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0 Leading with Emotional Intelligence

By now we all know about the importance of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace (also known as Emotional Quotient or EQ). How you master your emotions at the office governs the perception that your peers and supervisors have of you. In fact, how you master your emotions can establish your reputation and may dictate how far you will progress within the organization.

Leading with emotional intelligence goes far beyond just keeping emotions in check when stressful and contentious events occur. Managing with EQ requires that leaders not only master self-awareness and self-management skills, but they must also use those skills to help guide and develop EQ in the professionals they manage.

The following are some examples of how emotionally intelligent leaders can get the most productivity from their teams based on the work of psychologist Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.:

  1. Mindful self-awareness. Effective leaders are acutely aware of their emotional strength and weaknesses. They are able to take a humble view of their own strong points and shortcomings and regularly identify and chronicle certain triggers and behaviors and where they are rooted. This allows them to consistently check-in to their emotions therefore creating a higher level of self-awareness to practice and fine tune.
  2. Systematic self-regulation. EQ leaders have learned to know when, where and in what manner to appropriately express their emotions. Not only have they mastered the art of cool, calm and collected, but they hold themselves accountable and can acknowledge their own missteps therefore giving them the ability to understand that mistakes can and do happen with anyone. They listen with an open mind and do not pre-judge or stereotype when discussing an issue or problem.
  3. Savvy social skills. Charismatic leaders have exceptional social skills. They make it a point to continually make new connections at all levels throughout an organization and work to bridge communication gaps. They are also open to feedback – both positive and undesirable. They are generous with their praise and support and have studied conflict resolution skills to deftly diffuse potential argumentative situations.
  4. Emotional empathy. Emotional intelligent leaders – through their own elevated sense of self-awareness are able to understand what influences their employees’ behaviors, emotions and decisions. They also have the ability to put themselves in another one’s shoes. They are perceptive to the nuances of body language and respond accordingly. They champion and support the development of others and welcome everyone’s unique perspective.
  5. Deep-rooted motivation. Motivated leaders know their why. They have defined goals for themselves that align with their core value system. They hold themselves to high standards and have the ability to rally and champion the organization’s mission with great passion. They also practice optimism and find the best in all members of the team.

Leading with emotional intelligence provides all members of a team with a safe environment for innovative collaboration and creates a culture of positivity and productivity. It also earns and fosters respect at all levels.


Leading a team successfully – and gaining the respect and cooperation of each individual member – takes an emotionally intelligent leader who can successfully navigate and promote emotional intelligence within their team. It also takes practice to develop those skills on a personal level and to promote those skills in others. The next time you meet with your mentoring partner, ask them how they employ these skills and what ideas and strategies they have for you to take your own emotional intelligence to the next level. Here are a few questions to start:

  • What are some practices that heighten your self-awareness?
    • How do you take stock/inventory in your strengths and weakness both personally as well as within those you manage?
  • How do you determine triggers and roots of behavior?
    • What strategies do you employ to keep calm in situations?
      • Deep breaths? Revisiting a situation/challenge at a later time?
  • In what ways do you hold yourself and others accountable?
    • Timelines? Status reports?

How do you respond to negative feedback?

  • What are some effective networking strategies?
    • How do you meet and build connections at all levels?
  • What measures/conversations do you have with others to understand their point of view?
    • What are some nuances to deciphering body language?
    • How do you respond to those cues?
  • What is your motivation? Your why?
    • How does your current position align with your core values?
    • How can I adjust alignment in mine?



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