December 15, 2016

Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Effective Leadership

Written by Shina Neo

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In today’s hyperconnected work environment, organizations are continuing to expand, building a multicultural workforce spanning the global marketplace. In order to be successful and stay relevant and competitive, it is critical to develop emotionally intelligent leaders capable of producing bottom line results. 

Great leaders possess high levels of emotional intelligence. More specifically, they have the ability to manage their own emotions and relate to others’ emotions in a way that cultivates strong interpersonal relationships. By understanding how they feel affects those around them, they can change their approach and behavior to elicit a positive response. 

Highly emotionally intelligent leaders have the ability to improve organizational performance and increase employee engagement and productivity. They have the responsibility to guide and influence others towards a common objective. Successful organizations implement leadership development training programs that not only build the hard and soft skills needed to be effective, but also develop a high degree of emotional intelligence to become more relatable and understanding. 

“Science has learned that if you are tuned out of your own emotions, you will be poor at reading them in other people,” said Daniel Goleman, author of “Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence” in a Forbes article. “Star leaders are stars at leading themselves, first.” 

Here are five attributes of emotional intelligence for leadership, according to an Inc. article. 


Before attempting to influence others, take a look at yourself and make note of your strengths and weaknesses, values and goals. How can you attempt to lead others without careful analysis of yourself? It is important to understand how you analyze situations and make certain decisions before leading a group of people who will look to you for guidance. 


Being a leader means taking on the responsibility of your actions and the actions of those you lead. In addition to taking on more responsibility, it is important to clearly communicate your values, vision and goals with your team. Sometimes it is necessary to take the time to think before you act in highly stressful situations. Analyzing and controlling your emotions to influence a positive behavior in your team can make a difference in whether or not you are successful at achieving your goal.

Feeling Empathy and Compassion

Oftentimes, we can be quick to place judgment on others or assume how they must feel; however, in order to truly influence others means to put yourself in their position and attempt to relate on a more compassionate and personal level. Effective leadership means understanding what makes your team productive and motivated.

Managing Relationships

Great leaders build strong relationships based on trust. Employees who have faith and respect in their leader are more loyal and productive. By establishing and maintaining healthy relationships with your team, you have greater influence in motivating them to achieve organizational objectives.

Effective Communication

As previously mentioned, the ability to effectively communicate with your team makes it easier to achieve your goals. In today’s multicultural and diverse work environment, failure to communicate is commonplace. Organizations must make it a point to implement effective communication tactics in their leadership training to avoid miscommunication.

Highly effective leaders recognize the importance of making employees feel valued and appreciated. Employees are more loyal, productive and willing to put in the extra effort when they believe in the common goal and have respect for the person leading. Organizations that implement emotional intelligence training as part of their leadership development program will be successful in the long run.


Shina Neo

Shina Neo is the content marketing manager at Content Raven where she is responsible for the publication of all blog posts, white papers, eBooks, infographics and social media campaigns. Previously, Shina worked as a news reporter and has written for numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. She holds a Masters of Science in Journalism from Boston University.

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