Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

 | Business

In terms of leadership traits emotional intelligence has become a rather hot topic. We can say it with certainty that it is a trait that we can measure and develop.

But before we get to measuring and developing it, we may have to understand what it is exactly.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

The ability to recognise and control emotions is what emotional intelligence is all about. It is also about harnessing emotions appropriately in order to have a suitable reaction as situations dictate. It is also a measure of how aware and sensitive one is towards another’s emotions.

People with a high level of emotional intelligence are generally aware of what they are feeling, what their emotions mean and also how these emotions affect those around them.

Having emotional intelligence is vital for any leader to succeed. Consider an example, on one hand, there is a leader who is very much in control of their emotions and is able to analyse a situation calmly.

On the other hand, there is a leader who shouts at their team under stress. Undoubtedly the former category of leaders is more likely to take the organisation forward.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is essentially a collection of abilities that are used to identify, understand, control and assess the emotions of oneself and also those of the others.

Following are the five key elements of emotional intelligence:





Social Skills

The amount of control that a leader exercises over these emotions, the higher is their emotional intelligence and the more capable they are of managing a group of people.


Being self-aware is mostly about knowing how you feel and having an understanding of how your emotions and actions affect the people around you. It also means having a clear idea regarding your strengths and weaknesses and also about behaving with humility.


Leaders who are self-regulated are less likely to verbally attack others, stereotype people, compromise their values or make rushed or emotional decisions.

It is largely about staying in control of your emotions and knowing how they may affect others. This aspect of emotional intelligence covers a leader’s commitment to personal accountability and also a leader’s flexibility.


A trait of self-motivated leaders is that they work consistently toward their goals, have extremely high standards for the quality of their work and also motivate their employees.

Their emotional connection to the results that they expect their work to deliver is healthy and it harnesses them to drive them forward without obsessing a lot over it.


In order to manage a successful organisation or team, it is critical to have empathy. Leaders with this trait are able to put themselves in the shoes of others and act accordingly.

They are able to challenge those who they believe are acting unfairly, develop the people on their team, listen to feedback and also give constructive feedback to those who work for them. Such leaders become an inspiration to their employees and are able to make them deliver beyond their expectations.

Social Skills

Leaders who have good social skills are usually great communicators. They tackle bad news as graciously as they can celebrate good news. It gives employees confidence in tough times. They are effective at making their team support them and also to arouse excitement in them for a new project.

Another trait of leaders with good social skills is that they are good at resolving conflicts in a diplomatic manner and they are also good at managing change. They rarely sit back and make others do their work. They believe in setting an example for others through their work and behaviour.

When Leaders are emotionally intelligent

Leaders who have the right amount of emotional intelligence are able to foster save environments and give employees the necessary comfort which they need to take calculated risks. These leaders are also able to leverage emotions for the larger good of the organisation.

Emotionally intelligent leaders are more capable of striking a balance between work and fun. They believe in doing good things for their teammates from time to time such as rewarding them and taking them out on activity days out.