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  • Writer's pictureStefano Calvetti

10 Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership to Become Successful

I am sure you have already heard about emotional intelligence. It has become a kind of buzzwords in pretty much every context, including leadership.

In reality, emotional intelligence in leadership is much more than today’s trendy concept. It has been scientifically proven that a lack of emotional intelligence means fewer chances to achieve success.

A detailed illustration of the human brain, depicting the concept of emotional intelligence in leadership. The left hemisphere is in monochrome with technical and scientific symbols, representing analytical thinking, while the right hemisphere is colorful and artistic, symbolizing creativity and emotional intelligence. The image highlights the balance between analytical skills and emotional intelligence in effective leadership. Stefano Calvetti is the best Leadership Coach in Washington, DC
Emotional intelligence is a major contributor to the achievement of success.
Definition of Emotional Intelligence

The concept of emotional intelligence (generally abbreviated as EI or EQ) was formally introduced by psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer in 1990. Describing it as a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions, Salovey and Mayer’s research aimed to develop valid measures of emotional intelligence and explore its significance in various social contexts.

They defined EQ as “the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions."

However, another writer contributed greatly to making emotional intelligence a popular concept. In the mid-1990s, Daniel Goleman, a science writer for the New York Times specializing in brain and behavior research, brought widespread attention to this concept with his influential book "Emotional Intelligence" where he expanded on Salovey and Mayer’s work, arguing that emotional intelligence, rather than cognitive intelligence (IQ), is a better predictor of success in life and business.

As Goelman highlighted, its significance across various domains and practical applications in everyday life have made the concept popular and relevant even today. Something leaders MUST nurture.

10 Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Here are 10 reasons why developing EQ will transform you from being a good leader to a great one.

  1. Discover Your Authentic Self: Only when you truly know yourself can you lead with authenticity—this is something I’ll always stress about! Among other things, self-awareness means recognizing your emotions and their impact on decisions. Thus, it helps you align your leadership style with your core values and foster trust and respect among your team. I have written a post on how to increase your level of self-awareness. Check it out here.

  2. Stay Cool Under Fire: High-pressure situations are a leader's reality. That’s why self-regulation, the ability to control your emotions and impulses, is vital. In my career as a Navy Officer, I have always appreciated working with those who could master this aspect because they could maintain focus and make rational decisions, even in stressful or emergency scenarios. An easy way to develop stronger self-control is through techniques like deep breathing and pausing before reacting.

  3. Connect on a Human Level: Empathy - the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person - allows you to forge deeper connections and trusting relationships. Empathy should not be confused with sympathy. As Brenee Brown wrote in his book Dare to Lead, “Empathy is feeling with people. Sympathy is feeling for them. Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection.” Actively listen, show genuine concern, and be present in conversations to significantly enhance empathy.

  4. Build Unbreakable Teams: Successful teams and organizations are built on strong relationships that tie together all team members, even in the most difficult situations. And, of course, leaders play a fundamental role in this. When they excel in emotional intelligence, they build rapport and trust effortlessly by being approachable, supportive, and consistently showing appreciation for their team's efforts.

  5. Communication: Crystal Clear: I value transparency as one of the fundamental traits of any human being, not just leaders. I am convinced that clear and effective communication is the lifeblood of any organization and that emotional intelligence enhances your ability to convey messages clearly, listen actively, and respond appropriately. The result is that team members feel heard and valued, reducing any type of misunderstandings.

  6. Bounce Back Like a Boss: Another characteristic of emotionally intelligent leaders is resilience. Resilience is the one mindset that allows people and organizations to deal with setbacks while maintaining a positive approach, giving them the stamina to persevere through challenges. Building resilience involves learning from failures, maintaining a balanced perspective, cultivating a positive outlook, and collectively strengthening a team's ability to adapt and thrive. Want to know more? Go here.

  7. Decisions with Heart and Mind: Decision-making is never only about the rational analysis of facts and information. There is always an emotional component in making a decision, even if most people are unaware of it. Emotionally intelligent leaders not only understand their underlying feelings but also balance logic with emotion in their decision-making process because they consider the emotional impact of their decisions on their team and stakeholders, leading to more holistic and effective outcomes.

  8. Culture of Positivity: Let’s make an obvious (I hope) statement: a positive work environment significantly boosts morale and productivity. The positive environment is a byproduct of a culture of respect and mutual support, where everyone feels safe to express their opinions, ideas, and vulnerabilities without fearing being judged. You can call it psychological safety. And that’s what leaders with high EQ do: they encourage a healthy work-life balance, recognize and celebrate achievements, and address conflicts swiftly and fairly.

  9. Conflict Ninja: Talking about conflicts… they are inevitable. The goal of any leader should be to handle them constructively for all the involved parties. EQ helps because it allows one to approach conflicts with empathy and a solution-focused mindset, aiming for win-win outcomes. Other than empathy, handling negotiations and difficult conversations requires active listening, understanding underlying issues, and facilitating open dialogue. We have written a helpful guide on how to handle difficult conversations, which is available here.

  10. Lifelong Growth Mindset: Like any other skill, developing EQ requires consistency and application. There a plethora of ways to increase the EQ: coaching, dedicated training, mentorship, and regular reflections on experiences are probably the most common techniques. A positive side effect of this constant pursuit of improvement is setting an example for team members and building a culture of continuous learning.

The Perfect Time to Develop Emotional Intelligence is Now

We have made the case for Emotional intelligence (EQ) to set exceptional leaders apart.

As Daniel Goleman emphasized, cultivating EQ is key to success. Furthermore, leaders must invest in their emotional skills, not just for their own benefit but also for their teams'.

Embrace EQ; the future of leadership depends on it.


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