3 key areas to becoming an Emotionally Intelligent leader


I have read a lot of very detailed and useful articles on EI traits associated with great leadership, but in true Black Isle style, I was asked by a client to summarise in 3 key areas what he should do to become a Highly Emotionally Intelligent leader.

My response was:

1. Focus on the positive

Emotionally Intelligent leaders do not spend a lot of time and energy focusing on problems, and actively avoid negative people or negative situations if they can. They understand that negativity is an energy drain and saps morale. Emotionally Intelligent leaders are always looking for solutions to problems, they think ahead and focus on what positive impact they can have which is within their control. They don’t dwell on past problems or failures and they stop idle gossip or complaining. You can spot these people as they are warm, open and care about others.

Tip. Create a more positive culture around you. Improve your health and wellbeing. Surround yourself with positive influences, and distance yourself from negative people.

2. Improve your assertiveness and conflict management skills

People with high EI demonstrate politeness and consideration but stay firm at the same time. They do not make needless enemies. Their response to situations, in which there may be conflict, is measured, not inflated, and managed appropriately to the situation. They think before speaking and give themselves time to calm down if their emotions appear to become overwhelming. High EI people guard their time and commitments and know when they need to say no. Whilst high EI leaders don’t hold on to anger over how others have treated them, they don’t forget and are unlikely to be taken advantage of again in the same set of circumstances. Build your listening skills and empathy, but have the confidence to trust your instincts and speak up if you need to assert yourself.

Tip. Take more time over conflict management – improve your impulse control and think long term about relationships.

3. Make life more fun, happy and interesting

At work, at home, or with friends, high EI people know what makes them happy and look for opportunities to increase enjoyment. They get pleasure and satisfaction from seeing others happy and fulfilled, and do whatever they can to brighten someone else’s day. Paying compliments, giving presents and helping others out are all activities that will be rewarding for high EI leaders. Highly Emotionally Intelligent people are lifelong learners, constantly growing, evolving and willing to learn from others.

Tip. Make it your mission to bring joy to others. Pay more compliments to your staff and family, give your team more responsibility and more recognition, and embrace new challenges as great opportunities to learn and grow.


For more thoughts on Emotional Intelligence read this blog.