“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head – it is the unique intersection of both.” – David Caruso

Emotional competence is paramount in the context of intelligent leadership. If you know my work and have read some of my books, you probably know that I don’t advocate the trivializing of analytic and professional competencies.

Emotional intelligence, however, is the real difference-maker for the intelligent and successful leader.


Successful leaders need IQ but past a certain point, they need EQ more.

According to Daniel Goleman, EQ is responsible for around 80 percent of adult success. EQ shortcomings are liable to derail the careers of 75 percent of executives. If at any point in your career, someone tells you that you need to work on your people skills, he/she most likely means that you need to develop your emotional competence.

  • How can we define emotional competence/intelligence?
  • Understanding the theories that guide emotional intelligence research.
  • How can you develop your emotional and interpersonal competencies?

What is Emotional Intelligence? 

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and assess your emotions, and to control them. By extension, an emotionally competent person also recognizes the emotions of others and exerts some influence over these emotions.

Emotional intelligence allows us to choose how we feel, what we think, and how we react to a certain situation. It defines our interactions with others, as well as what we value, and what we learn.

In my book, Intelligent Leadership, I have defined Emotional Intelligence as the fourth outer-core leadership competency comprised of five elements:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation/management
  • Social skills
  • Empathy
  • Motivation/passion

The Theories That Guide EQ Research

Two such theories form the basis of most EQ development programs.

The first theory is the Abilities Model. This theory classifies EQ as a sub-domain of intelligence that comprises four interrelated core abilities:

  • Identifying emotions
  • Using emotions
  • Understanding emotions
  • Managing emotions

To identify and use emotions, individuals need to be emotionally aware. They have to be able to express emotions, read emotions, and to use emotions to alter the thinking process.

The second theory is the Mixed Model. This model focuses on emotional abilities, interspersed with various personality dimensions.

The latest iteration of this model proclaims four core EQ elements:

  • Self-awareness
  • Relationship management
  • Social awareness
  • Self-management

Emotional intelligence goes hand-in-hand with leadership maturity.

How to Develop your Emotional and Interpersonal Competencies

Researchers agree that there is no scientific consensus concerning a particular method that works equally well for everyone. Although there are hundreds of emotional intelligence development programs offered by various consulting groups, few of them are based on any particular body of research or theory. Most of them combine elements of the two mentioned theories.

one size

EQ-wise, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

Your options in this regard are specialized workshops that focus on the development of some of the mentioned skills, self-directed learning using information from sources like this one, and executive coaching.

The connections between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership are real. Transformational leadership is the key to increased employee satisfaction/retention, higher-performing teams, and increased commitment to the organization on all levels.

Check out my leadership coaching services today!


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