Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

You are currently viewing Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Emotional Intelligence Is Key to Outstanding Leadership

Lacking emotional intelligence, an individual may be less adept at understanding other people’s emotions. A telltale sign that a leader will need to address this is if they frequently experience troubled conversations with their team.

Leading professionals that develop highly emotional intelligence tend to enjoy a positive work-life balance, which in turn leads to more fulfilling relationships and teamwork. One expert argues: “There are many kinds of intelligence – academic or technical intelligence, for example – but if you don’t have social intelligence – ’emotional IQ’ — even the smartest people can be extremely ineffective.”

The following are a few concrete steps leaders can take to better manage their emotions. Accept that thoughts trigger your feelings, which in turn influence actions and reactions.

Value the insights you receive when thinking about things from another perspective . This is an easy way to maintain emotional balance amidst difficult situations. Define what success means to you, and then reflect on what emotional state you would need to be in, in order to successfully achieve it.

Emotional intelligence starts with taking an honest look at your feelings and actions, as well as those of the people around you.

Emotional intelligence is a powerful component of effective leadership, and it’s the ability to recognize and manage not only your own emotions but those of others in a positive way.

This training will focus on how emotional intelligence can be used to build trust, manage difficult discussions, and lead for long-term success.

Understand who you are and how to achieve your best through your emotions. Learn to make others feel better about themselves as well, so these qualities will help lead people in ways that foster emotional intelligence.

Benefits of Emotional intelligence in leadership:

  • Emotional intelligence is increasingly important for leadership because it gives leaders an advantage when making decisions.
  • Building and maintaining relationships can be difficult for anyone, but being a leader makes it all the more challenging. Use emotional intelligence to improve leadership skills and build effective relationships.
  • This tutorial includes tips and tactics for improving emotional intelligence in yourself and among groups.
  • Employ emotional intelligence in difficult dealings with employees and clients.
  • Improve personal and organizational strength.

Emotional Intelligence for Leaders

 How emotional leadership and emotional intelligence are related?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control, evaluate and express emotions or feelings. Emotionally intelligent people are able to use their understanding of emotions to facilitate thought processes, such as decision-making.

According to Daniel Goleman , author of ‘Emotional Intelligence’, “A smart person who acts emotionally unintelligent risks eroding the trust he has worked so hard to establish; an intelligent person who acts emotionally unintelligent – out of control, say, or impulsive – risks being seen as incompetent”.

 How emotional leadership and emotional intelligence are related?

What is Emotional Intelligence? According to Goleman (1998):

” The capacity to recognize and to understand emotions in oneself and others, and the ability to use this awareness to manage one’s own emotions and relationships.” EI is therefore regarded as a set of skills based on individual differences and can be trained.

Relation between emotional intelligence and leadership behavior varies in strength, depending on the component that is considered. Regarding the competencies of self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy, there is evidence that they are positively related to leadership success (Bracken & Vandenberghe, 2006). In contrast, competency in managing relationships is negatively related to leader success (cf. Judge et al., 2002). This suggests that the relationship between EI and leadership may be moderated by situational factors.

Given the negative relation with certain aspects of leadership, it might even be possible to see a trade-off between emotional intelligence and leadership (Johns & Kline, 2010). However, Quirin and colleagues (2010) found that EI was positively related to overall leadership effectiveness.

As defined by Goleman , emotional intelligence consists of five abilities: perceiving emotions in oneself and others; using emotions to facilitate thinking ; understanding the underlying reasons for an emotion; managing emotions to promote personal growth and development; and promoting positive emotions in others.

 How can leaders improve their emotional intelligence?

  1. Identify and Understand Your Emotions: In order to increase your emotional intelligence you need to be aware of what you’re feeling. Start by identifying the things that trigger emotions in you such as work deadlines, a colleague’s comments or even thoughts of past failures. When these triggers happen, try to observe your emotional state. Emotions don’t have to take over or explode, just notice them and breathe through them.
  2. Choose Your Reaction: In order to control emotions you need to select how you will react in situations that trigger feelings. For example, if you’re feeling nervous before a big presentation ask yourself why are you feeling this way. Try to remember what you’ve felt like before in other situations that made you nervous and what it was that helped you feel better, whether a break or going for a run. Then try to do those things during the upcoming presentation to calm yourself down.
  3. Look at Others: When you understand your emotions, recognize that other people are not feeling the same way. When you respond to others with your own feelings, it can be hurtful and will often lead to arguments. By looking at a situation from another person’s perspective you can choose to respond instead of react, which will help avoid unnecessary conflicts or misunderstandings.
  4. Express Your Emotions: Once you are able to identify and understand what you’re feeling, being aware of others emotions is the next step in your emotional intelligence training. Be careful that you don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone else feels the same way as you do, because this can lead to hurt feelings or misunderstandings. If you recognize that a friend has mixed up her emotions and is sad when she’s anxious, then you can express your understanding of her mixed up feelings.
  5. Ask for Feedback: The ability to regulate emotions won’t be much help if you’re unaware of how other people feel about your behavior. If someone tells you that a presentation was boring or that the way you asked for comment upset them, then you need to know why and what you can do to change it. When others express their feelings about the way that you’ve made them feel, they are giving feedback about your emotions.
  6. Take a Time Out: Everyone has days when knowing how to react is difficult for whatever reason. If this happens, try practicing emotional self-regulation through mindfulness techniques. By taking a time out, you can regroup and find ways to handle your emotions instead of letting them take over.
  7. Use Your Feelings: Although emotional intelligence is often associated with self-awareness, there are numerous situations in which it is important to show emotion. A leader who has the ability to motivate and inspire others is going to be a vastly better leader than one who simply gives orders. Leaders need to use emotion to communicate with colleagues and through that communication show their concern, thoughtfulness or passion.

Short Online Courses

Emotional Intelligence in Practice

An organization cannot strengthen its emotional intelligence if it does not spend time nurturing this skill in its leaders. Even when a company implements programs to train employees on emotion recognition and expression, if the leaders are not practicing it, then its effectiveness will be limited. When a leader can understand their own emotions as well as those of others in the organization, they become better positioned to lead effectively.

If leaders have low levels of emotional intelligence, then it is likely that they have trained their staff to do the same. If a leader uses emotion in an inappropriate way, it is likely that employees will follow suit. Emotional intelligence training and development for leaders must be done consistently by managers, supervisors and executives if they expect others to follow the rules of emotional expression.

The ability to match your emotion with the people around you is a skill that will help you communicate clearly and avoid unnecessary conflict. For leaders, it is vital to notice how employees feel in order to manage their emotions as well as the emotions of others. Just because you know what you’re feeling does not mean that everyone else has mastered this skill or wants to be told about their own feelings. Emotions are complicated, and developing emotional intelligence can be a long process. It may seem impossible to do this alone, so if you have difficulty understanding or expressing your emotions then consider getting in-person help from a professional counselor.

 Return on Investment (ROI) for Emotional Intelligence Training

One might assume that the ROI of emotional intelligence training would be similar to that of other types of training. However, this is not the case. There are various ways that managers and executives can measure the impact of emotional intelligence on their business.

The easiest way is to use a survey or questionnaire in which employees indicate how they feel about particular leaders and managers within the organization. If there has been training in emotional intelligence, then these surveys can show the positive effects of that training. These surveys can also be used to determine how effective managers are at using emotional intelligence in their leadership roles.

The ROI for emotional intelligence is more difficult to determine than other types of business training but it’s impact is just as important. The biggest challenge that a company will face is finding the right kind of training to benefit their organization. It is not enough that a program simply covers emotional intelligence, it must also be customized for your company’s culture and leadership style.

It can take a long time for an organization to see any measurable ROI on a new training initiative, but the impact of emotional intelligence cannot be understated. Emotional intelligence has a direct effect on company morale and productivity which is vital to any business.

How is emotional intelligence important to self leadership and leadership?

It is important to have emotional intelligence and self-awareness in order to be an effective leader. Leaders must be able to read the emotions of others in the organization, understand how they are feeling, and adjust their own behavior accordingly. Emotional intelligence also gives leaders the ability to recognize how their employees are feeling about particular initiatives or changes that may be implemented for the benefit of everyone.

Being able to read your own emotions is equally as important as being able to recognize those in others. Leadership can be a stressful job that comes with many pressures and responsibilities. Emotional intelligence allows leaders to manage their stress by knowing how they are feeling at any given time, and then adjust their behavior accordingly. This approach gives leaders more control over how they manage their emotions, and can lead to a better work environment.

Self Awareness

The benefits of emotional intelligence are clear when you apply them to self-leadership. Self leadership is important because it allows you to have more control over your own actions, feelings, and motivation. It also forces you to be aware of your own emotions, and the emotions of those around you. Self-leadership will help you to be a better leader, spouse, parent, or friend.

It is often said that “the best leaders are the ones who have been led well.” The same concept applies to emotional intelligence in developing self leadership. By learning techniques for managing your own emotions, as well as recognizing the emotions of others, you will be able to better lead yourself and those around you.

What does emotional intelligence have to do with conflict?

Emotional intelligence is important when it comes to dealing with conflict in the workplace. There are two very different types of conflict: task related conflicts and relationship conflicts. Task related conflicts are when two employees have opposing views or plans for a task. Relationship conflicts on the other hand, are when the relationship between two people breaks down and it causes friction in the workplace.

Emotional intelligence is vital to dealing with both types of conflict. Task related conflicts will be easier to deal with if an individual has high emotional intelligence. People with high emotional intelligence are able to effectively communicate their point of view, listen to the opposing side, and then work together to come up with a solution that is best for everyone.

Relationship conflicts are often much more difficult to resolve when it comes to providing leadership skills. These types of conflicts have little to do with task related issues, but are caused by personalities conflicting with each other. This is where emotional intelligence really shines. When dealing with relationship conflicts, the ability to read and understand the emotions of others can help in resolving them much quicker.

What are some ways that I could improve my emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is something that you can always work on improving. There are several ways that you can do this.

First, it is important to understand how emotions affect your behavior . Pay attention to the emotional state of yourself and others around you. That way you will be able to recognize those emotions when they are being exhibited by someone else.

Second, get in the habit of identifying your own feelings , as well as those of others, and express them appropriately. Don’t be afraid to be overly expressive when it comes to how you are feeling. Showing emotion can often have a positive affect on your relationships with other people, as well as build trust within the workplace.

Finally, be aware of what causes you to feel certain emotions . While you cannot completely control how you feel, you do have some influence over the things that cause them. For example, if you are constantly stressed out, try to change up your schedule or break up a particularly stressful project into smaller parts. Or, if you are feeling depressed because of lack of social interaction , make it a point to leave work early one day and go out with friends.

Emotionally intelligent leaders

How can I use emotional intelligence to benefit my team?

By knowing how your emotions affect you, as well as the emotions of those around you, it is much easier to manage and lead others in a group setting. As leader, it is important to recognize what kind of environment best suits everyone on the team. The best leader will be able to take the emotional temperature of their team. They will know when to push a little more, and when to back off and let people have a break. When relating to others on your team, it is important that you focus on maintaining an open line of communication. Mutual respect between all members of the team is vital in maintaining an effective workplace. The more open you are to hearing what others have to say, and addressing their concerns in a productive manner, the better your team will perform.

What are some negative effects of emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is not without its flaws. In fact, you could argue that sometimes it can be counterproductive. Sometimes when a team is functioning well, it can be hard for a leader to assert themselves. This can cause the leader to stray away from being firm with their decisions and allowing too much freedom in the workplace. Also, recognizing emotions in others, especially negative ones, could lead you into developing feelings of resentment towards them.

How can I avoid these negative effects?

One way to avoid the problems caused by emotional intelligence is to remember that everyone, yourself included, has different opinions and goals. This means that not everything will always go according to your plan or as you expect it to. In fact, this feeling of disappointment may mean that something really great is coming around the corner. As long as you have already prepared yourself mentally for this, it will be easier to deal with when it happens.

So, is emotional intelligence something I should really care about?

Emotional intelligence can greatly benefit those who use its concepts properly in their lives and work environment. If used correctly, emotional intelligence can lead to more effective interactions and relationships with others. It can also help you to be a better leader by inspiring trust in the people around you, as well as teaching you how to diffuse conflicts that arise within your group.

Emotional leadership

Where do I go from here?

The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal is an instrument for self-awareness based on emotional intelligence. The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal is a simple test that will help you measure how well you perceive, understand and manage emotions in yourself and others – skills increasingly important for your own personal development and leadership potential.

What are the 5 essential tools for emotionally intelligent leader?

There are five essential tools for an emotionally intelligent leader:

  1.      Recognizing emotions in yourself and others.
  2.      Tuning into emotions – as they happen.
  3.      Managing emotions in yourself and others.
  4.      Motivational aspects of emotional intelligence.
  5.      Positive Emotional Intelligence (P-EQ).

 What are the meaning of these five tools?

Five tools are all means to the end of enhancing your EQ.

For example, Emotion Regulation is a way of managing ones own responses so that they maintain or enhance positive emotions and daily functioning – at work, at home, in relationships – whatever the circumstances may be. Assertiveness training is another emotional intelligence tool. It is using assertive communication to stand up for yourself and your rights in a way that maintains positive relationships with others.

 What is emotional intelligence profile?

Emotional intelligence can be assessed by a variety of self-report scales, including the Mayer-Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). The MSCEIT is a non-verbal, performance-based measure of the ability to perceive, use and understand emotions in your self and others. The advantage of a non-verbal test is that it eliminates any language bias. The MSCEIT comes with a 159 question test booklet (both verbal & performance tests) and a training CD.


As you have read, emotional intelligence is more than just being nice or able to stay calm. It’s not something that can be learned overnight, but it is an essential skill that all managers and executives need to develop. The truth is that no business can succeed without the right mix of skills, knowledge and talent among its leaders. A good organization will help leaders see what they are doing well but also how they can improve their emotional intelligence on a daily basis.

Browse Course Library