Leading with emotional intelligence​

Three frowning faces and a smiling face

Wendy Jocum reflects on emotional intelligence and why it is the foundation skill for almost everything we do.

Work pressures, constant change, doing more with fewer resources and juggling priorities have become a way of life. Our amazing program participants tell us about these challenges constantly. Emotional intelligence (EI) and resilience are critical skills for us to develop in ourselves and others so that we are in the best position to deal with these challenges. Even more so in leadership roles, where we need to manage ourselves before leading others. 

According to TalentSmart, EI is “your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behaviour and relationships.” EI is the foundation skill for almost everything we do - communication, leadership, teamwork, empathy, conflict resolution, listening, assertiveness, customer service, stress management, resilience, optimism, motivation, time management, decision making and change tolerance. In fact, the World Economic Forum predicted that EI will be one of the top 10 employment skills of the future.

Robust evidence in leadership, neuroscience, EI and positive psychology shows a direct link between leaders’ EI levels and their effectiveness in positively influencing people and increasing levels of engagement, performance and organisational results. Moreover, TalentSmart found that: 

  • EI is the strongest predictor of performance, accounting for 58% of success in all types of jobs
  • 90% of top performers have high levels of EI. 

Daniel Goleman’s EI model of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management is well known. His research has proven that EI as measured by Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a better predictor of "success" than more traditional measures. Although IQ and EQ are both important for success, Goleman showed that EI is twice as important as IQ in determining both personal and career success. Unlike IQ, which is relatively fixed, your EI can be learnt, improved and developed at any stage of life. By improving EI levels, we can better positively influence our well-being, relationships and results in work and life.

The capacity to identify, understand, express and manage our emotions constructively is essential for relationships, performance, wellbeing and a balanced life. We need to be aware, present and mindful with ourselves first in order for us to do so with others. Our various WLA courses focus on all these critical skills that are essential for building relationships and achieving results.

For more on EI and building resilience:

15 Qualities of Mentally Tough People

The gift and the power of emotional courage

Thrive Global

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Wendy Jocum is a Senior Associate, contract facilitator and coach with Women & Leadership Australia. She does webinars, face to face workshops and individual coaching across the various Women & Leadership Australia programs (public workshops and with client organisations). She also has her own training and coaching consultancy.

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