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5 Reasons Emotional Intelligence is Crucial for Leadership

Emotional Intelligence was first defined by Psychologists John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”.

Although not a new concept, I’m predicting ‘Emotional Intelligence’ will be added to business jargon lists everywhere in 2016. As millennials start dominating the ratio of the workforce, it’s becoming more and more important for leaders to be aware of their management style and how it affects their team.

Research by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in the U.S. revealed links between “specific elements of emotional intelligence and specific behaviors associated with effectiveness and ineffectiveness”. CCL cites the 3 main reasons for failure as:

  1. inability to work well in a team,
  2. inability to handle change, and
  3. a lack of interpersonal relations.

This research is supported by previous findings from the Carnegie Institute of Technology which concluded that a high emotional IQ is essential for financial success. The Carnegie study found that 85% of success was due to emotional skills and just 15% was due to technical ability.

The following 5 reasons further demonstrate why emotional intelligence is essential for leadership.


Leaders with a high level of emotional intelligence find it easy to relate to and empathize with others. This is essential in the salon industry where tensions can often run high with (hopefully) packed schedules and where it’s essential for any grievances to be nipped in the bud before it festers. Empathetic leaders can put themselves in their team members shoes, treating every employee with the same amount of respect and consideration, from the ground up. This ensures that employees feel valued and it contributes to the overall morale on the salon floor.


By sharing the corporate approach and vision with each level of your team, leaders can work towards a more efficient and transparent workplace. Consistency and clarity is key, and employees must be given clear guidelines with regards to what’s expected of them in their roles. By doing so, these leaders will also give employees the confidence to openly ask questions or their raise concerns as soon as they arise.


A true leader must be passionate in order to motivate others to fulfill their potential. By showing that they’re passionate about their work, leaders will connect with their employees on an emotional level and this is crucial for the success of any business. An emotionally intelligent leader will teach, motivate, and guide their employees, leading by example rather than procedures.


Have you ever heard the phrase “go with your gut”? Well, your employees need to be able to trust your gut. You need to have their corner at all times and having confidence in your own ability as a leader is essential to that. In a crisis, it’s important not to get overwhelmed or react impulsively – because your employees will take their cue from you. A strong leader remains confident whilst tackling issues and their team stays calm as a result. You can’t inspire anyone if you don’t believe in yourself first.


Leaders don’t follow a set path – they create their own path – and creativity is key to doing so. Whilst some business processes simply ‘work’, others periodically need some tweaking or complete renovation to continue to compete in the changing marketplace. By looking outside of the box, collaborating with your team, and having confidence in your own judgement – you can address problems with innovative solutions that you’d never thought of before.

Managers and employees take their cue’s from their leaders. Practicing empathetic leadership will encourage your managers to do the same, trickling the positive effects throughout your entire organization. If you’d like to ‘test’ out your own emotional IQ, why not try this online test from

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