Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

leaders with higher emotional intelligence

Summary:  Leadership is a “people business” and emotional intelligence is the missing link.  EQ helps leaders know themselves and use their own strengths — and work with and through people effectively.


Key Points:

The primary responsibilities of leadership are setting direction and enrolling people.  Emotions are central to both these activities:  Emotions MOVE people.

Leaders need self-awareness.  Emotional intelligence delivers.

In times of challenge, real leadership is required.  That means understanding how people really work.

Are leaders responsible for their employee’s performance? “…the communication skills and personal warmth of an employee’s supervisor are often crucial… the quality of the supervisor may be more important than the experience and individual attributes of the workers themselves.” Steve Lohr, The New York Times


Lack of leadership identified as #1 obstacle to organizational success [1]

Two biggest needs from leaders: Vision & feedback [1]

Companies implementing EQ earn 32% higher scores on leadership [1]

Restaurant managers with higher EQ create 34% greater annual profit growth, increased guest satisfaction, higher employee retention [2]

28% of variation in productivity can be predicted by presence of feedback – but only 7% of people receive frequent, useful feedback [2]

In one of McDonalds’ suppliers in Europe, almost half of managers’ performance (47%) is predicted just by emotional intelligence scores [3]

In a study with naval officers, emotional intelligence proved to be more powerful at predicting leadership efficacy than either IQ or managerial competence. [2]

Of the leaders with high emotional self-awareness, 92% created positive workplace climates [4]

After supervisors in a manufacturing plant received training in emotional competencies, lost-time accidents were reduced by 50%, formal grievances were reduced from an average of 15 per year to 3 per year, and the plant exceeded productivity goals by $250,000 [2]

Higher EQ scores predict higher performance in ethics. [2]

Quick Video:


“No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.”
– Jack Welsh, Wall Street Journal, “Four E’s (a Jolly Good Fellow)”

“If you want maximal productivity and if you want work that gets the best results, you want the people doing that work to be in the optimal brain state for the work.  You are a person who can evict them from the zone of optimal performance by slothfully handling your own interactions with them.  So it’s up to you to take responsibility for your impact on their ability to work at their best.”
– Daniel Goleman, Neural Power of Leadership

“We tend to think of leadership as something you do externally. The good leaders are the ones who are comfortable in their own skins. They understand what they are about — they understand their purpose in life and their strengths. They have a level of comfort with themselves that leads to a level of comfort with others.”
– Dan Pink, Leading With A Whole New Mind

“Leadership’s First Commandment: Know Thyself.”
– Harvard Business Review

“Leaders influence the team’s mood. The team’s mood drives performance. What’s your conclusion?”
– Joshua Freedman, The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence.



[1] The 2012 Workplaces Issues Report

[2] The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence

[3] The Amadori Case: Supplying McDonalds

[4] Haygroup 2010 research summary