The Emotionally Intelligent Leader

Raising your Emotional Intelligence

closeup of a young caucasian man showing a label-shaped chalkboard with the text emotional intelligence written in it

Emotional intelligence (E.I.) is a crucial but often overlooked leadership attribute. Having emotional intelligence allows you to recognize you’re own and other’s emotional state, manage them appropriately, and be able to use them to influence your behaviors and attitude. Author Daniel Goleman said this about emotional intelligence, If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. When you are emotionally intelligent you will be able to effectively lead the people on your team. To raise your emotional intelligent you should consistently recognize and show your emotions.

Recognize your emotions

The first step is to be aware and recognize your emotions. In any given day you can feel a variety of different emotions. You should practice taking the time to recognize and evaluate the emotions you are having, especially during times of crisis or demand. When this is done it will allow you to be aware of your emotional state and be in a position to manage your emotions. Recognizing and then managing your emotions is the first step of being an emotionally intelligent leader.

Show your emotions

In Marin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech he showed the emotions he was feeling about equal rights. His passion and emotions caused people to stand beside him during his leadership. You can use your emotions for your advantage when you incorporate them into your speaking, speeches, and body language. Be careful not to share or embody the emotions that could be potentially damaging, for example uncontrolled anger or unresolved frustration, these types of emotions could negatively impact your leadership. At the same time you should not be afraid to appropriately communicate your feelings with your people. Showing your emotions tells your people it’s safe to share their own emotions.    

Questions: Are you intentionally raising and maintain your emotional intelligence as a leader? How do you practice being an emotionally intelligent leader?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • This is rarely talked about, but such a huge issue. Emotions, we all have them, but allowing them to steamroll out of control is damaging to leaders and everyone, really.

    Like you said, the first thing to do is to be aware of the emotions and try to figure out what triggered them in the first place. I find that passion, compassion, and justice are usually emotions that bring about right minded practices, especially in leadership.

    The emotions brought from the pride and ego side of the tracks are usually the ones that wreck us and everyone around us.

    • Great points Floyd,

      Being able to be aware and manage our emotions is crucial. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • Your post reminds me of something I heard a long time ago about anger hiding our true emotions (pain, betrayal, shame, etc).
    I think it’s very important to be able to identify what we are truly feeling. Otherwise we are spinning our wheels and getting nowhere.
    Knowing what we truly think and feel enables us to grow.

    • Great points! I’ve found at times that’s easier said than done, it takes hard work and focused awareness to be able to identify our true feeling.