Why EQ Matters in Leadership

Managing is about stuff. We manage stuff like budgets, buildings and inventories. While we may get emotional over too much inventory we never have to worry about inventory getting emotional with us when we decide to have a sale to “blow out excess inventory.” 

Leadership on the other hand is all about people. People, like you and me and every other human being on the planet are emotional. That’s why EQ matters so much in leadership. 

Emotional intelligence, often referred to as EQ (emotional quotient), is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions in yourself and others. It plays a crucial role in effective leadership for several reasons.

  • Leaders with high emotional intelligence are self-aware and understand their emotions. They know how they impact others. This self-awareness allows them to manage their behavior. They make conscious decisions rather than being driven solely by their emotions. They can accurately assess their own abilities and set realistic goals. This leads to better decision-making and overall effectiveness.
  • Leaders with emotional intelligence have the ability to empathize with others. That means they can understand and relate to their emotions and perspectives. This enables them to build strong relationships. They connect with their team members, and create a supportive work environment. By showing empathy, leaders can build trust, loyalty, and cooperation. All of which are essential for team collaboration and productivity.
  • Emotional intelligence enhances a leader’s communication skills. They can express their thoughts and ideas clearly, while also actively listening to others. Leaders who are tuned into the emotions of their team members can tailor their communication style to address individual needs. This ensures that their messages are well-received and understood. Effective communication is key to collaboration, reducing conflicts, and promoting a positive work culture.
  • In any organization, conflicts are bound to pop up. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can handle conflicts and difficult situations with finesse. They can understand the underlying emotions and perspectives of those involved. They can respond in a calm and empathetic manner. By creating open dialogue and finding mutually beneficial solutions, emotionally intelligent leaders can resolve conflicts more effectively and maintain a healthy work environment.
  • Emotional intelligence enables leaders to navigate change and uncertainty. They can manage their own emotions and help others deal with challenging situations. By demonstrating adaptability and a positive attitude, they inspire and motivate their team members to embrace change. They encourage them to overcome obstacles and stay focused on achieving their goals.
  • Leaders with high emotional intelligence have the ability to inspire and motivate their team members. They can tap into their emotions and aspirations and align them with the organization’s vision. They can provide meaningful feedback and recognition. By recognizing and appreciating the contributions of their team, emotionally intelligent leaders create a sense of belonging.

Leaders who possess a high EQ are better equipped to build strong relationships with their people. The lead teams more effectively. They create a positive and productive work environment. They understand the differences between authentically leading people and trying to manage them. If you don’t understand the difference between the two it’s very likely you are trying to manage people rather than lead them. That means you have an opportunity to improve. 

Whether or not you seize that opportunity is completely up to you. I hope for your people’s sake you do. 

4 thoughts on “Why EQ Matters in Leadership

  1. Steve – From the “Vocabulary for Success”:
    Emotional Intelligence
    Emotional intelligence is a hard-skill competency of the leadership function of high-growth management and involves managing the emotional and interpersonal aspects of the leadership manager’s position on how hard-skill actions affect direct reports.

    Emotional intelligence is the behavioral side of management, which must always accompany a leadership manager’s objective side of management. An example of the use of emotional intelligence is in the hard-skill competencies of the function of control, in evaluation and appraisal. Evaluation is in the objective side of leadership management; appraisal is in the subjective and emotional intelligence side. Both are critical. Critical Thinking is a hard-skill element of emotional intelligence in leadership decision making.

    1. This is WAY over complicating EQ. Some of it it also contradictory. For instance high EQ leaders would never consider “control” to be a function of leadership. I get what the comment is trying to say but it’s just not that complicated.

  2. Our emotional bank account is not endless and requires regular recharging! We must find and do pleasurable things away from work that restore us.

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