“The impact of good emotional intelligence on leadership”

by Mr Johannes Nteso

Leadership has come to the fore as one of the most popular, if not intriguing topics of late. Numerous amounts of research have been, and is currently being done on the topic, with much insight having been unravelled. Needless to say, leadership plays a very important role towards the achievement of success regardless of any context nor situation it exists in.


It doesn’t take an expert to realise that good leadership will most likely bring about great results when consistently implemented by the one occupying what I refer to as the “hot seat”, being the leadership position itself. However, any realistic person knows that a leader does not achieve results alone but rather with the help of those they lead and other role players. The aforementioned brings light to one of the most important aspects regarding leadership, which is people. Being a leader often entails a lot of interaction with people and managing the different relationships you have with them; this is why good emotional intelligence is important in this regard.


Daniel Goleman defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to understand your own feelings and moods, to manage them better so that you can have empathy and be able to show it to others”. There’s a saying which goes “your competency (knowledge, skills, and abilities) will get you a job, but your emotional intelligence will give a far better chance of being promoted”. Many may argue with this but come to think of it, a person who leads others does need to have a significant amount of influence to inspire certain behaviours from his/her followers for a good performance outcome to ensue. This places emphasis on the fact that emotional intelligence is needed for one to be effective when leading others.


Studies previously done maintain that leaders who are emotionally intelligent have the ability to bring solidarity amongst those they work with by inspiring them to work together as a team. This can be achieved through the following:

  • Self-awareness (knowing your emotions) – this refers to a leader being able to read his emotions and how they can impact those they lead; a leader’s display of certain emotional reactions has the potential to bring about certain behaviour from those they lead and depending on that particular behaviour, those led may perform better or decline in their performance.


  • Self-management (managing your emotions and motivating yourself) – a good leader knows how to keep himself motivated. The ability to motivate yourself makes it much easier to motivate and inspire others to improve their performance and to reach good standards of inner excellence.
  • Social awareness (recognising and understanding other people’s emotions) – the ability of a leader to recognise and understand other’s emotions gives them an advantage. Showing interest in those you lead appeals to them, and shows that they are not just a number; this inspires commitment from them and that makes them always want to go the extra mile for you as their leader.


  • Relationship management (managing relationships (other’s emotions)) – when a leader has mastered the ability to cultivate and maintain good relationships with others it makes easier for them to build effective working bonds amongst those they lead, which will result in optimum performance becoming a norm amongst them.


In conclusion, when applied well, emotional intelligence can yield good results for those in leadership positions. It is key if one wishes to be effective as a leader because it has a huge influence on how those that follow you perceive and receive you. If you can influence those that you lead in a positive manner, then you will most likely get the best out of them in terms of their performance.

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