Emotional Intelligence: What Is It And Why Does It Matter?

Do you know someone who always seems to know just the right thing to say, at the right time, even in the most challenging situation?

Have you ever worked for a manager who can deliver highly critical feedback without causing a flicker of upset in the recipient?

Or perhaps you know an amazing listener who, without doing anything, leaves you feeling positive after you’ve shared your worries with them?

People who are cool and calm in the most stressful situation and can make well-considered decisions even under pressure?

These are all shining examples of people who possess high emotional intelligence.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand how different personalities want, and need, different things in order to be happy or comfortable. We all know people like those described above, just as we can all think of people who are the opposite and have no understanding of how anyone can not think, or feel, the same as they do.

Emotionally intelligent people understand themselves, and crucially they understand how their behaviour affects others.

People buy people, which is why those with high emotional intelligence will usually be extremely successful in life. By being very likeable, others will want to help them succeed. People are generally more supportive and happier to help those with high emotional intelligence.

Traits Of High Emotional Intelligence

A quick search throws up myriad ways to ‘define’ the common characteristics of a person with high emotional intelligence, which distil down to these five common themes:


The ability to recognise their emotional state and ensure it doesn’t affect how they respond to a situation is an important trait. Emotionally intelligent people will usually be open and honest about their strengths and weaknesses while possessing confidence in their abilities.


In tandem with a keen awareness of their own emotions, they possess the ability to react appropriately to any given situation. They will be thoughtful and mindful in their actions, thinking first and taking a considered approach. At the same time, they can define reasonable boundaries and say no when necessary.


Highly emotionally intelligent people don’t pursue instant gratification – instead, they see the bigger picture and favour long-term success and achievement. As a result, they will be highly motivated, productive and often keen to rise to a challenge!


Having empathy with others requires the ability to identify and respond to the needs, views and opinions of others positively. Being able to recognise subtle emotional indicators that others may overlook enables emotionally intelligent people to build strong relationships.

Social skills

As you might expect, people with strong social skills are usually highly emotionally intelligent. Communication is essential to these people, and they are people that others want to be around.

The Business Case For Improving Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a highly sought-after trait when considering whether to employ someone – particularly if they are going to be in a leadership or customer-facing role. But you can also nurture emotional intelligence within your existing team – and it makes sense to do so.

With emotionally intelligent people leading your business, your ability to achieve your goals and activities is increased. Customers will have a good experience, recommend you and become your advocate while staff will feel loyal to their leader and will strive to perform at their best.

In essence, emotional intelligence is crucial for business growth!

Would you Like To Be A Better Leader?

A great place to start developing better emotional intelligence is to work on any weaknesses in the core traits.

Look at how you, or your team, react to others – try to ‘walk in their shoes’.

As with all personal development, you will need to be honest with yourself about where you need to improve and commit to tackling those areas first.

For example, if you tend to react with anger or blame, then you may need to work on your ability to self-regulate your responses. Above all, you must be willing to take ownership of your behaviour and, when necessary, take steps to put it right when you see it go wrong.

Train To Gain Emotional Intelligence

It’s not unusual to need training or coaching when you undertake personal development, and improving your emotional intelligence is no exception.

If this article has made you think that you would like to improve your emotional intelligence, or you would like help to nurture it in your leadership team, please get in touch. I offer a range of options to help you to achieve this and can arrange face-to-face or e-training depending on you or the needs of your business. 

So why not book an appointment for an initial consultation today.

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