Why emotional intelligence is essential for leaders?


Good leaders are astute, decisive, influential, visionary and resourceful. Great leaders are also emotionally intelligent. Regardless of education, technical skills or experience, emotional intelligence (also called EQ) is a great predictor of whether or not someone will be an effective leader.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

EQ (not to be confused with IQ) is the capacity to understand and regulate your emotions, while being in touch with and influencing the emotions of others.

Daniel Goleman, author and psychologist, coined the term “emotional intelligence” when he released his trailblazing publication, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ.” Goleman discovered that EQ is vital to moulding an effective leader.

Components of Emotional Intelligence

There are five key components of emotional intelligence:

1. Self-Awareness

An excellent leader is cognisant of their emotions, values and motivations. They also comprehend how their feelings and choices impact their decisions and attitudes, as well as their emotions’ impact upon others. In order for a leader to make viable choices, they also need to be aware of their shortcomings, as well as their fortes so they can play to their strengths.

2. Self-Regulation

Leaders who rashly fire employees, explode into fits of anger or abuse their leadership status lack self-regulation. This can alienate peers and subordinates, as well as ruin their professional reputation. Self-regulation entails assessment of what a great leader will do or say before they take action. In short, they have discipline over potentially damaging actions and words.

3. Self-Motivation

A motivated leader is internally driven by passion and curiosity, rather than external elements such as money and prestige. Leaders with self-motivation are interested in what they can give to their firm and its employees, rather than what they can take.

They are optimistically driven by a quest for accomplishment that’s characterised by pursuit of a deeper meaning for themselves and others.

4. Empathy

When a leader is attuned to their own emotional condition, they’re more sensitive to the emotions of other people. They’re able to see things from their employees’ perspective and respond insightfully.

This helps give them a “sixth sense” about the needs and plights of employees and peers. For instance, an empathetic leader knows they don’t like to be harshly criticised and won’t go into attack mode when an employee makes a mistake.

5. Social Skills

Social skills aren’t just about affability or a good sense of humour. A leader with good social skills can interact effectively with their office mates. They can develop networks, cultivate relationships, build teams, collaborate and positively impact others.

How Does an Emotionally Intelligent Leader Benefit Their Company?

Employees who work for an emotionally intelligent leader feel safe and supported. They aren’t afraid to offer new ideas, make suggestions, pose questions or express opinions. An emotionally intelligent leader isn’t ego-driven, so they’re able to act objectively.

Since they stay composed under pressure, they take better actions and make better decisions that positively affect the organisation.

How Does a Leader Who Lacks Emotional Intelligence Damage Their Company?

A leader who lacks EQ is basically immature. They’re driven by emotion, rather than logic, and operate with aggression, blame, superiority, poor teamwork and fault-finding. They don’t diffuse conflicts but rather pour gasoline on them.

A leader without emotional intelligence triggers high turnover and kills morale. It can take only one leader devoid of emotional intelligence to disrupt the company culture.

No amount of education and experience can help a leader make positive strides with their employees, their peers and their company if they lack emotional intelligence. It shapes a leader into one who is effective, empathetic and attuned to their employees’ emotions, as well as their own.

Moreover, it creates a leader who is loved and respected.


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