The Power of Emotional Intelligence: the Key to an Effective Leadership!

The Power of Emotional Intelligence: The Key to an Effective Leadership!

In today’s dynamic and interconnected world, leadership extends beyond traditional management skills. A leader’s ability to understand and connect with their team members on an emotional level has become a vital factor in achieving success. At the 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF), emotional intelligence entered the top 10 key skills needed to manage our future. It is in position 6, before the decision is made (7)*. This article explores the significance of emotional intelligence (EI) in leadership, drawing insights from the groundbreaking work of psychologist Daniel Goleman.

Understanding Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence, as defined by Goleman, is the capacity to recognize, understand, and manage our emotions and the emotions of others. It comprises four key components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in effective leadership.


Self-aware leaders possess a deep understanding of their emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and values. By being in tune with their own feelings, they can manage themselves better and make informed decisions. This awareness allows leaders to project authenticity, gain the trust of their team, and lead by example.


Leaders with strong self-management skills are adept at controlling their emotions, even in challenging situations. They exhibit composure, resilience, and adaptability, which inspires confidence in their team members. By managing their own emotions effectively, leaders create a positive work environment and foster an atmosphere of productivity and growth.

Social Awareness:

Leaders who possess social awareness have a keen ability to perceive and understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of their team members. They actively listen, observe non-verbal cues, and demonstrate empathy. This awareness helps leaders build strong relationships, resolve conflicts, and create a supportive and inclusive work culture.

How can empathy be at the service of products? 

Empathy becomes an important part of product research and development. Researchers observe how customers use a brand’s products — at home or at work — much like an anthropologist might observe another culture. This sounding of the consumer’s world offers a better understanding of their needs than conventional market studies.The intimate exploration of a consumer’s life when it is coupled with an openness to change is a powerful guarantee of innovation for a brand. When Kimberly-Clark asked researchers to observe how parents and their children used diapers, they discovered that these children needed diapers that evoked “big boy” clothes. This discovery led to the creation of Huggies Pull-Ups, diapers that children can put on themselves. This invention increased Kimberly-Clark’s turnover by 2.5 billion francs before competitors had time to react. 

The ability to effectively guess consumer needs is a common trait of top product managers. This ability requires good empathy with customers and knowing how to imagine products that will meet their expectations.

Relationship Management:

Relationship management is the culmination of self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness. Leaders skilled in relationship management cultivate strong connections with their team members, earning their loyalty and commitment. They effectively communicate their vision, provide constructive feedback, and inspire their team to achieve shared goals. By nurturing relationships, emotionally intelligent leaders create a cohesive and high-performing team.

How to provide constructive feedback or the art of criticism? 

When it comes to analyzing the work of others, no one is more qualified than Shirley DeLibero, the director of a transport company, which has become, under her authority, the largest in the United States. This leader shows people that she appreciates them, but she subjects them to nurturing and constructive criticism on the quality of their work. “I spend a lot of time praising people and sending personal messages to company employees when they do a good job. But when they screw up, I don’t hesitate to tell them. You are doing people a disservice if you do not evaluate their performance properly. You have to explain to them where they need to improve. Like DeLibero, the effective coach provides specific information about what’s wrong and how to fix it by being optimistic about the other person’s ability to improve. Employees crave criticism, even though many managers, department heads and senior managers are unable or reluctant to dispense with it. In some cultures, notably in Asia and Scandinavia, the open expression of criticism in the presence of a third party is tacitly prohibited.

Sports coaches (and good leaders) have long known that they can boost an athlete’s performance by setting the bar at the right level and showing them that they believe in their abilities. One way to boost employee confidence is to let them set their own goals, rather than dictating the goals and modalities of their training.

This amounts to instilling the idea that they have the ability to pilot their destiny, an essential principle of the entrepreneurial spirit.

To go further, click here to read the study case.

Daniel Goleman’s groundbreaking research on emotional intelligence has shown its significant impact on leadership effectiveness. His studies indicate that leaders with high EI are more successful in driving employee engagement, fostering innovation, and achieving business outcomes. Moreover, teams led by emotionally intelligent leaders exhibit higher levels of job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Modern Leadership:

In today’s complex and fast-paced business landscape, emotional intelligence has emerged as a critical skill for leaders. The ability to connect with employees on an emotional level builds trust, enhances communication, and strengthens teamwork. Emotionally intelligent leaders are also better equipped to handle the challenges of change, uncertainty, and conflict, steering their teams towards success.

As Daniel Goleman’s work highlights, emotional intelligence is an essential component of effective leadership. It empowers leaders to understand and manage their own emotions, connect with others empathetically, and create an environment that fosters growth, collaboration, and high performance. By embracing emotional intelligence, leaders can unlock their full potential and inspire their teams to achieve extraordinary results in today’s ever-evolving world.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and the work of Daniel Goleman, click here.

*To discover the the top 10 key skills needed to manage our future according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), click here.

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