EQ: Necessary Emotions for a Leader

4 Minute Read

While most people recognize that a leader’s mood has a major impact on their team and others, we’re just now beginning to focus our attention on ways to improve. The research in the field of emotion has revealed insight into not only how to measure the impact of a leader’s emotions, but also how the best leaders have found effective ways to understand and improve the way they handle their own and other people’s emotions.

“Emotional intelligence (EQ) really starts with being self-aware. And then becoming aware of the emotions of others.”


Emotional intelligence (EQ) really starts with being self-aware. And then becoming aware of the emotions of others. According to a recent article from Entrepreneur.com, “being able to pinpoint and manage emotions (both yours and others’) is what helps you better manage relationships. It can be a rigorous process to cultivate being more open to watching your own emotions, but this work will lead to a happier and more successful life.”

So how does EQ impact your professional success?

Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, suggests it “is so critical that it accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs. It’s the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.” The good news is that there are many ways you can improve it. All it takes is some time and focus, and you can have some great results. It doesn’t matter whether your emotional intelligence is low or already high, because you can always improve.

Let’s go back to being self-aware. It’s about the ability to distinguish the different types of emotions and label them correctly. It’s about being aware of when you’re not in control of your emotions. If you don’t know where you stand, first try asking yourself these questions:

  • Are you aware of the different emotions you have throughout the day?
  • Do you monitor your attitude and emotions when in front of others?
  • Do you make adjustments to better engage with others?
  • Are you an active listener?
  • Do you coach and mentor others in a compassionate way?
  • Do you monitor the body language and moods of the people you talk to?
  • How would those around you answer these questions about you?
  • Do you truly appreciate the efforts and work of others?
  • Do you actively seek feedback and input from others?
Here are a couple of ways to get started toward a better sense of self-awareness:

  • Journal. Write down the events that trigger your emotions, both at home and at work. Make sure to jot down the intensity of the emotion, and even how you behaved when feeling that emotion. After a few weeks, you’ll be able to see trends that will help you.
  • Seek Feedback. Find others that you trust to give you feedback regarding how you behave. We tend to look at ourselves through a lens of intention, while others see us through our behavior. Seeking feedback and specific examples can help you see how your behaviors are affecting others.

Emotional intelligence then goes into social-awareness. A person with a high EQ is also aware of the feelings and emotions of others. Do you accurately pick up on emotions of other people and understand what’s really going on with them? It’s important to figure out what other people are thinking and feeling, even if you don’t share the same opinion or emotion at the same time.

People who are socially aware pay attention. They listen. They watch. Open their ears and their eyes to what is going on around them. And they clear their minds in order to give full attention to others.

We’ve also provided a couple of ways to get started toward a better sense of social awareness.

  • Just listen and observe. The next time you’re with a group of people, take the time to watch how their facial expressions change as they speak. And then watch their expressions change as they listen to someone else speak. Watch as their body language changes with the conversation’s tone or direction. If you happen to be in a meeting where you can observe, jot down a few notes to record your observations.
  • Mirror. Practice mirroring with a friend or family member. Mirroring is simply demonstrating the same body language or facial expression and tone of someone else. You can also demonstrate the variance and emphasis of speech as the other person who is speaking. It’s not just repeating the words that they’re using. This technique forces you to pay attention to their body language and tone, as well as your own, during a conversation.

Everyone is paying attention to EQ these days. But it seems we still don’t quite understand how to manage everyday emotions. Sometimes people are overly emotional themselves; others feel awkward around those who express their emotions. It’s a continuous improvement battle that we have to overcome and learn to understand. Emotional intelligence takes work and practice just like anything else.

What will you do to start improving your emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) really starts with being self-aware. Click To Tweet

What Keeps CEOs Awake at Night

Free Solutions Guide

Looking for more on EQ and other challenges business professionals face?

Get my free guide