Emotional Intelligence: The characteristic of a great leader

While goal setting and leadership skills are important to being a successful leader, the most essential element of a great leader is emotional intelligence


When one thinks of a great leader, a few different qualities may come to mind. Qualities such as IQ level, type-A personality, and a desire to hustle at all costs. However, a quality which is often overlooked is emotional intelligence.

Embracing this concept and the methods of measuring emotional intelligence by way of an emotional quotient test (commonly called an EQ test) are relatively new, but no one can deny the importance of a leaders ability to make an authentic, emotional connection with those around him/her. A leader that exhibits a high EQ is more likely to establish trust within their team, colleagues and coworkers, thus improving the teams work ethic to the benefit of the company as a whole. Emotional intelligence is what is separating average managers and business owners from extraordinary managers and business owners.

What exactly is EQ?

The current way of measuring someone's emotional quotient is by giving it a similar framework to that of an IQ test that defines it as a fixed measurement that you have been born with. However, the more research being done on the subject shows that there are multiple layers to the concept and, as of now, it consistInsert Horizontal Rules of 4 key domains. Those include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Some of the domains are ingrained behaviors while others are learnable. This means you can grow your EQ and acquire the skills needed to be an effective and impactful leader.

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist that attests to these findings, stating that many great business leaders have a high level of emotional intelligence and that without it, they will be lacking in leadership quality.

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How emotional intelligence is expressed

The greatest leaders express their emotional intellect by reacting appropriately to stressful situations. That being with an open mind, optimism, understanding, and determination to keep the morale of their team up. They may utilize integration solutions to more easily organize information in an effort to make informed decisions on their approach to colleagues, employees, and customer relations.

One who has a high EQ is also more likely to take the time to sit down with people and actively listen to what they are saying, work to understand the situation and each point of view involved and come up with an innovative solution to the problem or task at hand. This is why high EQ makes for a top-notch leader, because of their ability to understand the reasons behind certain issues and how to address them in a way that the majority end up being satisfied with the outcome of the situation.

Understanding the thoughts and emotions that act as the driving force behind your employee's work is of utmost importance, and great leaders understand that having emotionally satisfied employees allows a business to function like a well-oiled machine, drastically increasing its potential for success.

The "Dark Side" of EQ

As our studies on EQ evolve many have started to ask whether there is a "dark side" of having a high amount of emotional intelligence and findings show that just like having a high IQ can be dangerous when in the wrong hands, so can be a high EQ.

Some of the worlds most brutal leaders such as Hitler, for example, exhibited an extremely high EQ. He would often use his ability to empathize with others as a way to manipulate their emotions and drive them to support his mission. Can you imagine what the positive change he could have facilitated in the world if he had good intentions? Having a high EQ, unfortunately, does not mean that the person with it is using it for good.

In conclusion

Take an EQ test and see what your results are. In doing so, you'll be able to capitalize on your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses to become a great leader yourself. A position of power is a great responsibility and it is important that someone learning to read and understand people is doing so for the right reasons. Learning emotional intelligence will allow you to facilitate better relationships with those around you, providing people with a place of work that they enjoy and feel comfortable thus benefiting your business. 

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