Emotional intelligence, made popular by a 2004 HBR article written by Daniel Goleman called ‘What Makes a Leader,’ is a type of intelligence that more and more leaders excel in. Contrasted with academic intelligence, emotional intelligence is comprised of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.  The argument is that while having the determination, expertise, vision and motivation are helpful components to leading people, emotional intelligence (EQ) should not be overlooked and in many organizations are now a must have.

Having a high EQ is important for any employee who talks to customers, leads projects or programs, works on cross-functional teams, manages or  leads people, and any person who desires to have an influence in their organization. The encouraging part is that EQ can be learned if we are open to it.

Here are 5 ways to increase your EQ:

  1. Read and understand what EQ is.
  2. Ask for 360-degree feedback from your peers.
  3. Invite 1-3 people you trust to speak into your life – give them permission to give you feedback.
  4. Ahead of the next meeting you run or presentation you give or customer interaction ask 1-2 people to give you specific feedback.
  5. Record your presentation or meeting and watch how you did.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Think of the above ways to increase EQ like a mirror that provides honest non-judgemental feedback. People around you that care about your development are ideal candidates to be your mirror. It requires vulnerability and sometimes hearing feedback you were not expecting or are uncomfortable with. However, it likely will include a nugget of truth that can have a lifetime of impact.


Who are you? emotional intelligence


Here are 3 pieces of feedback that have had a profoundly positive impact on my career:

  • At 26, I received feedback from one of my direct reports that I should read more books and gain a broader perspective on business both locally and abroad.
  • At 32, I received feedback from my boss to ‘think before speaking – digest what someone else was saying to me before articulating a response’
  • At 38, my business partners shared with me the need to be more assertive with where our company was going and how it was going to get there.

In all 3 cases, I found the feedback to be invaluable and it has brought a level of consciousness that has driven improvement. Best of luck as you continue your own EQ journey!

Ignitor Leadership makes it a goal to encourage emotional intelligence growth for all its clients. We offer an Emotional Intelligence course that helps leaders, managers and employees discover ways to become more self-aware called Self-Awareness of the Leader Within. Please also check out our other contextual and tailored Skill Development Sessions.