Leading with emotional intelligence

Would you be surprised to learn that individuals with average IQs often outperform those with the highest IQs in the workplace? That’s because IQ may not be the best predictor of performance – it’s EQ that matters. 

EQ is emotional intelligence, and it’s just as vital for success as having the right knowledge and skills. 

The higher you climb in your company, the more EQ you’ll need. Emotional intelligence in leadership allows you to build relationships, influence decisions and resolve conflict. One survey found that 90% of top performers were high in emotional intelligence – and top performers contribute nearly 50% higher profit to a company. 

Emotional intelligence leadership is a must in the modern workplace. Are you ready to thrive?

Discover why using emotional intelligence is a key in leadership

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What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be in tune with your own emotions and those of the people around you. People with high emotional intelligence can “read” any situation and adapt to it. They’re able to address the needs and feelings of others and make them feel at ease – therefore, they’re seen as more trustworthy and competent than their peers. 

Emotional intelligence and leadership are inseparable. Those with high emotional intelligence are able to build effective teams, inspire others to action and contribute to a positive company culture. In today’s workplace, which is rapidly changing from traditional top-down structures to more flat, collaborative models, emotional intelligence in leadership is a must.

Emotional intelligence is made up of five key elements:

  • Self-awareness: Knowing and understanding your own emotions, thoughts and desires is the most essential part of emotional intelligence in leadership. You can’t expect to connect with others if you’re not able to connect with yourself.
  • Self-regulation: This means taking control of your own emotions and actions – and taking responsibility for them. Leaders who are flexible, adaptable and innovative typically have high self-regulation. This skill also makes people perceive you as more trustworthy.

Adopt a growth mindset

Leadership communication skills

  • Self-motivation: Inner strength is a hallmark of great leaders. The ability to set goals, take advantage of opportunities and bounce back from adversity sets an example for your team to follow.
  • Empathy: Emotional intelligence and leadership are all about connecting with others. Practicing empathy improves your ability to feel compassion and understand others’ concerns and needs.
  • Social skills: Communication is key in any leadership role. In order to influence others, improve teamwork and build trust in the workplace, you must be able to communicate effectively and adapt your style to the situation at hand.

Since emotional intelligence in leadership was popularized in the 1990s, many studies have shown that these skills are what set the best leaders apart from those who are just average. Are you ready to become an outstanding leader?

The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership

Emotional intelligence in leadership is critical. Leaders set the tone for the rest of the company, having an enormous impact on the company culture, employee engagement and more. Those who are open, honest and compassionate will create a culture that inspires employees to work hard and collaborate. Those who are ineffective, argumentative and poor communicators will create a culture that reflects that. 

Emotional intelligence in leadership has a very real effect on the company bottom line. Low employee engagement can lead to high turnover, inefficient processes and less productivity, stalling growth and consuming much-needed funds. A positive company culture leads to a happier, more fulfilled team and better performance. That’s because emotionally intelligent leaders have the ability to:

  • Lead by example: They know their values and they live by them every day.
  • Build relationships: They understand that business – and life – is all about relationships.
  • Resolve conflict: They build strong teams with conflict resolution skills.
  • Inspire others: Bosses dictate; leaders connect in order to inspire others to action.
  • Communicate effectively: Good communication builds trust and collaboration.
  • Develop strengths: They know that if you’re not growing, you’re dying – and they help others grow.


The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership can’t be overstated. So how can you improve your own emotional intelligence – and learn to leverage it in the workplace?

How to develop emotional intelligence

Those interested in learning emotional intelligence leadership can break down the five elements into actionable strategies to build skills in these areas.

Assess your self-awareness

Use a method called 360-degree feedback: Evaluate your own performance, then seek the opinions of your boss and colleagues. You’ll gain invaluable insights.

Manage your negative emotions

Emotional mastery can help you reach your goals and get what you want out of life. Before you react, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. Then proceed.

Choose your words carefully

How you express yourself is part of managing your emotions. Make sure you’re framing things in a way that is helpful, rather than making the problem worse.

Become a great communicator

Communication is about more than words. Learn to pay attention to body language and mirror others. Practice deep listening to connect with others and build rapport.

Practice optimism

Optimism will help you overcome adversity and remove stress from your life. Habits like meditation, priming or writing in a journal can change your mindset to one of positivity.

Learn from others

Surround yourself with people who set a great example of emotional intelligence in leadership. Find a mentor or a business coach who can help you develop your skills.

Ready to begin practicing emotional intelligence leadership?

A Tony Robbins Business Results Coach can help you become a more effective leader and add massive value to your company.