emotional intelligence of a leader

Emotional Intelligence Of A Leader: 8 Key Signs

Leaders and managers face many challenges every day. Some are external, like managing a team of people or carrying out a specific role. Others are more internal, like coping with stress and dealing with emotions. Regardless of the challenge, however, emotional intelligence is crucial for success. This blog focuses on the key features of emotional intelligence that are found in leaders around the world. Understanding these features allows you to recognize better and work with emotional intelligence in your leadership capabilities.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to be aware of and manage one’s emotions and those of others. In addition, EI includes the ability to recognize and understand symbols or communications associated with feelings. It helps you to communicate better with people both verbally and nonverbally.

Being a successful leader is all about handling difficult conversations, staying calm under pressure, and managing conflict resolution effectively. One of the critical skills that emotional intelligence (EI) helps leaders with is seeing things from other people’s perspectives, even when they disagree with you or seem hostile towards you. It allows you to understand their emotions better and sometimes leads to empathy and a deep understanding of their motivations.

Additionally, high emotional intelligence often allows leaders to see things in a positive light, even when things are going wrong. It will enable them to remain resilient and not get bogged down by negative emotions. As you can see, emotional intelligence is essential for anyone who wants to lead a successful and fulfilling life.

What are the signs of an emotionally intelligent leader?

Emotional intelligence is critical for leaders. Those who are emotionally intelligent can control their emotions and respond effectively to different situations. Typically, the following traits are associated with the emotional intelligence of a leader:


Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware. They understand their own emotions and the emotions of others very well, which allows them to manage interactions and relationships better. Additionally, thanks to their acute emotional parsing skills, they can solve problems logically and efficiently – without becoming irritable or defensive. Those who are emotionally intelligent know their emotions and how to react to different situations. They maintain self-awareness, which allows them to stay in control of their feelings and respond appropriately. Moreover, self-awareness lends a hand in understanding the emotions of other people around them too.

Open to feedback

One of the hallmarks of emotional intelligence is the ability to self-regulate and take inputs from others for the same. Emotionally intelligent people know when and how to listen to feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. They also understand that different people process input in different ways, so they take into account all the relevant factors before taking action or making a decision. As a result, leaders with high emotional intelligence tend to be open-minded and responsive toward feedback from their superiors and subordinates.

Wondering why? Learn how feedback helps managers.


People who are emotionally intelligent understand the feelings of others. This empathy allows them to communicate better with their team and counterparts and identify potential issues before they become big problems. Furthermore, it also enables them to build strong personal and professional relationships by understanding people’s motives and emotions.

Ability to consider different perspectives

Leaders with high emotional intelligence can consider different perspectives before taking action. Instead of relying on their assumptions and biases, they are open to new inputs and ideas. It gives them a better understanding of the situation at hand, as well as the potential consequences of their decisions. As a result, they navigate biases and overcome hindrances put in place by mental models, allowing for objective decision-making based on analytical thinking. As a result, they can make better choices that benefit not just themselves but also their team members and the organization as a whole.

Dialogue instead of argument

While leaders must be decisive and make decisions, it’s also essential that they engage in communication instead of argument. Arguing with people only serves to deepen the divide between you and them. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent understand this and hence, prefer dialogue over conflict. It allows for a better understanding of each other’s perspectives and the possibility of resolving any issues or disputes through productive discussion rather than hostility or revenge.

Maintaining relationships

The ability to maintain relationships is another critical factor that identifies the emotional intelligence of a leader. They understand the importance of building and maintaining strong personal and professional relationships with their team members. It not only promotes cooperation but also trust and communication between them. Leaders with high emotional intelligence know how important it is to create an environment of mutual understanding to achieve success together.


The emotional intelligence of leaders also includes deep compassion for others. This empathy and understanding allow them to see people as individuals with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. They understand that not everyone will agree, so they’re often patient in their dealings with others. Compassionate leaders don’t take things personally and instead focus on the needs of those around them. Moreover, they are open to understanding issues that might be affecting others. Hence, they can also suggest effective interventions for the team, positioning themselves essentially as a helpful hand.


The emotional intelligence of leaders also accounts for a high level of forgiveness. This, in turn, facilitates positive relationships with others. Difficult conversations can be easily managed when leaders understand that even if they may not get their way at first, ultimately, they will forgive those who wronged them in the past. Leaders with high emotional intelligence know that sometimes people may do things unintentionally and don’t want to hold on to anger or resentment. So they forgive and move forward instead of understanding that everyone has a story to tell. In totality, they can create a workplace culture that hinges on accepting each other as real humans with flaws.

Is emotional intelligence important for managers?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is becoming more and more important as our world becomes increasingly complex. It is essential for successful relationships, effective communication, problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, leadership potential, and much more.

Many aspects of life require emotional intelligence in order to be successful. For example:

Workplace productivity: Understanding your triggers and how best to manage your emotions can enable you to work productively at all hours of the day or night without succumbing to stress or burnout. Better working conditions lead to better morale which ultimately leads to improved performance;

Relationship management: Having solid relationships requires being able not just understanding others’ positions but also managing one’s emotionally-charged reactions when interacting with them (e.g., empathy). It enables us to build trustworthiness over time – a key ingredient for healthy long-term relationship dynamics;

Decision making: When faced with difficult choices or decisions involving feelings – such as whether or not to break up with someone – it’s crucial that we rely on logical thinking instead of reacting emotionally impulsively out of egoism/selfishness.

These examples of the emotional intelligence of a leader demonstrate how essential it is for every manager. You can continue reading here to understand why managers need emotional competence in the workplace. 


Emotional intelligence is an essential leadership skill that can help you better understand and manage emotions, relationships, and team dynamics. If you are seeking to be a better leader, then you should start by understanding emotional intelligence. Check out the blog for some key signs that will help you identify if you have emotional intelligence and how to improve it.

Unlock the power of emotional intelligence as a leader and give your team the advantage!

Download our free active listening toolkit to start cultivating key traits of emotionally intelligent leaders today.

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