The power of emotional intelligence: Why EQ is essential for effective leadership

What makes a great leader or a manager? Well, most people would agree that a great leader is someone hard-working, determined, productive, and has many technical skills relevant to the industry. However, while these things are all true, they’re not all as important as they might seem. For example, a person can be a good leader even when they lack certain technical skills. On the other hand, someone who’s not good with people can’t be a good leader. To lead, you need to be a good listener and have high social skills and emotional intelligence. In the rest of this article, we’ll get into the power of emotional intelligence and try to answer the question of why EQ is essential for effective leadership.

What is EQ?

EQ, or the emotional intelligence quotient, can be just as important, if not more important, than IQ. According to some studies, EQ can actually be the best indicator of success. But what is EQ? Well, emotional intelligence is usually defined as understanding and controlling your own emotions as well as being able to identify and affect the emotions of people around you.

Since its first introduction of the term “EQ” in the 90s, this concept has gained a lot of traction. Over the years, emotional intelligence has developed into a necessary talent for all, but especially for those seeking leadership roles. As we look into some of the main components of emotional intelligence, it will become more and more apparent why EQ is essential for effective leadership.

Main components of EQ and why they’re important for leadership

Emotional intelligence is pretty complex. In order to be considered highly emotionally intelligent, there are multiple social and emotional skills that you have to possess. Understanding these main components of EQ is one of the best ways to understand the real impact and power of emotional intelligence.


Self-awareness is the foundation of all things related to emotional intelligence. It’s not just about understanding your own strengths and shortcomings. Self-awareness reflects your capacity to recognize your emotions and their impact on your performance and your team’s performance.

While most people believe they’re self-aware, research has shown that only 10-15% of people can recognize their emotions and their impact. In teams that rely a lot on each other, this can cause a rift. Working with coworkers who lack self-awareness can reduce a team’s success in half, increasing stress and lowering overall motivation levels.

Self-awareness is important because it helps you realize your own potential before you can help others do the same. One of the best ways to increase self-awareness is to complete a 360-degree evaluation. Once you evaluate your performance and compare it to the views of your employer, colleagues, and direct reports, you can quickly gauge your level of self-awareness. You will learn about your conduct via this process, as well as about how you’re seen inside the company.


As a leader or a manager, one of your responsibilities is to create an environment where people want to work. Being able to regulate yourself involves remaining calm and focused in stressful and challenging situations, which is another quality that all good leaders must possess.

If you lose your composure when stressed, your team will most likely quickly pick up on your energy and project the same disorganized dynamic. This lack of self-control will inevitably negatively impact your working environment since, as their leader, they look to you for guidance on how to act and react.

Another important thing to add here is the self-regulation to keep your private things at home while at work. For example, if you’re going through something overwhelming outside of work, let’s say you’re moving to a new home, you shouldn’t bring that stress into your workplace. In this case, experts from Zapt Movers suggest that your best course of action would be to deal with moving-related things in your free time by hiring a reputable moving company to take care of everything. This would take the load off your shoulders and lower your stress levels. Then, once you’re back in the office, you can better focus on your team.

Relationship management

Relationship management is a collection of skills a leader should possess that would enable them to actively participate in coaching, mentoring, and conflict resolution. This term also refers to a leader’s capacity to prevent misunderstandings and disputes within the team. Avoiding conflict in the workspace through all these aspects of relationship management fosters growth and job satisfaction. In the end, this valuable skill can even help with employee retention and increase employee engagement. This is where the power of emotional intelligence is most apparent. 

One of the best ways to improve relationship management is to take conflict resolution courses. Moreover, you need to work on your communication when giving feedback. You should be clear and precise but also focus on the positives. If you have to deliver negative feedback, try to turn it into an action plan and offer to work on the solution together.


Nowadays, empathy is crucial in all companies, but it’s an especially important quality to have in a manager or a leader. Empathetic leaders are able to imagine themselves in other people’s shoes. They support the growth of the team members, confront unjust behavior in others, offer constructive criticism, and show understanding for those in need.

While this may not seem like something you can learn and work on, you absolutely can. For starters, always try to look from the other person’s point of view and figure out their needs that they might not be communicating clearly enough. Moreover, pay attention to body language because it can tell you a lot more about the person and their feelings than their words.

Final thoughts

Being intelligent doesn’t just mean being good with numbers or knowing many scientific facts. Once you examine some of the most successful people in management in leadership, you’ll find the true power of emotional intelligence. At the end of the day, your team needs somebody they can rely on, not someone to fear. They need someone to look up to, not someone who causes them more stress and forces them to look for a new job. If you want to work on your emotional intelligence for your next job interview, is your free go-to resource on everything career-related.