Emotional Intelligence in Leadership:

I have been asked by one of our clients to present an Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) course to their young leadership team.   In preparation for the course, I found myself getting very passionate about this topic, as I have realised how much the world has changed.  Gone are the days where our client interaction is through frontline staff in a branch.  Even our call centres are being sidelined by the explosion of the use of social media.

If you are unhappy, you tweet it, you post something about it on facebook, or you write about it in your blog.  The company involved mostly doesn’t even know that you are unhappy, let alone that their name is being dragged through the mud.

This is what is happening to people and companies, EVERY DAY!  And they have no control over what is being said about them.  Not by their clients, not by their staff and not by their competitors.

But we all need to gear up our personal responses so we can survive this new climate we find ourselves in.

This is where EQ comes in.  Think about it… When someone is tweeting about us (and we are fortunate enough to know about it) we have no idea who we are dealing with.  Is it a 13 year old with his first smart-phone?  Are you dealing with a corporate executive who can destroy you with a single footstep?  Your EQ needs to be of a level where you do not rise to the bait, but rather deal with each situation with factual objectivity.

Below is an excerpt from the course I wanted to share.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Although “regular” intelligence is important to success in life, emotional intelligence is key to relating well to others and achieving your goals. Many people believe that emotional intelligence is at least as important as regular intelligence, and many companies now use EI testing to hire new staff. Emotional intelligence is an awareness of your actions and feelings – and how they affect those around you. It also means that you value others, listen to their wants and needs, and are able to empathize or identify with them on many different levels.

Goleman’s definition of emotional intelligence proposes four broad domains of EQ which consist of 19 competencies (as illustrated in the diagram below):



Emotional self-awareness: Reading one’s own emotions and recognizing their impact

Accurate self-assessment; knowing one’s strengths and limits

Self-confidence; a sound sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities


Emotional self-control: Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control

Transparency: Displaying honesty and integrity; trustworthiness

Adaptability: Flexibility in adapting to changing situations or overcoming obstacles

Achievement: The drive to improve performance to meet inner standards of excellence

Initiative: Readiness to act and seize opportunities

Optimism: Seeing the upside in events

Social Awareness

Empathy: Sensing others’ emotions, understanding their perspective, and taking active interest in their concerns

Organizational awareness: Reading the currents, decision networks, and politics at the organizational level

Service: Recognizing and meeting follower, client, or customer needs

Relationship Management

Inspirational leadership: Guiding and motivating with a compelling vision

Influence: Wielding a range of tactics for persuasion

Developing others: Bolstering others’ abilities through feedback and guidance

Change catalyst: Initiating, managing, and leading in a new direction

Conflict management: Resolving disagreements

Building bonds: Cultivating and maintaining a web of relationships

Teamwork and collaboration: Cooperation and team building


As you already know emotional intelligence is defined by the ability to understand and manage our emotions and those around us. This quality gives individuals a variety of skills, such as the ability to manage relationships, navigate social networks, influence and inspire others. Every individual possesses different levels, but in order for individuals to become effective leaders, they’ll need a high level of emotional intelligence.  In today’s workplace, it has become a highly important factor for success, influencing productivity, efficiency and team collaboration.

The following are important reasons why leaders should cultivate their emotional intelligence:

 1. Self-Awareness

Leaders with emotional intelligence are self-aware and able to recognize emotions as they happen. This is a vital skill for leaders, as it helps them obtain a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses without any obstruction. In addition, great leaders are able to perceive emotions as they arise in response to an action or situation. As a result, they are able better able to address problems and handle any future complications.

2. Emotional Management

The prior skill gives leaders the ability to stay aware of their feelings. The next step is learning how to manage those emotions. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are able to regulate themselves and stay in control. These individuals are unlikely to rush headlong into hasty decisions or let their anger take over their behaviour.  It is vital that individuals in managerial positions keep their emotions in check, as it will help them stay in a respected position.

3. Effective Communication

What is the benefit of emotional awareness and management if you are unable to clearly express your thoughts? Luckily, individuals with emotional intelligence also have the skill of effective communication. They are able to clearly convey directions and know what to say in order to inspire and motivate others. An important skill for leaders, communication can be a deciding factor in whether the team listens or not.

 4. Social Awareness

Leaders with emotional intelligence are well tuned to the emotions of others and are able to pick up on what is going on around them. They are able to sympathize with others by putting themselves in the employee’s shoes and giving helpful feedback. This is a critical skill for leaders, who work closely to inspire and motivate a team. If the leader is unable to empathize with their employees, he or she will surely find it difficult to obtain respect or loyalty.

5. Conflict Resolution

In the workplace, there’s always the risk that emerging conflicts can threaten or disrupt efficiency and productivity. However, leaders with emotional intelligence are equipped to handle conflicts and provide resolution. With this skill, leaders can quickly placate any disagreements that arise between employees, customers, and other parties. In conjunction with the above skills, leaders can use their emotional intelligence to develop a more effective workplace.


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