How To Use Emotional Intelligence As A Leader

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (EI) has become one of the most popular leadership theories. It looks at how well you control your own emotions and use them effectively for productive conversations or situations.

This theory was first proposed in 1989 by Daniel Goleman with his book “Emotional Intelligence.” Since then, it has been studied thoroughly and applied across many fields.

Leaders that have high levels of EI are thought to be more motivating than others, since they understand what levers need to be pressed to get people working hard on projects. They also tend to enjoy their job more because they're not stressed out all the time.

In this article, we'll talk about some ways you can develop your EQ and be a better leader due to that. You will also learn some easy things you can do to boost your emotional literacy — something anyone can do!

Heck, even practicing basic skills like reading other people's body language is a way to increase your EQ. So don't hesitate to try these out if you feel that your leadership quality is lacking.

Have patience

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As mentioned earlier, leadership is not about being in control all the time. Being a leader means investing your energy into creating an environment where people feel confident and supported. It takes work to develop these relationships, but it will pay off in the long run.
As a leader, you must be able to regulate your emotions. You need to be able to take breaks and reset before you can move onto the next task or person.

You may have to walk away from someone for a while before coming back with new strategies or tactics. This is very important because that is what helps them re-strengthen their relationship with you!

Having enough self-control is one of the most essential qualities of emotional intelligence. If you cannot remain calm under stressful situations, then you should look into ways to improve your level of empathy.

Making changes to yourself will help you achieve this. For example, if you are always getting angry, try talking less harshly with others. Or, when you are angered by something, do not respond immediately. Take some time to relax and reflect before responding.

Make decisions based on what is best for the team

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As a leader, you will make decisions that have an impact on your organization and others. These decisions can either help or hurt the work environment and trust in your leadership.

Decision making comes with risk. When we are exposed to significant risks, our bodies automatically prepare us for it by lowering blood pressure, tightening of muscles, etc.

When we lead, we must be conscious of this effect so that we do not create internal barriers to prevent ourselves from taking necessary risks. If we keep people off-balance by never taking action or offering new ideas, they may give up and avoid putting themselves out there even more.

In addition, when someone has put their confidence in you, they will expect you to take decisive actions and stick up for yourself and them when needed.

It is important to know how to use emotional intelligence (EI) to motivate and inspire individuals around you. You want to promote teamwork and understanding through open communication. This helps everyone feel like they are being heard and understood, which creates trust.

Be realistic

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As we have discussed, emotional intelligence is an integral part of being a leader. But you must be real with yourself and others about your skills before you can improve yours.

If you think you have low emotional control, try to identify what may be factoring into that. Is it financial worries? Relationship issues? Problems at work?

You could also be underestimating how much emotion other people feel.

Understand your team’s emotions

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As a leader, you need to understand how others feel in order to motivate them and get the best work out of them. You have to be able to read their body language and tone of voice, as well as look into their eyes to determine what they are feeling.

By using emotional intelligence (EI) tools such as empathy, motivation, and leadership, you can learn how to decode these signals effectively.

When used properly, EI is a powerful tool that can boost performance, productivity, and engagement in both individuals and groups.

It also helps leaders identify potential problems before they occur so that intervention or action-taking can be done efficiently and correctly.

Use self-awareness to improve

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

There are many ways to use emotional intelligence (EI) in your career. While some feel that using emotion is a bad thing, using your own emotions for better understanding of yourself and others is actually a good thing.

This is called being aware of your emotions. You can learn how to manage your emotions by identifying what factors trigger them and learning how to contain them until you have worked through them.

Tracy was one of those people who did not realize the value of having strong emotions. She would get very excited about something and then overreact because she felt hurt or frustrated.

She would become so angry with someone that it took her longer than expected to calm down even though she had allowed herself enough time to process what happened. This made it harder for her to enjoy her downtime because she was always preoccupied with things that left her feeling unhappy.

Her lack of awareness of her feelings contributed to why she was not happier with life. It also affected those around her. People noticed that she was never really relaxed nor did she seem happy, which influenced other people’s perceptions of her.

It is important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, but beyond that, you should be aware of your personal emotions.

Be honest with your team

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As a leader, you must be able to identify what people in your organization are struggling with and why they are feeling that way. You need to be open and honest about it so that they feel comfortable talking to you about their feelings.

By being aware of these things, you can take steps to help them work through their issues or find someone else in the department who can help them. This helps keep trust within the workplace and can even prevent bad situations from happening by addressing potential problems early.

You also have to be able to listen to what others tell you- not just when they think it’s appropriate, but every time. When they come to you with an idea or problem, you should try to understand how they felt about it and whether there is anything more you could do to help them.

This includes understanding the difference between having fun and engaging in meaningful activities and doing good works. The former is often empty gestures designed to look like actions of leadership, while the latter will not get noticed unless you go out of your way to emphasize it.

Emotional intelligence is something we are born with, but learning how to use it takes practice and education.

Communicate well

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As a leader, you will need to be able to communicate effectively with people. You will have to motivate others to work on projects for your department or team, go above and beyond what is required, and keep them engaged while they are working on these projects.


You must first learn how to empowerate individuals. This means setting appropriate expectations and ensuring that everyone in your organization knows what their job responsibilities are. People who feel like they do not know what their position entails can become disengaged from the task at hand which can negatively affect the success of the project.

Next, you should develop an understanding of why someone might disagree with you. It is important to recognize when someone else does not agree with your decision or approach so you can find another solution or way to achieve the same goal.

In addition to educating people about their jobs, you also need to educate them about the tasks related to theirs so that they do not get confused. Your colleagues and superiors may not agree with each other or you, but that is okay! There is always going to be someone more experienced than you out there.

Lastly, make sure to listen to what others have to say. Not only should you consider their ideas, but also how they said it- were they angry, did they use strong language, etc. All of this information can help you determine whether they really mean what they say or if they are just trying to sound tough.

Gain their trust

how to use emotional intelligence as a leader

As a leader, you will spend a lot of time working with people. You can never have enough confidence in yourself or your leadership skills before trying to inspire someone else to follow you.

As mentioned earlier, being a good leader is about inspiring others to work hard for you and helping them feel motivated and confident in themselves and what they are doing.

One way to do this is by showing an understanding and respect of theirs, and developing relationships with them.

By investing time into people, it creates a supportive environment that encourages teamwork and loyalty. This helps promote effective communication and collaboration which are essential qualities of a successful leader.

If you want to be a powerful leader, then you must learn how to relate to people. And don’t think that just because you talk a lot that you are communicating well – you aren’t!

Many leaders remain silent most of the time but still manage to get things done. They are smart about how they use their energy so they can give some time towards supporting those under them.

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