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The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership - HRDQ

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

While technical skills may help you quickly climb into a management position, your soft skills are what will help you successfully lead teams and foster positive workplace relationships. Emotional intelligence, in particular, is a key leadership skill that will help you effectively coach team members, solve problems, and collaborate with colleagues. Here’s a closer look at what emotional intelligence is and why it is such an important quality for leaders to possess.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions. It also refers to your ability to understand the emotions of those you interact with. By developing your emotional intelligence, you will be able to improve your workplace relationships and positively influence your colleagues and team members.

High emotional intelligence means that you are able to recognize your feelings, what they mean, and how they can impact others. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are able to utilize their emotions appropriately to influence positive outcomes.

This is a must-have skill for leaders. It helps them effectively manage teams without causing rifts or conflicts. Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to get the most out of their employees and adapt their leadership style as needed to accommodate employees with different personalities.

The Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is often broken down into five key components:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Social awareness
  • Social skills
  • Self-motivation

By improving in each of these areas, managers can improve their overall emotional intelligence to become better workplace leaders.


To get the most out of your team, you first need to be able to get the most out of yourself, which is why self-awareness is so important for leaders.

Self-awareness simply means understanding how you feel and how these feelings can affect others in the workplace. You should be able to recognize your strengths, weaknesses, and emotions.


Self-regulation or self-management refers to your ability to manage and control your own emotions. Leaders need to be able to keep their emotions under control and maintain a positive outlook despite whatever obstacles they may run into.

This is particularly important in stressful situations, as leaders need to be able to respond to adversity in a calm and appropriate manner.

Social Awareness

Social awareness has to do with your ability to empathize with others and understand their emotions. To effectively communicate with their team members, leaders need to be able to understand and recognize their employees’ feelings.

Empathetic leaders support the professional and personal growth of their employees and are able to effectively maintain positive workplace morale.

Social Skills

Social skills are essential for a successful leader.  Social skills include your ability to effectively communicate, collaborate, influence, coach, and mentor others. It also refers to your ability to successfully resolve conflicts and manage difficult situations.

Leaders with developed social skills are able to build and maintain positive workplace relationships to the benefit of themselves and their colleagues.


The ability to self-motivate is a critical skill for managers to possess. Leaders need to be constantly working towards their personal and professional goals, as well as the goals of the organization as a whole.

Successful leaders should also be able to effectively motivate their employees and maintain high standards for productivity and efficiency.

Designed for management development, the Emotional Intelligence Skills Assessment (EISA) measures adult emotional intelligence on five scales: perceiving, managing, decision making, achieving, and influencing. Shop Now

Why Emotional Intelligence is Important in Leadership

Emotional intelligence is important for a variety of reasons. Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to develop and maintain a positive, productive, and efficient workplace while constantly motivating their employees to put their best foot forward.

Leaders with this important skill are able to create workplace environments in which employees feel comfortable taking risks and sharing their ideas. They are able to make difficult decisions, resolve conflict effectively, and adapt to changing business goals and circumstances.

A lack of emotional intelligence inhibits a leader’s ability to effectively collaborate and communicate with others. When a leader is not able to manage their emotions, employees may be less eager to share their ideas and are less likely to reach their full potential.

Improve Your Emotional Intelligence with HRDQ

Developing your emotional intelligence will make you a better leader as you are able to inspire confidence, communicate effectively, and successfully collaborate with others in the workplace. This key skill ensures you can get the most out of your team while achieving your own personal and professional goals.

At HRDQ, we provide high-quality emotional intelligence trainings, materials and libraries to help leaders develop the skills they need to be successful. Designed for management development, the Emotional Intelligence Skills Assessment (EISA) can be used as a standalone training resource or a powerful complement to assist leadership development, team building, and communication effectiveness programs. Shop Now 

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About our author

Bradford R. Glaser

Brad is President and CEO of HRDQ, a publisher of soft-skills learning solutions, and HRDQ-U, an online community for learning professionals hosting webinars, workshops, and podcasts. His 35+ years of experience in adult learning and development have fostered his passion for improving the performance of organizations, teams, and individuals.