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The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

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The Oxford Learners Dictionary (2019) defined emotional intelligence as “the ability to understand your emotions and those of other people and to behave appropriately in different situations”. Leadership is about influence whereby the leader uses personal experience and examples to influence the follower to follow similar path. In a work setting, it is typical for a leader to attempt to motivate the follower to achieve common goals through commitment, dedication, and attainment of organizational goals according to Morton & Wendy (2012). Mark Manson (2019) defined self-awareness as ones understanding oneself and your behavior on three major levels which is what you are doing, how you feel about it and figuring out what you don’t know about yourself. These three things are part of what a leader needs to survive a stormy sea because they will have self-control which is strength in its own way, in such a way that they are open to criticism and are willing to use them constructively.

A good leader should know how to channel their emotions well. Negative emotions like anger can be channeled into creativity, a typical example is what Huffpost wrote in 2017 that we can think of the negative emotions as a fuel that can be burnt on the path to creation. The negative emotions might just help you search farther into the problem and find a possible solution that your happier self would never have discovered. Another key attribute is empathy, in my own opinion it can be defined as process by which an individual feel what another person is experiencing by placing themselves in the position therein. A good leader who is not empathetic with their members of staff and colleagues may not get the desired respect and cooperation because they may feel they are not being appreciated and this may have a negative impact on their performance at work. A good example is if a female subordinate with a child arrives late at work due to her child’s ill health and the manager should be able to understand what she is going through by having empathy towards her. Adaptability is another key ingredient to having a good emotional intelligence. Rob Waugh (2018) said “To survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world, businesses need to keep up to stay on top”. Mahatma Gandhi once said “Adaptability is not imitation.

It means power of resistance and assimilation.” Ricky Martin, during his interview with the telegraph in 2018 said that being able to adapt to the changing priorities in the business world is a vital skill that many companies value to get the job done. I believe that one ability to adapt is be being comfortable in uncomfortable position. Critical thinking plays a major role in emotional intelligence. Alison Doyle (2019) defined critical thinking as the ability to analyze information objectively and make a great reasoned judgment. It involves the evaluation of phenomenon that are observable, data and even facts. Therefore, leaders need to be critical thinkers, to be able to be objective about a situation. Leaders who are emotional intelligent should be able to benefit from constructive negative criticism by removing emotional attachment from it. It is a vital skill because when they benefit from criticism like that, they tend to improve on what they got the criticism for. A good example is the habit Hult International Business School is making their student inculcate be making them give positive and negative criticism about their peers and lecturers and making available for them to see it to make improve in their endeavors and performance. A good indicator of emotional intelligence in a leader is being able to work in teams. A team is a group of people with different skills who come together to achieve a common goal. Being able to work in a team will show that a group of individuals can be held mutually accountable by how they put their individual dynamic thinking into use and resolve conflicts to give rise to a productive outcome. The whole administration of Hult International Business School has seen the benefit of functioning in teams and decided to train their students to be future leaders.


  1. Doyle, A. (2019). Why Employers Value Critical Thinking. Retrieved 19 September 2019, from
  2. Emotional-intelligence noun – Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary at (2019). Retrieved 19 September 2019, from
  3. HuffPost is now a part of Oath. (2019). Retrieved 19 September 2019, from Manson, M. (2019).
  4. 5 Skills to Help You Develop Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved 19 September 2019, from Morton, Wendy. (2012). Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Intelligence & Leadership. [Newmarket, Ont.]: BrainMass Inc. Retrieved on 18 September 2019 from Waugh, R. (2018).
  5. Why is workforce adaptability so crucial for success?. Retrieved 20 September 2019, from

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