emotionally intelligent leader

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership Development

There are undoubtedly many different factors that contribute toward someone developing into a great leader.  In previous Aureus Group blog articles, we’ve addressed the importance of demonstrating effective communication skills when interacting with colleagues in the workplace. Well what about emotional intelligence? How does one’s emotional intelligence impact their ability to be a top performer in the professional world?

In case you’re not familiar with this phrase, I’m going to refer to Daniel Goldman, someone who has been a pioneer in the study of leadership, for a definition of emotional intelligence. According to Goldman, emotional intelligence (EI) is the capacity for recognizing and managing our own feelings and for recognizing and managing emotions well in our relationships with others. So, now that you know the definition, I challenge you to start engaging in some self reflection! If someone were to evaluate you today from this perspective, what would your EI score look like?

An emotionally intelligent leader is someone who is connected to their team and who recognizes and understands the value of relationships in the workplace. Leaders with a high level of EI are more empathetic and are in tune with what’s going on among the individual members of their team. On the opposite end of the spectrum, those professionals who seem to be lacking in the EI arena are much more likely to have a negative impact on the overall success and productivity of the team. There’s no question that employees take emotional cues from their boss. If the boss consistently demonstrates a negative attitude and is not emotionally in tune with his or her team, the effects can be very long lasting. Not only does the leader’s EI impact the members of the team, the “ripple effect” that transpires between the leader and the team members will resonate throughout the entire organization and contribute to the overall emotional climate that exists within the company.

So, now that we’ve considered the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace, it’s time for a self-evaluation exercise. There are four main factors that contribute to one’s level of emotional intelligence. These include: self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management. Considering these four areas, how would you rank yourself at this point in your career, from an EI perspective?

The first EI domain, self awareness, really serves as the foundation for the rest. If a leader doesn’t recognize his own emotions, he’ll be less likely to manage them appropriately in the workplace, not to mention understand how his team member’s emotions are impacting the work performance and professional development of the entire group. While the remaining three domains are pretty self explanatory, I think it’s also important for us to briefly touch on social awareness. When a leader is attuned to how team members feel about their individual responsibilities and other work-related issues, the leader is better able to respond to them in an appropriate and effective manner. People want to feel like they’re being heard and understood and an emotionally intelligent leader is more effective at working with team members to create a shared sense of values and priorities.

I challenge all of you to improve your EI! Consider how your words and actions are impacting those around you in the workplace. Take time to build trust with team members. Work hard to engage in active listening!  Show your team that you are interested in their professional development. The positive, “ripple effect” of all this will do wonders for improving employee satisfaction rates and contribute to a healthier, productive culture in the workplace.


Stephanie MillerStephanie Miller, CPC

Stephanie Miller has worked for Aureus Group for almost five years.  As a Senior Account Manager within the Finance and Accounting division, Stephanie partners with organizations throughout the state of Iowa and provides staffing solutions within the accounting, finance, and human resources departments. With a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Stephanie is currently pursuing a master’s degree in negotiation and dispute resolution at Creighton University and is a certified professional consultant. Stephanie reports that two of the most rewarding aspects of her job is seeing how pleased the client is when she’s successful in identifying a professional who meets the level of experience/skills the company desires for a particular position and also helping a candidate make a successful career change. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband, Chad, and their two dogs, Benny and Olive. She also loves to travel, check out new restaurants, watch movies, run, attend sporting events and theatrical performances, and volunteer through the United Way a few times per month.

One comment

  1. Yes, how we choose to interact affects the whole team karma in-house. I agree that EI and how we approach it is key to better relationship management and thus productivity.

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