emotional intelligence leadership

During shelter-in-place, some people learned to bake sourdough, some turned their living rooms into gyms and others found solace binge-watching true crime. If you jumped on that bandwagon and watched too many hours of TV to count, you may have noticed that Mensa pops up fairly often in the tales being told. Obviously, being a genius and a serial killer do not go hand in hand, but the term “evil mastermind” does ring a bell.

A high IQ does not create a monster, but it also does not necessarily create a leader.

A high IQ alone does not mean you have what it takes to be a successful leader. Great leaders support their natural intelligence quotient by elevating their emotional intelligence leadership. 

The importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace is monumental and can positively affect all aspects of an organization. It is crucial to display emotional intelligence in the workplace; therefore, emotional intelligence training for leaders should be a consistent component of your organization’s goals and objectives.

You can begin your journey into leading with emotional intelligence by bringing in an expert for executive mentoring to help you and your team reap the benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace.  

What Is Emotional Intelligence Leadership?

Emotional intelligence leadership is when someone effectively manages their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Being a leader with emotional intelligence in the workplace means being open to experiencing feelings and being in touch with their own emotions to handle conflicts.

Knowing is half the battle.

Leaders with emotional intelligence have the ability to recognize when they feel happy, excited, sad, uplifted, sad, frustrated, angry or disappointed. They can unlock a higher level of consciousness which enables them to check in with themselves to understand what is causing a certain feeling or where that emotion has arisen from. This trait ultimately allows leaders to be incredibly empathetic, compassionate and respected by their employees.

How Does Emotional Intelligence Affect Leadership?

Until we reach the point in the future when we employ robots, emotional intelligence will always be one of the most important traits of a successful leader. When a leader doesn’t understand emotional intelligence, they may ignore the feelings of their team, which will create countless issues. Without a keen awareness of feelings that arise in a situation, a leader may miss critical cues leaving employees feeling unsupported and unvalued, eventually driving them away from the organization. 

There are many ways to avoid roadblocks so that your journey as a leader is smooth.

By focusing on increasing your emotional intelligence in the workplace, which includes investing in executive mentoring and emotional intelligence training for leaders, you are taking a critical step toward building stronger relationships, communicating more effectively and resolving any conflict peacefully. 

Leading with emotional intelligence also contributes to your team’s motivation and engagement. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more productive and successful.  

How Do Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Drive Change?

When leaders tap into emotional intelligence, they inspire others to effect positive change. They show their team that, while change is not easy, it can be managed. Rather than forcing immediate action, emotionally intelligent leaders recognize that people have various levels of concern or fear of change and may benefit from additional information or understanding.

They are also passionate about their vision and can articulate it in a convincing and motivating way. A truly emotionally intelligent leader’s heart beats in time with their words, and their team recognizes that. Because they know employees are their greatest asset, they want them to feel supported so that they can work together through challenging times. 

Emotional intelligence is contagious.

Emotionally intelligent leaders are present and in tune with their emotions and the emotions of others, which causes their team to become more self-aware and emotionally intelligent. The trust and mutual respect that are built are essential for driving innovation and leading growth for your organization.

The Most Important Emotional Intelligence Competencies for Leaders in the Workplace

Unlike joining Mensa, there isn’t one test with a numeric score that determines your emotional intelligence. Of course, Google may disagree and while we do trust it for recipes, news and cat memes, be wary of its promise of an emotional intelligence score that can be printed out on a certificate. 

A better route to understanding your own emotional intelligence at work is by participating in emotional intelligence training for leaders and reading the competencies listed below.


Resilience is a vital skill for a transformational leader because navigating all the twists and turns of the present and the future requires a great deal of energy. Leaders must learn from past experiences to avoid repeating the same mistakes and build resilience to help their team bounce forward through future challenges. 

Being resilient is essential for leaders, as it enables them to remain in control in the midst of chaos and make smart and thoughtful decisions even when emotions are high.

High Level of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the foundation on which emotional intelligence is built. Being attuned to your own emotions and recognizing how they impact your thoughts and actions is an important component of creating emotional intelligence in the workplace. You can work toward finding this deeper connection with daily affirmations that build resilience.

Being self-aware doesn’t always come naturally, but with work, you can gain a deeper awareness of your own values, personality, needs, habits and emotions and how they affect not only yourself but also those around you. This enables you to manage your own stress and decision-making, which will ultimately encourage others to do the same. 

A wonderful way to start is through meditation.


Compassion is one of the greatest abilities we possess as human beings and a key factor in emotional intelligence. Genuine compassion, which involves being able to understand and truly feel the emotions of others, starts within yourself. 

If you feel overwhelmed or out of balance, you won’t be able to help others. But when you give yourself compassion and the time and space to rebalance, you can do the same for your team.


Listening is more than just hearing words. It involves being thoughtful and mindful without judgment or interruption when someone is speaking to you. You may not fully agree with their opinion, but it’s crucial to think objectively about the reason behind their actions and try to understand their behaviors and emotions.

Being a good listener is a skill that will serve you well in every aspect of your life.


Compassion and empathy are distinct traits often woven together by actions and emotions. When a leader is compassionate, they show concern for someone because of their situation, but when they are empathetic, they understand the situation and take action by being supportive. 

A leader cannot go wrong by showing both compassion and empathy. Your team will feel heard, seen and valued, which leads to employee well-being and success for your organization.

How Can Leaders Improve Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?

The best leaders stay informed about industry trends to ensure they remain ahead of the curve.  That same focus can be applied to creating emotional intelligence in the workplace

How we work has evolved at an incredibly fast pace recently and how we lead should as well. The old ways of ruling with an iron fist have been replaced by more empathetic and emotionally intelligent leaders.

Listed below are several tried-and-true methods you can deploy to build your emotional intelligence at work.

Practice Mindfulness

We’ve been taught that to be efficient, we must multitask. In some situations that is true, but it is not the end all, be all. For example, if you write an email while eating lunch, you are technically multitasking, but did either task receive your best effort? Was the email worded perfectly? Did you enjoy your lunch or even notice you ate it?

In the pursuit of multitasking perfection, we end up working in a mental state called continuous partial attention, which is not an effective or healthy way to be productive.  

Instead, develop a true leadership presence through mindfulness.  

A great way to become more mindful is through daily meditation. Start by focusing on your breath, then allow yourself to observe what you are thinking and feeling. You may find yourself becoming aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, but with practice, you can achieve an inner balance.

Be an Active Listener

Active listening is critical to fostering emotional intelligence at work. To be an active listener, you must focus on what someone is saying, ask questions for clarification and attempt to see their point of view. Being open to feedback and willing to change your perspective when necessary is the other important piece to the active listening puzzle.

Hold Off the Temptation to React

It can be difficult to not let emotions take over when they arise, but holding off the temptation to react to a situation or person allows you time to think, feel, regulate and move forward thoughtfully. By doing so, you will communicate more effectively and reach a positive outcome.

Cultivate Personal Growth

Just like growing a garden, emotional intelligence takes work and consistency. The seed of a growth mindset must be planted and watered every day by attending seminars, reading self-growth books and seeking guidance from an executive leadership coach.

Over time, you will find your emotional intelligence blooming more beautifully than you could have ever imagined.

How Does a Leadership Keynote Speaker Help with Emotional Intelligence at Work?

A leader cannot exist in a vacuum. You need employees to lead, a team to support you and executive leadership coaching to guide you throughout your journey. Understanding the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace is the critical step toward reaping the benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace. 

When you embark on the journey toward emotional intelligence, the horizon will be bright for you, your employees and your organization.