Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is essential for a leader to be successful.  EI is the ability to be aware of and manage your emotions and the emotions of other people.  Psychologist Daniel Goleman, who has written many books on EI, states there are five key elements of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-Awareness

  • Self-Regulation

  • Motivation

  • Empathy

  • Social Skills (Goleman, 1995).

As a leader, your ability to manage these five aspects will significantly influence your level of emotional intelligence (Emotional Intelligence in Leadership, 2017).  Let's briefly discuss each of the five aspects.  Each  aspect will be discussed in more detail along with information on correction implementation in following posts.


Self-awareness is defined as your ability to understand your emotions and the impact they have on your behavior or actions and the effect they have on others.  Simply, it is the journey to understanding who you are and why you react or respond in certain ways.  This is not always an easy journey.  Emotions can appear and change quickly, be a combination of multiple emotions, and occur in stressful and challenging times, which can make awareness illusive and difficult.


Self-Regulation is defined as  "the ability to calm yourself down when you are upset and cheer yourself up when you're down" (Stosny, 2011).  When a leader has the ability to self-regulate, he or she is unlikely to have emotional outbursts, stereotype people, or jeopardize their principles.


Defined as what drives us to improve, achieve, commit to goals, have initiative , readiness to react, optimism, and resilience.  In essence, motivation is what keeps us going and moving forward (Goleman, 2011).


Empathy is the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing or feeling.  Hence, empathy is your ability to put yourself in another person's shoes and understand their point of view.  Practicing empathy strengthens relationships, positively influences pro-social behaviors, and produces an understanding of the wants and needs of others (Ioannidou & Konstantikaki, 2008).

Social Skills

Social skills refer to a leader's ability to build and manage relationships and networks, establish rapport, and find common ground.  All of which are key to effective communication, improving relationships, quality of life, and building teams.  Additionally, social skills are broken down into six subs-skills consisting of persuasion  and influencing, communication, managing conflict, change management, building bonds, and teamwork (Great Leaders, n.d).

My next post will delve deeper into the aspect and correction implementation concerning Self-Awareness, Self -Regulation, and Motivation.

Thank you for reading! I look forward to your comments.



Emotional Intelligence in Leadership. (2017). MindTools. Retrieved from


Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Random House

Goleman, D. (2011, December 28). Motivation: What moves us?

     Retrieved from

     https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-brain-and-emotional- intelligence/201112/motivation-


Great leaders need great social skills! (n.d.). Retrieved from

    http://bookboonglobal.com/great-leaders-need-great-social-skills-do-you-have-what-it- takes/

Ioannidou, F., & Konstantikaki, V. (2008). Empathy and emotional intelligence: What is it about? International Journal of Caring Sciences, 1(3), 118-123.

     Retrieved from


Stosny, S. (2011, October 28). Self-Regulation. Retrieved from

     https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201110/self- regulation



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