Social and Emotional Intelligence for Effective Leadership

Our research points out that the leader’s style determines about 70 per cent of the emotional climate, which in turn drives around 20 per cent—and sometimes 30 per cent—of business performance (Goleman, 2002).

Four Fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence

The four fundamentals are self-awareness, self-mastery or self-management of emotion, empathy or social awareness, and relationship management. Self-awareness is actually the fundamental ability of emotional intelligence. Self-awareness is fundamental for self-management. Social awareness and self-management in tandem are the building blocks for relationship management.

Emotional Resources Required of a Leader

A leader needs self-awareness, to know what’s happening with his emotions. Leaders use self-awareness to sense what’s right and what’s wrong in a situation. Leaders have to manage their to keep their distressing emotions out of the way when they are trying to get a job done, and maintain a positive state, to have a good time with people as well, along with getting the job done.

Leaders also need empathy. Leaders need to put emotional intelligence and social intelligence into practice in a way that primes positive emotions in people, because that’s the state in which they’re going to work best.

Leadership requires a combination of self-mastery and social intelligence. Self-mastery refers to how one handles himself. Self-mastery includes self-awareness and self-control. The leadership competencies that build on self-mastery include self-confidence, the drive to improve performance, staying calm under pressure, and a positive outlook.

All these abilities can be seen at full force also, for instance, in workers who are outstanding individual performers. But when it comes to leaders, effectiveness in relationships is also important. Solo stars are often promoted to leadership positions, but then fail for lack of people skills.


Goleman, 2002,

Originally posted in 205
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