcare system.

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