Emotional Intelligence - the challenge for leadership

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

by Roy Childs

Emotional Intelligence has become a vital part of how today's leaders meet the significant challenges they face. Emotional Intelligence can help leaders in an evermore difficult leadership role, one that fewer and fewer people seem capable of fulfilling. And in the middle of the "Talent War", especially at the highest levels in organisations, emotional intelligence can give developing leaders a competitive edge.

In this article, we'll take a look at:

  • How the importance of Emotional Intelligence was recognised
  • Why Emotional Intelligence is needed in Leadership
  • The new demands leaders have to meet
  • How to use Emotional Intelligence in developing leadership

How the importance of Emotional Intelligence was recognised

In 1980 Reuven Bar-on was researching the qualities that lead to success. He showed there was much more than traditional Intelligence or IQ and developed the concept of Emotional Intelligence - the Emotional Quotient or EQ was born.
Emotional Intelligence and Leadership expert: Roy Childs

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership expert Roy Childs

Roy Childs is Managing Director of Team Focus Limited, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Chartered Occupational Psychologist. He has been developing senior organisational leaders for more than two decades.

Contact Roy Childs

In 1985 an influential psychologist called Howard Gardener also challenged the current view of intelligence and proposed 7 multiple intelligences which included social intelligence.

The idea that success in both life and in work (at least where managing people is a significant factor) became highly credible and organisations have recognised how their best leaders and managers need to develop their understanding of themselves and others.

In 1995 Daniel Goleman published the best seller "Emotional Intelligence" which has done a great deal for popularising the concept.

Why Emotional Intelligence is needed in Leadership

Emotional Intelligence does not fit the classic historical models of leadership. The latter are usually associated with great figures of military history and conjure up charismatic and sometimes despotic images. However, people often use the same language for leadership today - bold, brave and tough with a strong sense of purpose and resolve. However, this does not fit today's needs, because:

The new demands leaders have to meet

Leaders now need to manage and lead an "empowered" workforce and go beyond the consultative, co-operative and democratic styles of today. These new demands include: However, there are not enough talented (ie: super-human) individuals who can meet all these demands.

How to use Emotional Intelligence in developing leadership

There are now a number of models and questionnaires aimed at measuring Emotional Intelligence, often based on self-report questionnaires. However, this approach has obvious limitations in identifying levels of self-awareness - how can you be aware of what you are not aware of!

So, whilst questionnaires can play a part, better approaches also involve:


The assessment of EI in leadership is complex. The use of simple self-report questionnaires to explore self-awareness has significant limitations. Team Focus approach the topic using a sophisticated variety of approaches including 360 feedback and experiential exercises. This brings the whole concept alive and allows individuals to go beyond their existing knowledge and comfort zones thus producing real impact, growth and change. TFL are happy to work with companies and to guarantee change and improvement. For further details contact Roy Childs.

© 2004 Roy Childs

©2013 Team Technology. Privacy policy and cookies.