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Does only Emotional Intelligence Matters? Is It the only Component That Makes Any Leader Successful?

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Does only Emotional Intelligence matters? Is it the only component that makes any leader successful?

Emotional intelligence, as basic as it sounds, is not just essentially just soft skills. It is something more, something concrete. It’s about self-awareness, self-acceptance, societal knowledge and the empathy to accept people for whosoever they are. Leaders aren’t different people, they just do things differently.

Daniel Goleman quoted, “IQ and technical skills are important, but Emotional Intelligence is the Sine Qua Non of Leadership”, and that is what he elaborates in his thought-provoking piece “What makes a leader”. In this article, he highlights the fact that masses tend to follow the leader who they can look up to; who can guide them to be a better version of them. He also highlighted the fact that a person can have the best training in the world, super functional and analytical mind, an endless supply of ideas to successfully run a business but can still not be a good leader if they don’t possess Emotional Quotient. Further in his paper, he highlights the five main components of Emotional Intelligence; namely, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Awareness, Empathy and Social Skills.

To understand this better, firstly, it is extremely important to identify the need of having a strong emotional quotient. EQ is important, extremely important for all the major decision-making processes because it helps in the expansion of thinking skills and carefully analyzes what matters more; and what would create a huge impact of handled properly. An individual with a high EQ would be more efficient in managing their behaviour, manage the complexities in societal relationships, and in turn achieve personal excellence. Emotional Intelligence consists of two major competencies, personal and social. Emotional Intelligence makes a holistic person with a wholesome heart and brain; with emotions always managed properly and conscious always making the most appropriate decisions. If any individual lacks EQ; they tend to disturb the synergy they share with almost everyone. For an instance; if an individual is not very efficient in managing their emotions; they tend to be more irritated and unsure about their decisions. This indecisiveness majorly puts them in a spot; because they’re controlled by their own emotions when they can’t control them.

Emotional intelligence, as per a study, is a foundation of a set of critical skill for the efficient performance of an individual which enables them to enhance their personality and in turn grow as a better or a wise leader. These critical skills can include trust, loyalty, accountability, social skills, flexibility, tolerance, anger management, stress management, time management, communications and developments in a team synergy. With the amalgamation of all these skills as an add on with Intelligence Quotient, any individual can be a good leader. There’s always a question about, if EI exists in a person already, or is it developed. If it is developed, is it an easy task or does it take a lot of time and effort? Well, this can be very subjective, because it isn’t correct enough to say that every individual is born with a high emotional quotient, well some are, but some do regular exercises to develop the emotional quotient over the years with dedicated action plans. EQ is just communication between a person’s way of feeling emotions and their rational way of thinking based on them. For an instance, if a fight at home doesn’t let an individual affect their work-life behaviour; we safely understand that they manage their work-life balance really well along with their emotions, and never let their emotions overrule them for whatever decisions they make. But in this case, is it safe to say that the person possesses a sane enough EQ?

It can be really difficult to answer that in specific because there are four major components of the two pillars (Self and Society) of Emotional intelligence, which are, self-awareness, social awareness, self-management and relationship management. Even though ‘that’ individual is extremely efficient in self-management, they may as well be lacking in self-awareness or self-assessment, and even in empathy maybe. But being able to manage relations better at workplace sure puts them in the moderate zone there.

In this article, David Goleman majorly talks about how important and relevant it is for a leader to possess these five major attributes.

  1. Self-Awareness: The ability to recognize, understand and accept your emotions, and its immediate effect on others like by reading the reaction of someone else, you know how you are perceived by them. It’s all about knowing yourself, building self-confidence, and a very realistic self-assessment. For an individual with higher EQ, it is very easy to introspect and be self-aware. They tend to understand themselves the best and have a very specific notion about their own personality. They usually self-assess to find the areas that need improvements and aren’t reluctant to make them happen for themselves. An Individual can enhance self-awareness by getting advice from the seniors or by analyzing the daily tasks which matter him most.  

  1. Self-Regulation: The ability to control self-felt emotions and moods. It is a much-focused approach on being able to trust and understand a person’s own emotions and regulate them before they can regulate them. It helps an individual is open to any sort of change they face and figure out the comfort in the ambiguity. For an individual with higher EQ, it is easy to regulate their own self, they prefer to do it themselves before anyone else can do it for them. They are centric towards developing an emotional grip over themselves and have a neutral decision-making process. For example, when someone is screaming at you and you know that they are not always angry at you. You have the ability to understand they may be angry at a particular situation and feel they need to take it out on someone. You do not take this personally or react back angrily. An Individual can control these types of situations by just breathing more or reframing the stressed situation and looked for positive results.  

  2. Motivation: It involves working for all the right reasons. Not just restricted to the quantifiable measures of name and fame, but overall. A holistic perspective and a strong will to be the driver of change. It has a lot to do with the commitment and Optimism. Intrinsic motivation is majorly developed because of presence of excessively strong EQ. Individuals with comparatively higher Emotional Quotient are more motivated to perform well and help others perform well on the same horizon. Example: If a student fails a class, he sees this as an opportunity to learn and retake the class without self-doubt. He does not let failure gets in the way of their goal. Generally, an individual is not motivated all the time, so to get be motivated he can choose his role model means a person he wants to become and follow his path or just a chat with senior or any other person who inspires him.

  1. Empathy: Being able to put you in the shoes of another person and take a walk in their life is what explains empathy. An empathic individual is usually more society centric and keeps a larger perspective in mind. They tend to understand the emotional makeover of other people and how their behaviour would be towards a certain segment. Individuals with higher EQ, tend to possess expertise in cultivating and re-nourishing the talent. They tend to understand the impact of cultural, psychological and social differences. Example: Being able to understand cope with someone else’s hardships or sadness. When you fully understand yourself and why you feel the things you feel, you can understand other people even if they are different than you. An individual can enhance empathy by asking for feedback or opinions from the other persons involved or in the case of seniors by giving authority to the employees for certain tasks.

  1. Social Skill: It is centric on developing skills that involve people. It can be safely assumed as expertise in managing and retaining relationships. Rapport building and the right attitude to lead a team is the game here. Individuals with higher EQ tend to be more open to involving people in every action they take, for them opinions matter more and they are portrayed excellent skills at managing conflict; as well as believe more in an inspirational leadership type of leadership style. Example: Someone in a "boss" position usually has a good grasp on handling all different types of personalities. If two of their employees are having a conflict, they can find common ground and resolve the issue in a civilized and fair manner. Social skills can be improved by improving ability to understand others or thinking before any giving answers and then clearly giving your answers.

Along with this, it is essentially important to realize that a good leader also thinks strategically the action plans, in collaboration to the skillset they possess and then align them with the objectives and goals of the organization. They would always scan the things that are gradually shifting out of their control and are causing a significant change in the work environment, as well as help their team develop soft skills over the time to derive the maximum efficiency out of them.

Learning experience during the course

I had attended the workshop in September where Prof. Dr Timo Meynhardt gave a brief introduction regarding the Leipzig Leadership Model. I find it useful and interesting at that time. So I wanted to go in detail regarding the model during the course. As deep diving as the course, LLM is, it gave me a completely different perspective of being a leader. The course curriculum was extremely engaging with students being able to learn more about group dynamics to be a good leader. We were asked to closely assess an article by one of the most famous authors. And then in further steps develop an interesting medium of communicating it to the rest of the batch.

Alongside this, it also acts as an applicant to the course enriched us with vast knowledge multiple of these articles bring in with themselves. According to my opinion, a course like this is extremely important to understand various domains of leadership. The way the course was so interactive in almost all the sessions made learning a really fun experience. I found the group activities and in-class discussions very helpful in learning the value of all the components of LLM where I get a chance to learn LLM with respect to leadership.


Initially, in my group activity, I found it difficult to relate the LLM with the given theme, but with the continuous discussions in the groups, we all were on the same page that emotional intelligence adds the value in LLM. So this group activity and interactive rounds with the other students help me in getting a better understanding of emotional intelligence in regards to model. I also found a presentation of Group-5 on “Why should be anyone lead by you?” quite interesting where they focused on four qualities namely Revealing weakness, Dare to be different, Become a sensor and Practice tough empathy, required for a leader alongside the skills. It is new learning for me and also, I will try to use this learning in my future leadership rather than just focusing on my skillset. I also liked the presentation of Group-2 on “What makes an effective executive?” Previously I hadn’t any idea about the eight simple rules but now after they presented and linked it with LLM with such an interactive round, I found it as good and new learning.

To conclude, this course has fulfilled all my expectations. I learned so many new things regarding a leader and LLM from lectures to group works and presentations with interactive rounds. I found this individual essay assignment task also as a good medium where we can describe our learning’s and understanding of the course to the professor.        



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