Why Emotional Intelligent Leaders Are Needed Now More Than Ever

This image shows a leader putting a paper cut heart on his pocket. This somehow illustrates that EQ is important in leadership

"Everything rises and falls on leadership…”

Dr. John Maxwell could not have said it better. Indeed, the success or failure of any team or organisation is directly related to its level of leadership.

With the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in this already volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous business environment, the demand for emotionally intelligent leaders cannot be overemphasized.

Leaders fuel an organisation’s emotional state. A good example is how a leader's poor behaviour toward others can easily trickle down the organisational ranks, resulting in toxic interactions and environment that will most likely lead to low employee engagement and high staff turnover.

In gist, social and emotional intelligence, especially those of the leaders, play a crucial role in the healthy growth of an organisation. 

What is Social and Emotional Intelligence?

Social and Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of your own emotions, and those of others -in the moment- and to use that information to manage yourself and your relationships. People with a high degree of Emotional Intelligence know what they are feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.

Being Emotionally Intelligent is critical for leaders who want to be effective in their role. Research shows that Emotional Intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance. In fact, Emotional Intelligence accounts for nearly 90 percent of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.

The Four Core Quadrants of Social and Emotional Intelligence

Social and Emotional Intelligence is typically broken down into four core competencies:

• Self-Awareness

• Self-Management

• Social Awareness

• Relationship Management

The more a leader develops each of these areas, the higher their emotional intelligence will be. Therefore, if you are a leader who aspires to improve your emotional intelligence, it’s important to understand what each core competency entails.

Here is a closer look at the four core quadrants:

Self Awareness.

Self-Awareness is the ability to know your internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions. It is the core area that underpins all competencies in the 4 quadrants.

 Self-Awareness gives you the ability to comprehend your own strengths and shortcomings. It gives you a sense of self-confidence and an inner peace knowing that you can meet life’s challenges and live the life you choose. Developing self-awareness allows you to recognise your own emotions as well as those of others and the impact they have on your performance and on of the rest of the team.

So, if you want to bring out the best in your team, you first need to bring out the best in yourself. This is where self-awareness comes into play.


Self-Management is the ability to manage your internal states, impulses, and resources. Leaders who lack self-management tend to react and have a harder time keeping their impulses in check.

Self-Management keeps you from exploiting your leadership privileges to attack or stereotype others, or from making rash or irrational decisions that contradict your principles. It requires you to maintain control over your response to your emotions and the impact on others, as well as to maintain a commitment to personal accountability.

Social Awareness

While it’s important to understand and manage your response to your own emotions as a leader, you also need to have the ability to understand and to be aware of the emotions, the feelings, the needs and the concerns of others.

This ability is called Social Awareness.

Social Awareness will not only help you understand others, but it will also help you understand the dynamics in play within your organisation.

Leaders who have high Social Awareness, demonstrate empathy. They try to empathise with and understand the thoughts and feelings of their coworkers, which helps them communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Relationship Management

Relationship Management is the ability to elicit desired behaviours in others. Having the skills in this quadrant will enable you as a leader to influence, coach, mentor others, and resolve conflicts effectively.

Avoiding conflict isn't always the best strategy, despite common opinion. Unresolved conflict, according to a research by the Harvard Business Review, is a huge drain on an organisation's resources. According to the findings of the research, each unresolved fight can take up to eight hours of company time in gossip and other wasteful activities, eroding resources and morale. On the other hand, leaders who deal with disagreement constructively, rather than avoiding it, have happier and more satisfied team members.


In the coming years, as we all become accustomed to the 'new normal,' Emotional Intelligence will be the most critical component of exceptional leadership. It will foster engagement, resulting in increased concentration and productivity, enhanced collaboration between departments, lower turnover, and more agile businesses in the marketplace.

Indeed, Emotional Intelligence enables leaders to develop emotionally intelligent teams, which in turn enables companies to succeed in today's volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous business environment and propel their organisation to greater heights.

We'll be delving deeper into Emotional Intelligence competencies over the next few months to help you and your team become your best selves. So, stay tuned!

We Are Here to Help

At People Builders, we have a team of expert trainers and coaches who can help you in building you and your team’s Emotional Intelligence. Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can partner with you to train and coach you and your team.

If you are interested in becoming certified to be a trainer and coach in Social and Emotional Intelligence, Applied Neuroscience, or Extended DISC, go to our People Builders Institute website.

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