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Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: How to Be a Better One

read in Strategy

Emotionally intelligent leadership is vitally important to any successful business. Learn how to improve your emotional intelligence as a business leader.

With over 33 million small businesses just in the U.S., there are tens of millions of business leaders out there. While not every business has employees, millions of them do provide employment to others.

The decisions those business leaders make affect the lives and continued employment prospects of all their employees. Yet, poor leadership is one of the main reasons why businesses fail.

Good leaders don’t just recognize business opportunities or possess good financial skills. They must lead people. Doing that well requires emotionally intelligent leadership.

Are you worried that you may not have what you need for emotional intelligence in leadership? Keep reading for some key tips on how you can improve your emotional intelligence and become a better leader.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Broadly speaking, emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize your emotions and productively manage them.

For example, let’s say that you get into an argument with a friend. You walk away angry and a little bitter about the argument. If you don’t recognize those emotional responses, you can end up taking them out on other friends or family members.

If you do recognize those emotions, it lets you channel them in non-destructive ways. You could use them as fuel for a workout or pour that energy into launching a side hustle.

Emotional intelligence goes beyond your own emotions. It also means you can recognize emotions in others and, to a lesser degree, manage those emotions as well.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence plays a very important role in maintaining healthy and productive relationships. Understanding your own emotions lets you direct them appropriately, rather than lashing out in inappropriate ways or towards inappropriate people.

Recognizing other people’s emotional states lets you deal with them in healthy ways. For example, if you see that your friend or coworker is upset, you may choose to put off a difficult conversation until a time when they’re on a more even keel. It also lets you offer emotional support at a time when they may feel particularly vulnerable.

If you fail to recognize someone’s emotional state, it can unintentionally lead you into a conflict where the other person takes an entrenched position. Once that happens, resolving an issue becomes increasingly difficult. 

In essence, recognizing emotional states and properly managing them often proves invaluable in preserving and deepening personal and professional relationships.

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Applying emotional intelligence in leadership has several benefits. Let’s break down a few of the most important benefits.


You need solid self-awareness before you can understand what you value. For example, if you don’t understand that you put a high value on self-discipline, you’ll never understand why people who don’t share that value bother you. You’ll just find yourself dismissing or conflicting with those people over and over.

By the same token, when you understand what motivates you, it helps you understand what motivates others. While someone might not value self-discipline, they might put a lot of value on creativity. Knowing that helps you direct the other person more effectively.


While you don’t have to share someone’s position, understanding it can prove beneficial. Good leaders make an effort to see where others are coming from and account for that.

Simply communicating that you understand someone’s position can make them feel seen. That, in turn, can make them more likely to see your position in a better light.


Since emotionally intelligent people excel at managing their own emotions, they do well at self-motivation. They can set aside distractions and get down to work.

That kind of motivation often rubs off on those around you. You can see a similar effect when a naturally happy person enters a conversation. Others around them will often become more upbeat.

Simply by modeling things like drive and ambition become a spur for motivation and productivity.

Better Communication

Good leaders must become good communicators. After all, you cannot lead if you cannot express what you want from others.

Just as importantly, the way you express yourself can support or undermine your vision and goals. If you communicate only in logical terms, you’ll only get some of your employees on board. It will fall flat with those who need a more emotional approach.

Good emotional intelligence lets you gear your communication with the audience. For example, you can hit the emotional high points with some people and focus more on the rational with others.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence takes time, but you can do it. The first step is often simple observation.

You must observe how you react to situations. Observe how others react.

Put a name to those reactions. If you cannot identify your own emotions as they occur, or the emotions of others, you cannot manage them.

Engage in active listening. When someone talks to you, make sure that you acknowledge the key point of what they’re saying back to you.

This ensures that you do understand what they’re saying. It also ensures that they know that you heard what they were trying to tell you.

Practice motivating yourself. If necessary, use tools that help you with that, such as apps or other technology.

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership and You

Emotionally intelligent leadership is crucial for building a successful business in the long term. Without it, you risk alienating your employees. While some people might stick around for a time under those conditions, people who excel in their roles will find somewhere else to work.

Beyond that, emotionally intelligent leaders often get a lot more out of their employees. Good emotional intelligence lets you communicate better and motivate better. It also helps you avoid and mitigate conflicts.

You can even use technology to help.

Nizek specializes in custom software for businesses. If you need a custom solution, contact Nizek today.


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