What Traits does a Emotionally Intelligent Leader have?
April 15, 2024

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is another way to measure intelligence outside of merely Intellectual Quotation (IQ). It is the ability to recognise and manage your emotions, understand what they tell you, and realise how they affect others. In addition, it’s about understanding other people’s emotions. People with high emotional intelligence are usually successful in most things they do. 

Salovey and Mayer have separated EI into four different levels:  


  • Perceiving Emotions
    Self-awareness and paying attention to how one is feeling. This comprises three key components: emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence.
  • Reasoning with Emotions
    Prioritise what people focus on and, therefore, react to. People skilled at this understand that some emotional states are more suited for specific situations than others.
  • Understanding Emotions 
    High levels of empathy, the ability to understand what other people are going through. Both verbal and nonverbal cues must be read as people don’t often state how they feel. Rather, it’s implied through their actions, body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.
  • Managing Emotions
    This often requires a judgment call based on the circumstances surrounding the situation. It requires a balance between staying emotionally available and not taking on emotional energy that will cause oneself harm. 


Emotional Intelligence is particularly important for leaders and managers. High EQ leaders can motivate others and foster a healthy workplace culture due to their qualities.  

In his book, “Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”, American psychologist Daniel Goleman developed a framework of five elements that defines emotional intelligence as: 

  • Three personal competencies
    Self-awareness, emotional regulation, and motivation 
  • How we Handle Relationships with Others
    Empathy and social skills 


Let’s look at these 5 characteristics of emotional intelligence.  


It is said to be one of the most important parts of Emotional Intelligence. People with a high EQ understand their emotions and don’t allow their feelings to rule them. They have good intuition and are confident as a result. They know their strengths and weaknesses and work on these to improve their performance.

The ability to control emotions and impulses. They don’t allow themselves to lose their temper, or make impulsive careless decisions. They think before they act.

Highly productive, embrace challenge and extremely effective at what they do. This enthusiasm rubs off on others.

Probably the second most important element of emotional intelligence. Identifying the thoughts, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. Being able to listen and relate to others.

Social skills
Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than looking after their own needs, they help to develop others. They are excellent communicators and find building and maintaining relationships easy. 


Qualities such as these hold high EQ leaders in good stead and ultimately benefit everyone. 

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