Why Emotional Intelligence is Key to Effective Leadership

There are numerous traits a leader needs to be effective but emotional intelligence is the one that is most often overlooked. Emotional intelligence is what allows you to understand how feelings drive behavior (for yourself and others). It’s an essential skill that those in leadership positions can use to relate to and motivate other people.

The Components of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is typically broken down into 4 key components:

1.    Self-Awareness

The ability to recognize your own emotions and any shortcomings you may have in managing them. Being self-aware can help you understand your own behavior and influence how others in your organization perceive you.

2.    Self-Management

The ability to take control of your emotions during challenging times. When faced with stressful situations, emotionally intelligent leaders control their feelings to try and respond in a positive or productive way.

3.    Social Awareness

This is the ability to understand the emotions and point-of-view of your employees or colleagues. Understanding how others feel makes it easier to communicate with them and work together towards positive outcomes.

4.    Relationship Management

This is your ability to effectively interact with others to positively influence their emotions. The best leaders are able to help people feel happy and hopeful even in stressful situations, and influence others to quickly resolve conflict.

Why Leaders Need High Emotional Intelligence

The ability to emotionally connect with employees as a leader can impact numerous business success factors:


Leaders with high emotional intelligence do a better job of engaging employees. When team members are fully engaged with your business and you as a leader, they’re more receptive to direction. Leaders with engaged teams are more effective at their job in the process.


Having a more engaged team has plenty of secondary benefits, including increased productivity. Engaged employees tend to do a better job, while disengaged employees can become a liability for a business. Having an emotional connection with your team can help motivate a job well done.


Having and expressing empathy for employees also helps them understand that you care. This can help reduce workplace stress, dissatisfaction and other negative factors that drive employees to quit.

Company Culture

Having an emotional connection with your teams also helps build a positive company culture. Empathetic leaders have an easier time directing people, inspiring them to work towards business goals while following your vision and mission statements. A positive company culture drives creativity, innovation, and strong teams that make the foundation of a successful business.

Build Emotional Intelligence As a Leader

Emotional intelligence comes easier for some than others, but luckily, it’s something you can practice at. Make efforts to empathize with employees, understand their motivations, and make connections to how you feel and act as a person just like them. Leaders that make visible efforts to connect with employees on a personal level can start reaping the benefits of these positive relationships almost immediately.

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