The Emotionally Intelligent Leader

by Zach Montroy, SPHR

Emotional intelligence (EQ), a term coined by researchers Peter Salavoy, Daniel Goleman and John Mayar, refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand and manage their emotions, as well as the ability to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others. Someone with high EQ is aware of how their emotions drive their own behaviors and impact others. They are also capable of managing those emotions, both their own and others, even while under intense pressure.

Often, when one is asked to assess another person’s intelligence, they point to their intelligence quotient (or IQ). For years this was a litmus test to see how much potential one had, or how intelligent they really were. But we now know that there are different types of intelligence that can impact a person’s potential in their career.

“Emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart. It includes knowing what your feelings are and using your feelings to make good decisions in life. It’s being able to manage distressing moods well and control impulses. It’s being motivated and remaining hopeful and optimistic when you have setbacks in working towards goals.” (Wilson, 1997)

Emotional intelligence is best described by Daniel Goleman as a “merging of neuroscience with the study of emotions.” Goleman’s four areas of fundamentals in regards to emotional intelligence are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and the ability to manage relationships.

Goleman’s research in applying emotional intelligence to leadership has redefined what it means to be intelligent. His theory for developing healthy emotional intelligence was groundbreaking. It helped leaders not only understand their emotions but also learn how to manage them to create an atmosphere of emotional stability in the workplace. As one author put it: “the fundamental task of leaders…is to prime good feeling in those they lead. That occurs when a leader creates resonance — a reservoir of positivity that unleashes the best in people. At its root, then, the primal job of leadership is emotional.” (Rotella, Gold & Andriani, 2002)

EQ plays an important role in everyday life, particularly in a business setting. Proven to account for 50–60% of overall job success, emotional intelligence is a proven skill that’s necessary for your team members. People with higher levels of emotional intelligence have the ability to be aware of and control their own emotions and have empathetic relationships with others. They work better with others, manage clients more efficiently, and help foster a welcoming and accepting company culture.

Emotional intelligence is one of the most pivotal predictors of success in successful entrepreneurial leaders. A study published in The Leadership and Organization Development Journal showed that effective leaders, ones that were leading profitable companies, distinguished themselves by showing much higher levels of emotional intelligence in key areas like reality testing, problem-solving, empathy and decision making. In fact, EQ simply on its own was able to predict the profitable from less profitable CEOs almost 90% of the time. In other words, emotionally intelligent leaders lead their companies to profitability with greater ease and with more success than their emotionally unintelligent counterparts.


At The Intention Collective, we’d love to talk with you personally about how you can build your emotional intelligence and improve your career leadership potential. We would love to design a personalized coaching program for you based on your EQ results to lead you to new levels of emotional intelligence and help you become a better leader, one who’s able to realize their goals.

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