The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership

The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership

There are many attributes that are central to effective leadership such as integrity, decisiveness and organization. Another key component of leadership is knowing, understanding and responding to emotions. Developing a high level of emotional intelligence can strengthen your abilities as a leader, leading to positive outcomes and advantageous results.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the ability to accurately understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. An individual who has a high level of emotional intelligence is said to be emotionally aware and can easily control their emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving.

Effective communication

Studies show that communication is 7% the words we say and 93% tone and body language. An effective leader is able to eliminate obstacles and confusion through clear communication. Emotional intelligence allows you to gauge if your employees really understand what you are saying or if they are confused by your message. Leaders with high emotional intelligence listen without judgment which encourages transparency between leadership and employees.


A leader with a heightened level of EQ has a strong understanding of who they are and is able to see a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses through self-reflection and realize how their values and motivational drivers impact the people around them. Emotional intelligence allows you to be aware of how your words and actions affect others and how your emotions impact your decisions. An emotionally intelligent leader is constantly improving their own self which positively influences their leadership style.

Relationship management

EQ can aid leaders with anticipating the sentiments of others and responding in a productive manner. Healthy relationships come easily to emotionally intelligent leaders as they can relate to a variety of personalities. This skill is helpful in a role where relationship building and network expansion are keys to success.


Remaining in control of your emotions helps with the prevention of rushed decisions and emotionally-fueled arguments. When presented with a challenging situation, an individual with a high EQ remains calm and is able to adapt with a steady foundation of discipline. Controlling or re-directing emotions assists in making rational and impartial decisions.

Positive perspective

Leaders with a strong grasp on emotional intelligence are optimistic and passionate about their work. It is often a true passion that goes beyond money or status. This positive motivation can allow a leader to successfully drive employees to improve skill sets and lead their team to reach yearly goals.

Empathic mindset

An effective leader has the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. A leader with a high EQ is a compassionate employer that can gauge the wants and needs of employees and see what motivates each individual. A leader that has taken the time to refine their EQ is willing and able to give constructive feedback and develop the potential of the individuals on their team. An emotionally intelligent boss stays tuned in and always pays attention to the emotional state of their employees. They can tell ahead of time how employees will react to a certain circumstance and can develop a strategy accordingly. Emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. A leader with a high IQ and a low EQ has not reached his or her full leadership potential. Pick up a book or talk to your mentor about assessing and improving how emotional intelligence plays a role in your leadership style.