Emotional Intelligence as a leader: 5 Key Components for you

emotional intelligence as a leader
emotional intelligence as a leader – Photo – Unsplash Plus +

As a leader, you are probably responsible for managing, controlling and guiding. But are you connecting and displaying emotional intelligence as a leader?

Classically, we measure intelligence by factors such as IQ (intelligence quotient). We’ve all heard of celebrities or notable figures with ‘high IQ’. But what does that mean?

IQ measures technical aspects of intelligence such as numerical aptitude and spatial reasoning. But there are lots of people with ‘high IQ’ who aren’t successful in their careers.

Understanding Emotional Intelligence  

This is where understanding emotional intelligence as a leader matters. Since everything you and I do involves people, developing your emotional intelligence is a top priority.

In this article, we will explore what emotional intelligence is, why emotional intelligence as a leader is crucial, and how you can go about developing yours quickly and effectively.

We’ll give you some suggestions to help you develop and enhance your EQ to become a better leader. And we’ll provide plenty of links to resources which you may find helpful.

Do you know someone who is really good at controlling her emotions? Is that person also able to say the right thing at the right time? – That’s emotional Intelligence!

What is emotional intelligence?

IQ is a measurement of not one but multiple human aptitudes. Similarly, emotional intelligence (EQ) is not a measurement of one kind of behavior but several kinds of behaviors.

EQ measures emotional aspects of intelligence such as self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy. These things really matter when you are connecting (and leading) people. 

Do you know someone who is really good at controlling her emotions? Is that person also able to say the right thing at the right time? That’s emotional intelligence right there. 👩

Can You Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

In several respects, it’s hard to increase your IQ. However, with coaching, self-awareness and a little bit of work on your part, you can increase your EQ. And that’s really good news.

So, while IQ is ‘important’ to some degree, emotional intelligence (EQ) has been shown to be far more valuable where you find yourself leading a team of people 🙋

Emotional Intelligence Leadership
Emotional Intelligence in Leadership – Photo: Unsplash Plus +

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Leadership requires a diverse set of skills, including effective communication, strategic thinking, and decision-making. These things are all important 👍

But what about the emotional side of leadership? A leader with high EQ can navigate complex social interactions, build relationships, and inspire trust and loyalty in their team.

So who would you rather hire for a role managing key people? Someone with high IQ or someone with high EQ? That’s a very interesting question.

Leaders Have High Levels of Emotional Intelligence

Research shows that leaders who possess high levels of EQ are usually more effective at managing stress and conflict. That’s an important trait 😅

Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to create a positive work environment, which leads to increased job satisfaction and higher levels of engagement.

Furthermore, they are better equipped to understand emotions of others, which allows them to build stronger relationships and more effectively motivate and inspire the team.

That’s the kind of leader (or manager) we all want and deserve but often don’t get. An this is exactly why emotional intelligence as a leader is essential to your self-development.

Emotional Intelligence 5 Key Components
The 5 Components of Emotional Intelligence – Photo: Unsplash Plus +

The 5 Components of Emotional Intelligence

The name most associated with the concept of emotional intelligence is probably Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence (1995).

Goleman suggested that emotional intelligence is the simply the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance.. 🙌

He also proposed that there are 5 key components to your emotional intelligence as a leader. If you can master these, you will increase your EQ significantly.

You can ask yourself how highly you score in each of these areas and you can begin to asking others for feedback.

Self Awareness

This means that you are aware of your own emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. You understand how your emotions affect your behavior and decisions.

Self Regulation

Self regulation means your ability to control your emotions and impulses, even in difficult situations. You can manage stress and stay calm under pressure. Hallmarks of a leader.

Social Skills

Your social skills determine your ability to build relationships, and work well with others. You can collaborate, negotiate, and resolve human-conflicts in a constructive way.


Empathy governs your ability to understand and connect with the feelings of others. You can put your self in another person’s shoes and respond with understanding and kindness.


You understand what inspires and drives you and seek to understand the drivers of others. People who display emotional intelligence as a leader are curious about motivation.

🎧 LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEW WITH legendary TED SPEAKER Sir Ken Robinson discuss the many forms that intelligence can take – on the TrainingBusiness Podcast

Emotional Intelligence Case Study
Emotional Intelligence Case Study – Photo: Unsplash Plus +

Case Study: Sofia’s Emotional Intelligence Training

Sofia was a new manager at a software company in Europe, and she quickly realized that managing her team was much more difficult than she anticipated.

Her team of six software engineers each had unique personalities and working styles, and Sofia struggled to understand how to motivate and engage them.

Lack of Emotional Intelligence 🤷

Through her own reflection and feedback from her team, Sofia recognized that her lack of emotional intelligence was holding her back from being an effective leader.

She enrolled in a training program on Emotional Intelligence in Leadership to learn how to better understand and manage her emotions, as well as those of her team

Emotional Intelligence Training Outcomes 👩

After completing the program, Sofia experienced significant positive outcomes, including:

  1. Improved communication with team members
  2. More engaged and productive team members
  3. Higher levels of job satisfaction for team members
  4. Better conflict management and negotiation skills
  5. Improved overall performance for the software company
Sofia’s Emotional Self Awareness

Overall, Sofia’s investment in improving her emotional intelligence as a leader had a significant impact on her team’s performance and the success of the software company.

But perhaps the biggest payoff of all was that Sofia was much more comfortable in her own skin. She became self-aware and better at self-management.

Crucial qualities for leadership! 🖖

This is just a story but it highlights how investing in your emotional intelligence skill set can boost your career prospects, particularly if you aspire to lead other people!

Emotional Intelligence Quiz
Emotional Intelligence Self Assessment – Photo: Unsplash Plus +

Test Your Emotional Intelligence as a Leader 🙂

If you’re looking to test your emotional intelligence as a leader, you can answer the 15 questions below as a starting point.

Consider how your responses reflect your ability to recognize and manage your emotions, as well as your ability to connect with and understand others.

1. I can recognize my emotions as I experience them.

2. I lose my temper when I feel frustrated.

3. People have told me that I’m a good listener.

4. I know how to calm myself down when I feel anxious or upset.

5. I enjoy organizing groups.

6. I find it hard to focus on something over the long term.

7. I find it difficult to move on when I feel frustrated or unhappy.

8. I know my strengths and weaknesses.

9. I avoid conflict and negotiations.

10. I feel that I don’t enjoy my work.

11. I ask people for feedback on what I do well, and how I can improve.

12. I set long-term goals, and review my progress regularly.

13. I find it difficult to read other people’s emotions.

14. I struggle to build rapport with others.

15. I use active listening skills when people speak to me.

How did you answer? ✏

Questions 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 15 relate to self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation.

Strong leaders should be able to recognize their own emotions, manage them effectively, and stay motivated to achieve their goals.

Questions 3, 13, and 14 relate to empathy and social skills.

Leaders who are emotionally intelligent should be able to understand the emotions of others, build strong relationships, and communicate effectively.

What did you learn? 🤔

This is just a brief quiz but you can think it as an honesty-exercise. It’s a chance to reflect on how others see you and where you might be holding your self back!

Are there areas where you could improve your emotional intelligence as a leader? Are there strengths you can leverage to become a more effective leader?

Emotional Intelligence for your Team
Emotional Intelligence for your team – Photo: Unsplash Plus +

What about the benefits to your team?

While it is essential for leaders to have a high level of emotional intelligence, a team becomes more fully-rounded when everyone exercises a high-degree of emotional intelligence. Right?

Here are some ways to help improve your team’s emotional intelligence:

Encourage Open Communication

Create an environment where your team feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. Hold regular team meetings where people can express themselves freely.

Promote Empathy

Help your team to develop empathy by encouraging them to see things from each others’ perspectives. Consider introducing specific training programs like role-playing exercises.

Teach Emotional Regulation Techniques

Offer training for managing and regulating emotions. Such trainings can help prevent emotionally charged reactions and be useful in both personal and professional situations.

Encourage Positive Thinking

Provide regular feedback, highlight everyone’s successes, and encourage positive thinking, even in challenging situations. Consider creating a vision board or a goal-setting exercise.

Model Emotional Intelligence

If you want your people to be more emotionally intelligent, then that has to start with you ability to provide emotionally intelligent leadership. Make sense?

Emotional Intelligence FAQ
Emotional Intelligence FAQ – Photo: Unsplash Plus +

FAQ on Emotional Intelligence

Here is a handy list of frequently asked questions on emotional intelligence. 👇

Q: What is emotional intelligence as a leader?

A: Emotional intelligence as a leader refers to the ability of leaders to recognize, understand and manage their own emotions, as well as those of their team members.

Q: Why is emotional intelligence important for leaders like me?

A: Emotional intelligence is important for leaders like you because it allows you to better connect with and understand their team members, improve communication, increase job satisfaction, and ultimately drive better performance and productivity.

Q: Can emotional intelligence be learned? 🤔

A: Yes, emotional intelligence can be learned through various methods, including education programs, coaching, and practice.

Q: What are characteristics of high emotional intelligence? 🤟

A: Leaders with high emotional intelligence tend to have better self-awareness, empathy, adaptability, and conflict resolution skills.

Q: How can leaders improve their emotional intelligence? 😄

A: Leaders can improve their emotional intelligence by seeking feedback from others, practicing active listening, developing self-awareness, and continuing to learn and grow through education and coaching.

Q: What are the benefits of having a leader with high emotional intelligence? 😎

A: A leader with high emotional intelligence can lead to a more engaged and productive team, better communication and – usually – improved conflict management

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