The power of emotional intelligence in leadership

“We define emotional intelligence as the subset of social intelligence that involves 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.”

– Salovey and Mayer.

A leaders’ strongest personality trait is his level of emotional intelligence (EI). An emotionally intelligent person is skilled in four areas: identifying emotions, using emotions, understanding emotions and regulating emotions.

Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra columnist

Ayesha Shafiq, eParisExtra columnist

In fact, emotional intelligence is the difference that makes the difference.

Lack of emotional intelligence is what limits people to manage themselves, manage others or manage situations.

An emotionally intelligent leader is effective because he can control his impulses, can deal with stress and instead of reacting, he responds effectively to a compromising situation. An emotionally intelligent leader does not let others push his buttons while connecting with everyone effectively at the same time.

According to The Center For Creative Leadership, 75% of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competences, including inability to handle interpersonal problems, unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict; or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.

In the words of Daniel Goleman who popularized the concept of emotional intelligence in his New York Times best seller “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ?” describes: “In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings will determine our success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.”

To be effective, a leader must have a solid understanding of how his emotions and actions affect the people around him. The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he will be.

A leader with Emotional Intelligence (EI) focuses on Self Awareness, Self Management, Empathy and Social Skills.

1. Self-Awareness: A leader understands the importance of having a true and clear picture of his strengths and weaknesses while behaving with humility. A leader understands and knows his emotions and he also realizes its impact and affect on the people and situations around him. He examines his emotions when he is angry to know why? He is also aware that no matter whatever the situation is, he always has a choice to respond in a manner he chooses. And once he has chosen his course of action, he takes full responsibility for it and is accountable to it for his people. He does not believe in a blame game. He holds himself responsible when he makes a mistake or when something goes wrong. This behavior makes him earn the respect of those around him.

2. Self –Management: A leader stays in control of his emotions all the time. Leaders who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions or compromise their values. Any time a leader is faced with a moral or ethical decision, he will make the right choice since he knows what is important to him. A leader has a very clear idea of his code of ethics and will not compromise on core values.

3. Empathy: A leader with empathy has the ability to put himself in another person’s shoes. He helps develop the people on his team, challenge those who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback and listen to those who need it. It is easy to support one’s own point of view but to look at situation from someone else’s perspective requires a higher level of understanding and empathy. Leaders pay attention to not only ideas of everybody but also to their body language. Learning to read body language can be a real asset in leadership role because you can tell how someone truly feels which gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately.

4.Social Skills: A leader with greater levels of (EI ) is a great communicator. He is just as open to hearing bad news as good news and he is good at making his team support him. A leader understands the importance of giving praise when it is due and earns the loyalty of his team through his empathy and social skills.

Leaders with higher level of emotional intelligence are always open to change and challenges and prefer to resolve conflicts diplomatically. They are motivated and highly optimistic regardless of the problems they face.

Ayesha Shafiq is the Director of Paris Cardiology Center, now in her eleventh year.  She is the wife of Khalid Shafiq, M.D. and mother of their 2 children. She holds a Masters Degree in International Relations.  Mrs. Shafiq runs management with the help of 22 employees.

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Josh Allen Josh is the Managing Editor of If you have a suggestion or comment about a story or possible story, you may email him at