5 traits of an emotionally intelligent leader

Some companies still view emotional intelligence as “fluffy, soft skills” but extensive psychological research found that emotional intelligence is twice as important as technical skills or IQ as an ingredient for high performance. 

Leaders and managers with high emotional intelligence reap rewards such as teams who stay longer, perform more enjoyable roles, experience less conflict and overcome challenges more smoothly. 

So, how do you know if you are an emotionally intelligent leader? If you answer “yes” to the questions, linked to the five main components of emotional intelligence, your team will be flying. 



Do your team think of you as calm in a crisis? Do they appreciate the way you pause to think through your immediate impulses before reacting in team meetings? 

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Do you understand your own emotions and their effect on others? How often do you model realistic self confidence and the ability to laugh at yourself occasionally?  



Are you driving your team towards success in a way that feels authentic and in line with your personal values? When things inevitably don't go to plan, are you offering enough support to the team so that they don't lose heart, feel anxious or go off track?



How often do you jump into another persons’ shoes to help you to make a fair and balanced assessment on others and situations? Are you thinking ahead by anticipating difficulties and reactions to change? 

social skills

How effective are you at persuading and convincing your team and leading change? Are you presenting your ideas in a way that lands well for different groups? 

If you’ve recognised any gaps in your emotional intelligence management style, be reassured that these skills are not fixed or static.  They can be trained, developed and honed to ensure that you and your team reap the rewards of doing more enjoyable and satisfying work. 

Lucia Knight left behind a 20 year international career in a corporate head-hunting to study a full-time MSc Psychology and designed much more satisfaction and fun into her new career at Midlife Unstuck. Author of X Change: How to torch your work treadmill.