How Important is Emotional Intelligence in Leadership?

You can quickly climb the career ladder with technical skills. However, to ensure that you can lead teams and foster positive relationships at the workplace, you will need soft skills. One such soft skill is known as emotional intelligence. Continue reading to understand what emotional intelligence is, the importance of emotional intelligence and the need for emotional intelligence skills.

Later in this article, we’ll also explain the different types of emotional intelligence and why emotional intelligence in leadership is a must-have quality.

What is Emotional Intelligence in Leadership?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions besides understanding and influencing the emotions of people around you. This makes emotional intelligence a must-have quality for leaders.

When you are able to recognize and regulate your own emotions and do so with others as well, it will help create a more productive workforce. Now that you know what emotional intelligence is, let’s glance through its importance in leadership.


Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

After all, why is emotional intelligence important in leadership? What makes it such an essential trait? Emotional intelligence is important because a leader with these essential skills ensures that everyone in their team is able to work towards a common goal while also being productive. Such leaders not only recognize their own strengths but also those of their team members. This way they can boost their own confidence and that of others. It is one of the skills of a good leader.

With emotional intelligence, leaders can develop and maintain a positive, productive, and efficient workplace. The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership can be gauged by the fact that emotional intelligence skills help leaders to constantly motivate employees to do their best.

Furthermore, leaders with emotional intelligence skills can help their colleagues and team members feel comfortable in terms of taking risks, sharing ideas and setting achievable yet challenging objectives. The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership can also be reinforced by the fact that leaders having emotional intelligence are able to make difficult decisions quickly and without distressing, resolve conflicts in a better way, and easily adapt to a changing business environment.

Types of Emotional Intelligence

There are five types of emotional intelligence as per Daniel Goleman, a psychologist.


Self-aware leaders understand their feelings and are therefore able to recognize the feelings of those around them. Such leaders are aware of both their strengths and weaknesses.


Self-regulation refers to being firm yet fair. Leaders with this skill are able to regulate their emotions and do not lash out at others. Such a calm attitude is also reassuring for people at the workplace and they are then able to engage in positive action.


Motivated leaders are those who set high standards for themselves and others too. However, they set these standards while being aware of what makes employees feel motivated. They offer incentives and ensure that people work to the best of their abilities.


Empathetic leaders put themselves in the shoes of others. This helps in developing people in the team, challenging stereotypes and unfair assumptions, as well as giving feedback with positive criticism. Empathetic leaders are also good listeners.

Social skills

Leaders with good social skills ensure that negative feedback is delivered in a way that they are able to improve. Their communication skills are aimed at resolving conflicts and being diplomatic for the benefit of all.

Now that we have a fair idea about emotional intelligence and its importance in leadership, it would be good to answer a simple question – ‘what is leadership’, in the simplest of terms to connect the dots.

What is Leadership?

Leadership means the art of motivating people in an organization to work towards a common goal. Leadership is based on ideas which can be a person’s own or inspired by other leaders. It is about communicating these ideas effectively to others and encouraging them to become successful and lead the company towards growth.

Effective leadership is not only inspirational for the self but also others. To properly understand what leadership is, it is important to understand that leaders must have certain critical thinking skills which can help them direct an organization’s resources for better growth prospects.

Skills of a Good Leader

A few of the many skills of an effective leader are:

  • Self-awareness and prioritizing personal development
  • Focusing on development of others
  • Encouraging strategic thinking, innovation, and action
  • Being Ethical and civic-minded
  • Ensuring effective cross-cultural communication

Emeritus India offers several leadership and management courses which can help future professionals develop emotional intelligence and understand the skills required to be a good leader.


About the Author

Emeritus brings you the latest learning trends, in-demand skills, and research across the most sought-after professions. Discover the benefits of lifelong learning with us.
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