How Important is Emotional Intelligence as a Leadership Attribute in Business?

The corporate world is often portrayed as a brutal environment where emotions have little to no place, but that is not entirely true. In fact, emotional intelligence is an extremely useful attribute that successful business leaders often bank on to make progress. Competition is a constant reality in most private sectors, but in order to stay competitive, every company must have dependable, happy, and cohesive teams first.

As all human beings are emotional in varying degrees, it would be impossible to form such an effective team without giving due attention to how each team member is feeling in their current workspace. If the leader himself/herself does not possess sufficient emotional IQ, they will find it difficult to create, develop, and retain a good team.

Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a complex concept to explain, but key foundational aspects of the quality can be described as:

  • Capability to understand, recognise, and be in control of one’s own emotions
  • Ability to sense, understand, recognise, control, and be sensitive to the emotions of his/her employees
  • Using their understanding of personal emotions, as well as that of others, to get the best result possible in any given situation
  • Reacting to emotional stimuli in the workspace and outside of it, as would be the most productive in that particular scenario

Signs of a Leader with High Emotional IQ

The signs of successful business leaders who possess high emotional IQs are quite similar to the very characteristics we often find naturally in eminent people across various industries, and at different levels of leadership. While there is no guarantee that someone with a high EI will be proficient in all of them, here are the main facets of human emotional IQ, as stated by The British Psychological Society.

  • Self-awareness, self-control, and self-regulation
  • Motivational and inspirational personality
  • Natural empathy and innate social skills

Handling Changes with Emotional Intelligence: Improving Employee Morale

The ongoing situation in 2020 has been devastating for multiple sectors, and that in turn has had an expectedly negative impact on employee morale. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and a good number of the workforce who were not laid off feel more insecure about their careers than before.

Now more than ever, companies need an emotionally intelligent, change management plan. In order to prepare and implement an effective strategy, employee engagement surveys are essential. For example, workforce engagement surveys at are specifically designed to help managers notice and track key emotional elements that must be factored in, while planning a sound change management strategy. The findings from these surveys provide access and add trackability to key points regarding:

  • Loss of morale and motivation
  • Unexplained and unexpected disengagement
  • The level of emotional balance across multiple departments
  • Employee response to the changes
  • Presence and severity of adjustment issues in cross-cultural platforms
  • Deep insights regarding emotions and responses that employees might be hiding

Emotional unrest among employees is expected after a big change in leadership, business model, work environment, location, etc. However, a good leader will always take control of the situation by being active about empathising with the workforce, finding ways to put their minds at ease, and keeping track of the various effects of change on overall business productivity.