Posted Aug 03

5 tips on how to be an emotionally intelligent leader

by Marlies Isabella Riepl
5 tips on how to be an emotionally intelligent leader by Marlies Isabella Riepl

Emotional intelligence can often make the difference between good and great leadership. Self-awareness and emotional management can not only help you communicate more effectively, it also helps you be more aware of other people’s emotions, which is especially helpful when it comes to managing conflicts. 

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” Maya Angelou once said.

Here are five tips to be a more emotionally intelligent leader: 

1. Manage your own emotions

Label your emotional reaction (fear, anger, frustration). Research shows that naming your emotions starts to disengage the emotional brain (the amygdala) and re-engage the logical brain (pre-frontal cortex), which helps stay calm in the moment. More research has been done around emotions and the physical reactions we have, so be sure to also check on your physical state. 

2. Practise a high degree of self-awareness 

Try to openly share your feelings, fears, and doubts but also what you did to overcome them, but remember you team will often have a different set of responsibilities and level of context. When you catch yourself thinking you need to be more polished, try to relax and show up as you are. We should strive to become more transparent about mistakes we have made and how to act upon them, as individuals as well as organisations.

3. Put your ego aside

A high self-confidence and healthy ego are necessary for success, but when it comes to being a leader, it is important to know when to put yourself in the back seat. Shine the light on your team and individuals to give them credit for their work. 

4. Be the chief empathy officer

In times of high intensity, change or crisis, it’s important to show our team members that we care about them and value their work. With every communication, big or small, challenge yourself: am I leaving this team member feeling genuinely valued and cared for? 

5. Tap into your community 

Being a leader can be isolating at times. Tap into your network of friends, peers, and family to share frustrations and to seek counsel on difficult decisions. Talking to trusted peers can help process an emotional moment or even to vent and unload after a difficult day. 

If you’d like to share your experience as a leader with The Focus please send us a note via [email protected] 



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