Emotional Intelligence for Managers: How to Develop Emotional Intelligence

- Leadership

An Article by Sam, Management 3.0 Team Member and creator of the Management 3.0 Emotional Intelligence Module

Many of you might have already heard about Emotional Intelligence (EQ), it is ‘all the rage’ these days, especially as the world moves to remote working where we need to be even more in tune with ourselves and those around us.

In this article you’ll learn:

There are several ways to develop and increase EQ, before we dive in, let’s briefly dissect what EQ is:

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. It’s the title given to a group of emotional capacities that make human relationships work effectively. Essentially EQ is made up of three components:

  • Self-Reflection
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy

Someone who has strong self-reflection for example, would be able to stop themselves in a heated conversation, from saying something they’d regret later. They’d be able to stop mid conversation, name the emotion and acknowledge how they’re feeling and course correct, either by removing themselves from the conversation, or taking a deep breath and changing tone. Of course this is much easier said than done.

Why Emotional Intelligence is important?

Emotional Intelligence is important because it allows the ability to work with others in a highly effective manner resulting in individual, team and organizational success. It’s said today, that emotional competencies are twice as important in contributing to excellence than pure intellect and experience.

Can Emotional Intelligence be taught?

Something else that’s important to note before we dive into ‘How To Increase (or Develop) Emotional Intelligence‘, is that EQ can be learned. A common misconception is that if you’re not born with it, you’ll never have it and that’s completely not true. If it were, companies would’t be spending millions of dollars on enhancing the EQ of their employees.

Working Together
Emotional Intelligence makes or breaks a team’s performance as well as a leader’s ability to effectively lead others during challenging times. (Photo by Canva Studio via Pexels)

And now, let’s help you to get started:

How to Develop (Increase) Emotional Intelligence: 7 Easy Steps

#1 to increase your Emotional Intelligence: Name Your Feelings Daily

Knowing what you’re feeling is the most important part of having a strong EQ. For example, stop five times a day and ask yourself: What are you feeling right now? Name the emotion and move on. When we’re able to name our emotion we are taking charge of it, rather than letting it take charge of us. When we don’t know what we’re feeling we can’t control it. When we do know what we’re feeling we’re AT CHOICE. The goal is to be at choice so we control how we act and our emotions don’t control us.

#2 to develop your EQ: Increase your ‘joy’

Joy means a lot more than happiness, in fact it’s one of the emotions associated with self-reflection and understanding and above all it gives us confidence and energy, which we need in order to thrive. When our joy is low everything else is low, meaning that it impacts your relationship with yourself and those around you. So make sure your joy is up in order to develop your Emotional Intelligence. How? Carve out time and do things that bring you peace of mind and make you feel fulfilled.

#3 to increase EQ: Choose positive self-regulation strategies

When we’re stressed we turn to coping mechanisms, the difference between someone with a strong emotional intelligence is that they turn to positive coping mechanisms such as exercise, breathing or self-expression such as music or writing. Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol for example. Be intentional about how you choose to cope with stress and regulate your emotions.

#4 to develop your Emotional Intelligence: Manage yourself-talk

It never feels good when someone else puts you down, so why do it to yourself? Pay attention to how you speak to yourself. Are you nurturing yourself and telling yourself that you can do something and that you’re ‘enough’ and ‘sufficient’ or are you constantly beating yourself up? The kinder you are to yourself, the more confident you are and the better the relationships you’ll create.

#5 to increase Emotional Intelligence: Learn to Listen

This is probably THE most important piece to developing EQ. The ability to listen with the intention to understand, and not with the intent to respond. How often do we listen while thinking about what we want to say back? When we do this we miss things and the other person ends up not feeling heard or seen. Listening is the key to having a strong emotional intelligence. Listen to things that are being said as much as things that are not being said. The more time you take to truly listen, the better you’ll understand people and their motivations, which leads to creating stronger relationships.

More tips on how to improve listening

#6 to increase EQ: Move towards the relationship

When things get tough we tend to move away from the issue rather than towards it. Next time the ‘fight or flight’ feeling kicks in, try learning through mutual inquiry, in order to strengthen the relationship instead of looking at it as a problem. Ask questions of the other person and try to resolve it through constructive communication.

Read on about the power of uncomfortable conversations

#7 to develop your Emotional Intelligence: Focus on the other

While emotionally intelligent people make time for self-care, they also understand the importance of getting outside of their heads and focusing on other people. Giving, showing gratitude and helping others, is important to develop your own emotional capacities and it will also allow you to learn how to read, relate to and empathize with other people better.

Thank, Give and Help are the first three of our 12 Steps to Happiness

So we’ve discussed how to foster your EQ, let’s look into some more details:

How Emotional Intelligence affects leadership?

On average, close to 90 percent of leadership success has been attributable to emotional intelligence. The Godfather of EQ, Daniel Goleman says:

“At the highest levels in leadership positions, emotional competence accounts for virtually the entire advantage.”


No matter who you’re dealing with, it all comes down to relationships, which is what EQ is vital for. Research shows that the primary causes of derailment in executives, involve deficits in emotional competence including, difficulty in handling change, not being able to work well in a team, poor interpersonal relations.

Emotional Intelligence
Our EQ can enhance as much as we’re willing to put into developing it! (Photo by fauxels via Pexels)

Here are three key professional relationships where EQ can help:

#1: Emotional intelligence with stakeholders

With stakeholders, the better you can read, relate to and connect with people who have a vested interest in your company, the more inclined they’ll be to continue supporting it and feel a connection with you and the product.

#2: Emotional intelligence with customers

When you have strong relationships with your clients and when you are more in tune with your emotions and can control yourself better, you’ll be better able to manage the emotions and feelings of your clients.

#3: Emotional intelligence with colleagues

When you are able to relate to and understand your colleagues, it creates a more seamless work environment. By taking the time to listen and hear what your colleagues are saying and not saying, it’ll enhance relationships and also lead to greater productivity at work and success.

How can EQ enhance team performance?

A 1997 study of 130 executives found that the better people handled their own emotions, determined how much people around them preferred to deal with them, according Walter V. Clarke Associates. This feeds directly into the importance of having a collectively strong EQ within teams, to enhance performance.

Emotionally strong teams, can maintain relationships that are built on trust. People who can better manage their emotions will have better relationships withe each other, which leads to better collaboration and productivity and stronger ideas. Above all, understanding colleagues’ motivations, by listening better and understudying your own emotions, helps creating stronger interpersonal relationships, which contributes to better decision making, better communication and a more positive culture and successful company.

A great way to learn more about your colleagues’ motivations is to play Moving Motivators.

To Conclude: How can I become emotionally intelligent?

While it may seem like there’s a lot to learn, in order for leaders and managers to develop emotional intelligence, it’s less daunting than you think. The most important thing is to decide to be more aware of your emotions and that of those around you and then take things one step at a time. It takes a while to build habits and change patterns, so choose one of these seven steps and take your time to practice and implement it daily. Before you know it, it’ll become second nature and your emotional intelligence will grow and develop.

In order to dive deeper into Emotional Intelligence check out these resources:

Management 3.0 Module on Emotional Intelligence
Management 3.0 Workshops (There are dedicated EQ workshops as well)
How emotional intelligence (EQ) makes for happier workplaces
Is EQ becoming the new IQ? The power of emotional intelligence

Header Photo: fauxels (via Pexels)

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