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Is there a link between emotional intelligence and effective leadership?

June 3, 2018 By Mr. Rodger Pyrah, Senior AZTech Consultant

If we revisit the Harvard Business Review study of 2000, we find that mid-management executives were surveyed in order to identify their individual leadership styles and how they impacted on their companies’ performance. The study reported that a manager’s leadership style was behind up to 30 percent of a company’s profits and this further reinforced the significance of the five components of emotional intelligence. It concluded that where companies’ desire profitability they should not only invest in better processes and cost-cutting measures, but they should also invest in professional development with a focus on developing emotional intelligence. Strong leadership, they said, depends on the ability to evaluate the needs, expectations, and capabilities of those you lead. In order to be able to do this, leaders must be familiar with their own emotions without being completely ruled by them. A failure or inability to control emotions can lead to serious problems in a professional setting and can even jeopardize career advancement.

With all that has been written since about the benefits of emotional intelligence and its connection to a positive leadership experience, there are still some significant others who do not see inherent benefits in having a high level of emotional intelligence. However, regardless of the differing opinions on emotional intelligence, most agree that at some level, managers and leaders who are aware of their emotions and the emotions of others have better relationships with their colleagues. This in turn increases motivation and consequently improves the chances of success. This leads to the conclusion that emotional intelligence is advantageous. If you have these E.I. skills, practice, enhance and apply them to your life. If you do not, you need to develop these skills in order to improve your career prospects and maximise the benefits you can bring to your organisation’s success.

Having identified either a strong or tenuous link, depending on our point of view, it would still be worth a few moments to consider the five components of Emotional Intelligence and apply them to our lives.

Through practice we can all develop certain attributes to become a more effective leader. Most leaders come from strong technical ability which has been taught through school and honed at university. However leadership is not a technical skills. Leadership comes from conduct, attitude, trust and personality. This is one of the reasons why many successful employees become struggling managers and leaders. The term “emotional intelligence,” was initially used by Yale psychology professors in the early 1990s, and has since become a common term in the business world. Research, as we saw above, shows that those in leadership roles who lack emotional intelligence are severely limited in how successful they will become in their careers.

So what is Emotional Intelligence? Emotional intelligence comprises five distinct components: self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Each of this component is distinct, yet they are not mutually exclusive.

  1. Self-awareness is about knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, and values in order to understand how you interact with other people.
  2. Closely related to self-awareness, self-control oversees emotions, and those who have mastered it view problems as opportunities and remain calm when things become stressful.
  3. Motivation is infectious. If you are positive, your colleagues will be positive, if you are negative it will bread negativity. Leadership comes with responsibility, and positively handling these responsibilities is essential.
  4. The ability to empathize with your colleagues supports decision, considers what is best for the company, and for your colleagues.
  5. Everything from communication to body language is the heart of social skills. Communication reduce tension and misunderstandings in the workplace, creating a great environment.

Perhaps you now feel that the link between emotional intelligence and effective leadership is stronger and that you see an opportunity to develop these skills through AZTech’s ‘The 360 Leader, Emotional Intelligence in Leadership Pinnacle’ training course.

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