• Scott McLellan

Emotional Intelligence and Leaders

How do people become leaders within business and organisations? There are many approaches, talent pools, leadership development programs, recommendations and external recruitment.

There is also another approach that is often used to identify leaders. Find the top performers in their roles and put them into leadership positions! There are few that attempt to develop or identify individuals with high emotional intelligence. Why is this? Lack of knowledge of the benefits or EQ or perhaps it’s the approach they have always taken. In this blog I am going to explore the benefits of leaders with high Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Awareness

The more we are aware of our own and the emotions of others the greater the opportunity to create positive outcomes both personally and professionally. Leaders with low emotional awareness will not be aware of their mood and the impact they are having on others, many of us have experienced a leader or manager who is not in a good place and the impact they have had on others.

Leaders with high emotional awareness can understand their mood and make changes if required. When in a positive emotional state, leaders will energise those who they work with. Causing them to approach tasks actively and with enthusiasm.


When people are asked to use three words to describe the best leaders they have had, they often say direction, challenge and positivity. All traits that a leader with high EQ will demonstrate, having good self management ensures that they are able to control their emotions. This is key to success. Making too many emotional decisions will lead to changes in direction, the road to success is never smooth and leaders who can control their emotions and stay committed to the goal will get there. Teams become fatigues and lose focus if leaders continually change direction based on the emotion of the moment.

Having high self management will also make sure that leaders are able to adapt to situations and to different types of people. There are many methods we can use to understand what type of people we are and those who are different us. Those who are able to understand their emotions towards these situations or people are more likely to be able to change them and create positive outcomes and relationships.

Social Awareness

It is essential that leaders have empathy. When leading people it is known that they are going to have issues both personally and professionally. Leaders with low EQ may expect and even tell people to leave their problems at the door! Why? So, they don’t have to deal with it. I am not sure about you, but I am yet to find this magic door. Teams who are told to ‘suck it up’ and not bring issues into work are proven to perform worst and have higher levels of absence. Whilst leaders who have empathy will embrace their people and be willing to have at times uncomfortable conversations. Understanding what our people are going through and supporting them will lead to higher engagement and improved performance. A study by Gallup showed that employees who had leaders with high EQ were 4 times less likely to leave an organisation.

Relationship Management

Leaders who have high EQ will have stringer relationship management, they will be able to influence others towards positive outcomes. They will also be able to manage conflict within the team, this is essential for success. Conflict within a team when not challenged or managed effectively can spread causing further issues. Leaders with good relationship management will make a positive intervention at the right time ensuring that all parties have a positive outcome and move towards success together. They will also be strong coaches as the focus will be on the coachee and agreed actions as opposed to their own actions and pre-determined outcomes.

Emotional intelligence is vital in all of us. Especially when we lead others, the next time you are hiring and looking for your next leaders please keep the above points in your thoughts. You will improve your leadership team, your culture and have improved performance. What is not to like?

If you would like to know more and Embrace EQ in your leadership team please visit my website

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