Leading With Emotional Intelligence

Leading with Emotional Intelligence


Caring seems like a simple thing to do, but it is not always expressed genuinely with delivery or tone. As leaders, it is important to show maturity along with compassion. Being more compassionate and balancing what the job requires with the human spirit needs is key.

In other words, leaders need to balance the head and the heart. The intensity of getting the job done should not take over the ability to encourage and appreciate others along the way. Employees typically don’t need someone to hold their hand, they just need to have a clear idea of what is expected of them. When this is done with tact and a thoughtful approach, people will perform. Making the extra effort to appreciate work that is done, and showing that you truly care about people can be more powerful than you think. 

Studies have shown:

  • Employees are motivated to work harder when their manager expresses appreciation.
  • How employees feel is often more important than what they earn.
  • People leave managers, not companies, usually for emotional, not financial reasons. 
  •  When employees feel appreciated and recognized, they are more loyal and less likely to leave the organization.

Boston Consulting Group surveyed 200,000 employees to learn more about top motivators. Interestingly, the #1 motivator was ‘Appreciation for their work’. #8 was ‘Attractive fixed salary’. We know that base pay is always a huge concern for everyone, but if a salary is a major concern in your organization, then no amount of recognition will make employees forget it. And on the flip side, if your employees aren’t getting enough recognition for what they do, then no amount of money can buy their loyalty. Finding the balance is what is needed.

Respected leaders have learned how to connect the head and heart through their actions to build strong employee relationships.


Strong leaders hold themselves accountable equally to that which they expect from their employees. Employees don’t appreciate the ‘ivory office’ mentality. They appreciate being able to trust that their leader is approachable, relatable, and willing to roll up their sleeves and do the job required, and alongside them when needed. Being a leader that is open to being more integrated with the team, such as by being more available and less mysterious is powerful. 

Being transparent and authentic in your leadership style will also build trust and accountability. Alternatively, playing the game of authority behind a hefty title will never allow for a trustworthy relationship, which is ultimately needed when holding others accountable is required.

Strong leaders can admit when they are wrong. They hold themselves to the same accountability that they expect of their employees. Ultimately, your degree of accountability determines the strength of your leadership. The more accountable you are, the more you can be trusted. The more you can be trusted, the stronger the relationships with your employees will become.

The Strength of the Team is in Each Individual

There is a saying that the “sum of the parts is greater than the whole”. You could also look at this in a converse way by saying “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Either way, when you look at the whole, such as your whole business, it is critical to look closely at who makes up the whole. This couldn’t be more true whether you oversee a team or an entire company. 

A big part of ensuring ‘the team’ can be as strong as needed is looking at each individual to ensure they are equipped to fulfill their role successfully. Equally important, is taking the time and effort to develop each employee so are equipped to handle more. Getting more out of your employees means being more mindful of their needs. Just because the department or company has exceeded planned performance, each employee isn’t necessarily positioned to continue to grow and mature in their work. In fact, studies show that companies that value employee development are generally rated as more desired places to work. This requires leaders to be strong and engaged mentors, as well as sponsors who can help their employees better navigate workplace opportunities and catapult their careers. Today’s workplace demands a more sensitive approach to what matters most to their employees. 

Emotional IQ or emotional intelligence is not just soft stuff. It’s also not for weak leaders. It takes guts, charisma, and the ability to be real with those you lead. When a leader can align his or her employees with what he or she wants for the success of the whole, that leader can gain the desired outcomes and results. This creates a space whereby everyone wants to do their part in the greater good. 

Cheers to your greater success leading with emotional intelligence and not just your intellect.

About The Author: Victoria Manuel is a strategic consultant with Elite Holding Co. and has more than 25 years of experience leading business initiatives in all areas of organizations, positively affecting both Top and Bottom lines. 

For more information www.eliteholding.co or call us at 612-888-3583

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