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Understanding the Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

By Brian Scott
November 15, 2023

What is Emotional Intelligence?

“Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and effectively use emotions in ourselves and others. It involves empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, and social skills.” Kendra Cherry, 2023.

“Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage your emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. The term was first coined in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey but was later popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman.” Lauren Landry, 2019.

Why is EI/EQ Crucial for Leaders?

Leaders with high Emotional Intelligence exhibit superior interpersonal skills, better decision-making, and improved conflict resolution abilities. Emotional Intelligence empowers leaders to connect with their teams, inspire trust, and navigate complex challenges with grace. In order to exhibit, empower, and inspire through EQ, it’s important to know the components of it.

The 4 Components of Emotional Intelligence


Self-awareness is at the core of everything. It describes your ability to not only understand your strengths and weaknesses, but to recognize your emotions and their effect on you and your team’s performance.


Self-management refers to the ability to manage your emotions, particularly in stressful situations, and maintain a positive outlook despite setbacks. Leaders who lack self-management tend to react and have a harder time keeping their impulses in check.

Social Awareness

While it’s important to understand and manage your own emotions, you also need to know how to read a room. Social awareness describes your ability to recognize others’ emotions and the dynamics in play within your organization. Leaders who excel in social awareness practice empathy. They strive to understand their colleagues’ feelings and perspectives, which enables them to communicate and collaborate more effectively with their peers.

Relationship Management

Relationship management refers to your ability to influence, coach, and mentor others, and resolve conflict effectively. Some prefer to avoid conflict, but it’s important to properly address issues as they arise. Research shows that every unaddressed conflict can waste about eight hours of company time on gossip and other unproductive activities, putting a drain on resources and morale.

Positive Impacts of EQ in the Workplace

Enhanced Communication

EQ enables leaders to communicate with clarity and empathy, fostering a culture of open dialogue and collaboration.

Improved Team Morale

Leaders with high EQ can identify and address employee concerns, leading to higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover.

Effective Conflict Resolution

EQ equips leaders to manage conflicts constructively, creating a harmonious work environment and promoting innovation.

Better Decision-Making

Leaders with strong EQ make well-informed decisions by considering the emotional impact on their teams and stakeholders.

Increased Productivity

Emotionally intelligent leaders can motivate and inspire their teams, boosting productivity and overall performance.

EQ's Effect on Leaders' Personal Lives

EQ doesn’t stop at the workplace; it extends into personal lives, by:

Stronger Relationships

Leaders with high EQ build more meaningful personal relationships, leading to increased happiness and overall well-being.

Stress Management

EQ helps leaders cope with stress effectively, improving mental health and reducing burnout.

Work-Life Balance

Leaders with EQ can balance their personal and professional lives more effectively, leading to greater satisfaction.

Additional Tips for Enhancing EQ in Leadership


Regularly assess your emotions and their impact on decision-making.

Active Listening

Practice active listening to better understand your team’s needs and concerns.


Put yourself in others’ shoes to develop a deeper understanding of their emotions.

Conflict Resolution Training

Invest in conflict resolution training to handle workplace disputes effectively.

Seek Feedback

Encourage honest feedback from your team to identify areas for EQ improvement.


Emotional Intelligence is not just a buzzword; it’s a vital skill for leaders. It can transform workplaces, improve personal lives, and drive exceptional leadership. Invest in enhancing your EQ to become a more effective and empathetic leader.

Brian Scott is a Junior Proposal Writer at Contract Consulting Jamaica Limited with several years of experience in teaching, training, sales, leadership, team building, and communication.

Check out IIL’s Emotional Intelligence Courses here!

Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.

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