Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Onyinye Osunwoke Written by Onyinye Osunwoke · 2 min read >

Most leaders expect productivity and efficiency from their teams in driving and delivering success for the organization. These expectations are rightfully valid. However, in realizing these successful outcomes, a cautious leader will understand that the success of the team lies beyond their competencies. How are these competencies mined for continuous improvements? What are the emotions and motivations that lead the team to perform optimally?

The emotional intelligence framework provides a good structure for effective leadership. It is known that a strong leadership is the key driver for success in achieving a high-performance culture. In turn, emotional intelligence is the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.

Emotional intelligence, (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is “most often defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. People with high emotional intelligence can recognize their own emotions and those of others.” (Wikipedia)

This article will speak to the components of emotional intelligence and its importance in the workplace.

Fun Facts on Emotional Intelligence

  • Intelligence quotient (IQ) is ‘’fixed at a certain age”, while “emotional intelligence is flexible and responsive to change.” (Travis Bradberry)
  • IQ accounts for only 20% of life’s success; the major predictor of life’s success is EQ.

Did you know we have 2 minds?

  • The head – this is the one that thinks, the rational brain.
  • The heart – this is the one that feels, the emotional brain.

There will always be a tussle between rationale and emotion in finding a mutual influence. In the past, leaders typically executed a military approach to leading. Now, experts advise that leaders find an acceptable balance between head and heart. This is emotional intelligence, and it has become a necessary skillset for leaders in achieving success through balanced techniques. A leader with poor emotional intelligence, though fully equipped with technical expertise, will not lead an organization productively.

Two Sides to EQ

The capacity to perceive, control and express one’s emotions reflects your intrapersonal emotional quotient. The ability to decode and respond appropriately to the emotions of others speaks to your interpersonal emotional quotient.

Here are some traits of intrapersonal and interpersonal emotional intelligence as they affect good leadership.

Emotional self-controlNon-judgemental
Ability to control impulsive behaviourEffective communication
A passion to succeed despite the challengesAttentiveness with great listening skills
Effective stress managementResponsiveness
Ability to control fearAssertive, is fair but firm
Management of anxiety and excitementApproachable

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

  • It promotes a positive work culture.
  • It promotes growth, innovation, and creativity among team members.
  • It motivates team members and leaders to always do their best.
  • It helps leaders and employees make the right decisions in difficult times.
  • It develops a strong bond between a leader and their team.

4 Competencies of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

  1. Self-Awareness – As a leader, understand your strengths and weaknesses, and how to control your emotions.
  2. Self-Management – This is the ability of leaders to manage their emotions during a difficult situation. They should always maintain a positive outlook during chaos.
  3. Social awareness – This reflects a leader’s consciousness of the business environment as well as the people in the organization. Empathy has a significant impact on a leader’s social awareness. An empathic leader will understand and manage human behaviour effectively.
  4. Relationship Management – This reflects a leader’s ability in resolving conflicts, mentoring, influencing, and coaching their team members positively for optimal outputs.

As my career and capacity gains momentum in the corporate and business worlds, I am glad that I had the foresight to start to develop my emotional intelligence. A studied and formal approach to EI has certainly deepened my understanding to its relevance in leadership.

Business leaders are faced with so many considerations to maintaining an emotionally intelligent outlook. These include adaptabilities to local and foreign cultures, policies, generational changes, and so much more.

In such an ever-evolving world, I find that the process is continuous, but worth undertaking as there are enormous benefits to be gained.

My best wishes, everyone.


  ·   1 min read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: