The Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Leadership Performance 

5 September 2023

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability to recognise, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as understand and influence the emotions of others. It involves competencies such as empathy, self-awareness, self-control, and relationship skills, and adaptability. Leadership performance, on the other hand, pertains to how well a leader is able to guide, inspire, and influence a team or organisation to achieve their goals. 

The relationship between EQ and leadership performance is significant and well-established. Here’s how EQ impacts leadership performance: 

  • Self-awareness: Leaders with high EQ are typically more self-aware, understanding their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, emotions, and triggers. This self-awareness helps them make better decisions, respond appropriately to challenges, and lead with authenticity. They also recognise how their emotions can influence their behaviours and decisions, allowing them to exercise greater control. 
  • Self-control: Emotionally intelligent leaders are skilled at managing their emotions, even in stressful situations. This ability to regulate emotions helps them remain calm under pressure, make rational decisions, and avoid impulsive reactions. This, in turn, fosters a sense of stability and confidence in their leadership. 
  • Empathy: Leaders who can empathize with their team members’ feelings and perspectives build stronger relationships and create a more inclusive environment. They can better understand the needs and concerns of their team, making them more approachable and responsive. This fosters trust and collaboration within the team. 
  • Relationship skills: Influential leaders with strong EQ excel in managing relationships. They can navigate interpersonal conflicts, communicate effectively, and inspire others through their interpersonal skills. They create a positive culture that promotes teamwork, motivation, and engagement. 
  • Influence and inspiration: Emotionally intelligent leaders are often more persuasive and inspiring. They can connect with their team members on an emotional level, making their vision and goals more compelling. Their ability to communicate with empathy and authenticity can lead to increased employee loyalty and commitment. 
  • Adaptability: The business landscape is constantly changing, requiring leaders to adapt to new challenges. Emotional Intelligence helps leaders navigate change more effectively. They can manage their own and others’ emotions during transitions, reducing resistance and increasing acceptance of change initiatives. 
  • Conflict resolution: Leaders with high EQ levels are better equipped to handle conflicts constructively. They can mediate disputes, understand different perspectives, and facilitate resolutions that benefit all parties involved. This contributes to a more harmonious and productive work environment. 

To wrap-up, Emotional Intelligence plays a crucial role in leadership performance by enhancing a leader’s ability to understand and manage emotions, build strong relationships, communicate effectively, and inspire their team. Leaders with high EQ tend to create healthier work cultures, foster collaboration, and achieve better overall results. 

Get in touch here to learn how our EQ training solutions can help you take your leadership performance to another level. 

About the author:   

Joe Davis, CPsychol is a BPS Chartered Performance Psychologist and Senior Consultant at Ground + Air. He is a peer-reviewed author and enjoys sharing human performance insights to help people enhance the quality of their life. Joe is passionate about helping people thrive – both personally and professionally – and has worked extensively with high performing individuals, teams, and organisations from business and sport.