Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Recognizing your emotions and the emotions of others.

What is Emotional Intelligence?


The theory of emotional intelligence was developed by Dr. Daniel Goleman in the 1990s. In its concept, it is the ability to regulate your emotions, as well as the emotions of the people around you. Similarly, the definition of Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and others’ emotions. Further, you discern between different feelings and label them appropriately and use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. One learns to manage or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goals.

Emotional Competencies, Dr. Goleman’s Theory


In the 1990s, psychologist Daniel Goleman identified five key areas that comprise the Daniel Goleman emotional intelligence theory. These five areas are; Self-Awareness, Motivation, Empathy, Self-Regulation, and Social Skills. He believed that exploring these five elements offers evidence of how these attributes contribute to successful leaders and leadership. A leader builds their trait EI by boosting their emotional intelligence and gaining control over their own emotions as well as others’ feelings. They further gain the confidence of the team by interacting effectively and harmoniously with other people.

Putting Emotional Intelligence Psychology to Real Life


If we attempt to look at emotional intelligence in everyday life, it often shows a different picture. We all get the general concept of keeping our emotions in check. However, it isn’t easy to do so when our day gets away from us. For example, when our emails are blowing up, or other people in the office are increasing our stress. Or, you might find it difficult when deadlines are looming, for instance. Some of us are even affected when we haven’t had our second coffee cup to optimize our energy tank. So, yes, indeed, managing emotions can get the best of us. The key to successful emotional intelligence in the workplace is building higher emotional intelligence and greater social awareness.

What is Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?


Emotional intelligence in the workplace is basically controlling your emotions so you can be a better leader for your team while simultaneously being aware of other team members’ feelings and providing an emotionally safe environment that encourages progress. Combining all aspects of emotional intelligence skills gives you the upper hand in persuading your team to achieve their goals.


First, you become self-aware of your own emotions and suppress negative responses and recognize how your emotions affect others. Next, you become equally aware of others’ feelings, reactions, and body language. When you understand other people’s emotions; consequently, it allows you to manage relationships, listen, and relate to others more effectively and successfully. The team thus becomes stronger and more confident in the honesty of the employment relationship. You begin managing emotions as well as managing people, and the desired results rise. Your teams become motivated to reach new levels of competency and success.

How Does One Lead With Emotional Intelligence?


Certainly, from the perspective of influence and leadership, this theory is wildly helpful. For starters, regulating our emotions in management means that we don’t allow ourselves to get too high or too low. Instead, we control our emotional state, keeping a consistent level and denying natural impulses that may otherwise be a part of our personality traits.


Assume we display the full spectrum of emotions daily. In that case, our coworkers and employees get the message that we are unbalanced even though this perception lacks the essence of leadership motivation. In fact, it sends a powerful message that we don’t care. The perceiving emotion of negativity toward the team is a dangerous and slippery slope for leaders to display outwardly, or even inadvertently. While it is essential to know things, it is far more critical to show your team that you care. As the saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

How Do You React Under Stress? What Level of Emotional Intelligence Are You?


Suppose our ability EI in moments of duress doesn’t reflect our capacity to demonstrate empathy, Goleman’s third point of light in theory. In that case, you’ll come across as being tone-deaf. In other words, you’ll have no ability to perceive and understand what it is that people need at that moment. Additionally, once you’ve given someone a nasty look or made a rude comment, it’s difficult to regain their respect. 

Everyone around you evaluates your emotional reaction. Learning how to hone your emotional state and responses into a productive social skill will be your most valuable management skill yet. Gain self-awareness of your emotional skills with an emotional intelligence test.

Leading With Social Awareness


As leaders, the ability EI model is having control over perceiving, using, and understanding not only your own emotions but the emotions of others around you. Your social awareness of others’ emotions impacts both your leadership skill and style. As a leader, if you ignore the social skill of building team relationships with trust and accountability, the team rapport and your capacity to lead through conflict would be damaged. The messages sent to those around us are ‘fend for yourself or figure it out – you’re adults after all.’ For this reason, it is essential not to bring such negative emotions to our team building. 


Hence, it is vitally important to be a leader that uses emotional awareness and is equally emotionally intelligent. Ability EI matters in both big and small ways. For instance, when your team needs direction, guidance, follow-up, or follow through. You also need to understand their emotional intelligence quotient and an innate need for a place to share their fears, perceived limits, or shortcomings confidentially. If, as a leader, you are not emotionally available for them when they need you, your teamwork will diminish, and your influence will wane. 

EI vs. IQ


Emotional intelligence is not the same as intelligent people. Goleman argues that high EI is more valuable of an asset than a high IQ. A further study completed by the Asian Journal of Business Management in 2012 also confirms this theory in a comparative study of intelligence quotient and emotional intelligence effects on employees’ performance. This study concluded emotional intelligence is a key determining factor in employees’ performance levels and is considered more important than the intelligence quotient in the workplace. Why? Because EI allows for the leader to assess and respond to the people around them. With emotional intelligence training, a manager responds to intense moments with grace and engineers a workplace culture of emotional mindfulness. In conclusion, these teams reach higher success due to their leader’s cognitive intelligence.

Take the Leading with Emotional Intelligence Online Course: The Emotionally Intelligent Leader.


To learn more about emotional intelligence and how to leverage your EI for team success, click over to our E-Learning platform, and take the online course – The Emotionally Intelligent Leader.


In this course, we’ll explore what emotional intelligence skills are and how to achieve high emotional intelligence in your leadership life. Also, from the perspective of EI, you’ll walk away with a comprehensive set of tools, strategies, and skills. Furthermore, you’ll understand and know how to use the ability model and incorporate social awareness into your trait EI for sweeping success in leadership. You’ll also learn to remove negative emotions and gain the team’s confidence by developing interpersonal skills and applying soft skill strategies. Start now, build a high emotional intelligence today.