How to develop your emotional intelligence as a leader?

How To Be An Emotionally Intelligent Leader?

As we are living in a new and unpredictable world, navigating our way through Covid lockdowns, I am aware of the strain some may be facing either as a key worker or in isolation. Never before has it been so important to practice mindfulness and emotional intelligence. This blog is a preview of emotional education I have undertaken over the years – have a read, organise your thoughts and above all, stay sane!

What is emotional intelligence? This is the ability to understand and manage oneself and one’s relationships with others. Emotional intelligence (sometimes referred to as EQ) concerns social intelligence – Daniel Goleman describes it as “the ability to recognise and regulate emotions in ourselves and others” in his 1995 book.

Note – EI should not be confused with IQ (intelligence quotient). The main difference between EI and IQ is which part of a person’s mental abilities they measure: understanding emotion (EI) or understanding information (IQ)

Low emotional intelligence vs high emotional intelligence leadership model.

Research shows that the most successful leaders are those who focus on developing their emotional intelligence. In a nutshell, you will be highly effective if you can understand yourself, self-motivate and construct strong relationships.

Based on Goleman’s original framework, here are five components for you to focus your attention to:

Identifying one’s emotions

The ability to identify and be self aware of one’s emotions is central to emotional intelligence. Goleman argues that an inability to recognise this will likely see you at the mercy of others. In fact, the more you are self aware you are, the higher the likelihood of you making strong, intentional decisions about your life goals and aspirations.

  • How do I feel?
  • How did I feel before, during and after a specific event?
  • Is there a pattern to my emotional state?
  • How do I feel about my appearance and personality traits?
  • How would someone else view my current situation?

Managing emotions

Having identified emotions, individuals would benefit by learning how to manage them effectively. Goleman suggests that this skill can be developed, without it you are much more likely to feel out of control and unhappy. It is also a useful skill when dealing with other people, particularly during disagreements or conflicts. It needs to be noted, however, that self-regulation is more than merely “stuffing” or ignoring negative emotions. It is an active process that takes considerable training and focus to accomplish.

  • Is the way I feel a hindrance or a help?
  • Under what circumstances do I share my emotions with others?

Self motivation

Self-motivation allows you to use your emotions to affect positive change in your life through dedicated pursuit of your goals, no matter the obstacles in your way. This process requires you to employ your emotions toward near-complete positivity, optimism, confidence and persistence. It is essential that you release the negative emotional reactions to achieve self-motivation. The other key EI skill is self control – Goleman states that it “underlies accomplishment of every sort”.

  • What do I want and how can I get it?
  • What is in my way?
  • What motivates me in other circumstances?
  • How confident am I?

Recognising emotions in others

The empathy competency of emotional intelligence is the ability to feel what another person is feeling, and to see and feel life from their perspective. This allows you to rationally and effectively consider their emotional state and how best to guide them to a state of positivity and optimism. Managing relationships in your personal life or in the workplace cannot be successful unless you understand individual motivations.

  • Why did a person act or say something? What was the real reason?
  • Do people react to you in a consistent manner? What does their reaction tell you?
  • Do you pay attention to non verbal communication, such as body language?

Handling relationships

Nurturing relationships requires you to sincerely demonstrate an emotional interest and compassion for others. Your actions and words must reflect a proper respect for the effort of others with the goal of compromise and teamwork at the heart of the endeavor.

  • How do I influence others?
  • How well can I judge reactions?
  • Do I think about how I want people to feel?

Key points

To be effective, leaders must have a solid understanding of how their emotions and actions affect the people around them. The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he or she will be.

One of the trickiest things about EI is that it can be hard for you to assess your own levels. Why not take a look “13 Emotional Intelligence Activities and Exercises”, there’s lots of information and activities to help you understand EI in more depth.

Take the time to work on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Working on these areas will help you excel in the future!

Why not take a look at other blogs in the LRC Bitesize series: Https://



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Hi! I`m Chris Webb, I live in the South East and started Leaders Retail Consultancy in 2019. Before freelancing, I was a senior retail leader for a number of the UK’s top retailers gaining experience over 23 glorious years. When I am not coaching I enjoy spending time with the family or in the gym.

Click here for more information about Leaders Retail Consultancy

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