Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: How to Develop Emotional Intelligence in Emerging Leaders

Woman leading a company meeting

Did you know having a low EQ could hurt your career? People with low emotional intelligence, which is commonly abbreviated as EQ or EI, often find themselves struggling to thrive in leadership roles.

Consider these facts from studies on emotional intelligence in the workplace:

In fact, one study found that throughout your career, having a higher EQ correlates to $29,000 more per year in income. People who are more emotionally intelligent tend to be hired into higher-paying jobs and make more productive choices to benefit their employers.

Here’s the best news of all: EQ is something you can control. Almost anyone can improve their level of emotional intelligence and any company can set the stage for emotionally intelligent leadership.

Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important in Leadership?

People who have high emotional intelligence tend to be good at navigating interpersonal relationships and resolving conflicts. They may or may not have formal leadership roles at work, but they often serve as de facto group leaders. Everyone feels magnetically drawn to them.

In everyday work settings, others look to high-EQ people for their opinions, advice, and feedback about how things are going at the company. These high-EQ leaders always seem to say and do the right things that help people feel motivated to work in cohesive units.

By contrast, when someone’s EQ is low, they’ll likely struggle to feel connected to their coworkers and lack the right ingredients for long-term career success. A study by The Center for Creative Leadership looked at “career derailments,” where people had tried and failed to make headway in acquiring leadership positions within their careers. 

The study found that 75% of careers derail due to EQ-related factors. Low-EQ individuals displayed behavior like failing to manage interpersonal conflicts, providing poor leadership in crucial moments of difficulty, not adapting to change, and lacking the ability to foster interpersonal trust with coworkers.

Today’s companies place a priority on emotionally intelligent leadership because it dovetails with so many other common company initiatives like diversity, inclusion, sustainability, and ethical behavior. Company executives want their leaders to have the capacity to use soft skills like active listening, effective communication, and showing positive interpersonal appreciation.

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Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Emotional intelligence has become a highly-valued trait in modern society. It helps people stay connected in an increasingly digital world and allows them to nimbly navigate complex social interactions.

We’ve all experienced a moment of confusion over a text message or emoji that we couldn’t quite interpret. Someone with high emotional intelligence can usually guess what the sender might have meant, easing the flow of interpersonal communication. By contrast, someone with low EQ might struggle to understand what’s being said and begin to disturb the smooth flow of communication.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a whole new cascade of additional challenges for interpersonal interactions. Conversations that used to take place in-person within moments now extend into the digital world on tech platforms, stretching across time zones. Proper communication is an enormous challenge when it’s always at a distance.

As Forbes Magazine puts it, “Navigating the pandemic’s psychological, physical and economic effects is complicated and evokes a range of different – and often conflicting – emotions. Add social injustice and political unrest, and emotional intelligence is needed more than ever before.”

Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?

A study by Johnson & Johnson found that in the average company, the highest performers were the ones with the highest emotional intelligence and the lowest performers had the lowest EQ. Among the highest-EQ performers, the J&J researchers found characteristics like self-confidence, initiative, achievement orientation, adaptability, self-awareness, and a desire for service-oriented leadership.

But the good news is that EQ isn’t a fixed or inborn trait. It’s a skill that can be learned and there are numerous proven methods for improving it. Through emotional intelligence education, almost anyone can discover how to build a talent for interpreting others’ thoughts, navigating interpersonal situations more skillfully, and resolving conflicts in a positive way that brings fresh opportunities for success.

Best Emotional Intelligence Training

Any company looking to improve the level of EQ among its employees and leaders can do so through emotional intelligence training. However, for companies looking to have meaningful, lasting guidance in support of developing high-EQ leaders, experts recommend true coaching and development programs as opposed to training programs.

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At Leadership Resources, we offer the best emotional intelligence training to help companies identify emerging leaders and nurture emotionally intelligent leadership. When your company needs to implement an effective leadership development plan, we’re here to provide expert guidance and support.

Raising EQ With the Accelerate Leadership Program

The Accelerate Leadership Program (ALP) helps participants expand their leadership talent, confidence, and knowledge. Each participant expands their level of emotional intelligence while learning the essential skills it takes to motivate and inspire people. ALP is a personalized program that allows each person to build productive new habits in their own way.

Experts say it’s most effective to implement a full program that involves leadership coaching and individualized support, not just training. ALP’s coaching program goes far beyond basic leadership training programs because it uses a robust approach that incorporates a proven guided process, customized coursework, interpersonal peer connections, leadership coaching, interactive software, and an enormous archive of helpful resources to help them stay engaged.

This is the best emotional intelligence training, consulting, and support you can offer your employees. Let’s work together to identify your emerging leaders and help them take their EQ to the next level.

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