Emotional Intelligent Leadership

Emotional Intelligent Leadership (EIL) promotes an intentional focus on three facets:
consciousness of self, consciousness of others, and consciousness of context.
Across the three EIL facets are nineteen capacities that equip individuals with the knowledge, skills, perspectives, and attitudes to achieve desired leadership outcomes.[1]

The Three Facets

Emotional Self-Perception: Identifying emotions and their influence on behavior. Emotional self-perception is about describing, naming, and understanding your emotions. Emotionally intelligent leaders are aware of how situations influence emotions and how emotions affect interactions with others.

Emotional Self-Control: Consciously moderating emotions. Emotional self-control means intentionally managing your emotions and understanding how and when to demonstrate them appropriately. Emotionally intelligent leaders take responsibility for regulating their emotions and are not victims of them.

Authenticity: Being transparent and trustworthy. Authenticity is about developing credibility, being transparent, and aligning words with actions. Emotionally intelligent leaders live their values and present themselves and their motives in an open and honest manner.

Healthy Self-Esteem: Having a balanced sense of self. Healthy self-esteem is about balancing confidence in your abilities with humility. Emotionally intelligent leaders are resilient and remain confident when faced with setbacks and challenges.

Flexibility: Being open and adaptive to change. Flexibility is about adapting your approach and style based on changing circumstances. Emotionally intelligent leaders seek input and feedback from others and adjust accordingly.

Optimism: Having a positive outlook. Optimism is about setting a positive tone for the future. Emotionally intelligent leaders use optimism to foster hope and generate energy.

Initiative: Taking action. Initiative means being a self-starter and being motivated to take the first step. Emotionally intelligent leaders are ready to take action, demonstrate interest, and capitalize on opportunities.

Achievement: Striving for excellence. Achievement is about setting high personal standards and getting results. Emotionally intelligent leaders strive to improve and are motivated by an internal drive to succeed.

Displaying Empathy: Being emotionally in tune with others. Empathy is about perceiving and addressing the emotions of others. Emotionally intelligent leaders place a high value on the feelings of others and respond to their emotional cues.

Inspiring Others: Energizing individuals and groups. Inspiration occurs when people are excited about a better future. Emotionally intelligent leaders foster feelings of enthusiasm and commitment to the organizational mission, vision, and goals.

Coaching Others: Enhancing the skills and abilities of others. Coaching is about helping others enhance their skills, talents, and abilities. Emotionally intelligent leaders know they cannot do everything themselves and create opportunities for others to develop.

Capitalizing on Difference: Benefitting from multiple perspectives. Capitalizing on difference means recognizing that our unique identities, perspectives, and experiences are assets, not barriers. Emotionally intelligent leaders appreciate and use difference as an opportunity to create a broader perspective.

Developing Relationships: Building a network of trusting relationships. Developing relationships means creating meaningful connections. Emotionally intelligent leaders encourage opportunities for relationships to grow and develop.

Building Teams: Working with others to accomplish a shared purpose. Building teams is about effectively communicating, creating a shared purpose, and clarifying roles to get results. Emotionally intelligent leaders foster group cohesion and develop a sense of “we.”

Demonstrating Citizenship: Fulfilling responsibilities to the group. Citizenship is about being actively engaged and following through on your commitments. Emotionally intelligent leaders meet their ethical and moral obligations for the benefit of others and the larger purpose.

Managing Conflict: Identifying and resolving conflict. Managing conflict is about working through differences to facilitate the group process. Emotionally intelligent leaders skillfully and confidently address conflicts to find the best solution.

Facilitating Change: Working toward new directions. Facilitating change is about advancing ideas and initiatives through innovation and creativity. Emotionally intelligent leaders seek to improve on the status quo and mobilize others toward a better future.

Analyzing the Group: Interpreting group dynamics. Analyzing the group is about recognizing that values, rules, rituals, and internal politics play a role in every group. Emotionally intelligent leaders know how to diagnose, interpret, and address these dynamics.

Assessing the Environment: Interpreting external forces and trends. Assessing the environment is about recognizing the social, cultural, economic, and political forces that influence leadership. Emotionally intelligent leaders use their awareness of the external environment to lead effectively.


  1. Marcy Levy Shankman et al., Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for Students (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2015), pp. 225-227. Back to content