September 02, 2021

Signs of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Sam Caucci

Did you know that emotional intelligence is what accounts for 90% of the reason why high performers are set apart from their peers? Technical skills aren’t everything when you are in a leadership position. Emotional intelligence is an important component, and here are the signs you need to look out for in leadership. 

What is Emotional Intelligence?

The term emotional intelligence, also known as EQ (Emotional Quotient), was first defined in the 90s by behavioral researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer. Then, the term was more widely popularized by Daniel Goleman in his book titled ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.’

Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to understand, use and manage not only your own emotions but the emotions of others and using this information to guide your train of thought and actions in any given situation. 

As you can imagine, being able to manage yours and others emotions around you can contribute greatly to both your personal and professional success. Over the years, emotional intelligence as a skill has become quite important for those in leadership positions to be successful. 

Research conducted by TalentSmart has shown that emotional intelligence is one of the strongest predictors of performance. And, many hiring managers have noticed this fact. 71 percent of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder have stated that they actually value EQ over IQ. These employers report that employees with a high level of emotional intelligence are more likely to “stay calm under pressure, resolve conflict effectively and respond to co-workers with empathy.” 

Emotional intelligence can be broken down into four main components:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

If you’re looking to improve your emotional intelligence, you should have a good understanding of what each of these elements mean:


Self-awareness is at the core of emotional intelligence. It describes your ability to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, while recognizing your own emotions and how they affect you and your team’s performance. 

According to research, 95 percent of people think that they are self-aware but only about 10 to 15 percent actually are. Which poses many problems for your employees. Working in an environment where your colleagues are not self-aware can cut your team’s success by a whopping 50 percent, leading to higher levels of stress and decreased motivation. 

To help bring the best out in others, you will need to first bring the best in yourself. This is how self-awareness can help. One helpful and easy way to assess your own level of self-awareness is to obtain feedback from others, where you evaluate your own performance, then compare it to the opinions of your boss, peers and direct reports. By doing so, you will gain extremely helpful insights into your behavior and how you are actually perceived within your organization. 


Self-management is your ability to manage your emotions, particularly under stress, and whether or not you can maintain a positive outlook despite going through obstacles and setbacks. Leaders who do not possess self-management tend to react rather than respond appropriately and have a tough time not being impulsive. 

Reactions are automatic responses to stimuli, but the more emotionally intelligent you are, the easier you can stop reacting and start responding. Some techniques for this include taking a break to breathe and collect yourself, and doing what you need to do in order to get your emotions under control. This could be taking a walk or calling a friend or loved one, so that you can appropriately respond to stressful events and adversity. 

Social Awareness

While emotional intelligence has a lot to do with understanding and managing your own emotions, one other important component is the ability to read the room. Social awareness is the ability to recognize others’ emotions and the dynamics within your organization. 

Leaders who have great social awareness practice empathy. They make it a goal to understand their colleagues’ feelings and perspectives. This allows them to communicate and collaborate with their team more effectively. 

Empathy is ranked as one of the top leadership skills, according to global leadership development firm DDI, which reported that leaders who can master empathy perform 40 percent higher in coaching, engagement, and decision-making. Managers who show empathy toward their direct reports are also viewed as better performers by their boss, according to a separate study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership

When you communicate to your team with empathy, you have the tools to better support them while also improving the performance of the individuals on your team and your organization as a whole. 

Relationship Management

Relationship management is the ability to help influence, coach or mentor others, as well as resolve conflict in an effective manner.

Many people tend to avoid conflict, but this can lead to misunderstanding and end up creating an avoidant and toxic environment within your organization. It’s important to be able to address issues as they arise. 

Plus, research shows that every unaddressed conflict can result in eight hours of wasted company time due to gossip and other unproductive actions, which greatly decreases morale and puts a drain on company resources. 

If you want a happy and healthy team, then you will need to learn how to have tough conversations. 

It’s a leader’s job to set the tone for their organization. Lacking in emotional intelligence can lead to far-reaching consequences that can ultimately drag your organization down and lead to lower employee engagement and a high turnover rate. 

While you might have the technical skills to excel at your job, if you cannot effectively communicate with your team members, collaborate with others or empathize with them, then your technical skills will be overshadowed. Becoming a master of emotional intelligence will allow you to both advance your career and your organization. 

Level Up Your Emotional Intelligence with 1Huddle

At 1Huddle, we offer cloud-based employee gamification software that can easily adapt to any employee training or gamification strategy you want to implement at your workplace. You can customize your content for a seamless experience and all of your employees will be able to access their training anywhere, anytime and at the touch of a button. You can use our gamification platform to measure employee performance and make key decisions on where you should take your gamification strategy next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your own workforce? Leave your information in the Talk To Us Page and schedule a call.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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