Emotional Quotient (EQ), often referred to as “emotional intelligence,” is a defining factor in shaping the success of individuals and businesses. It is regarded as having a strong correlation in relation to an individual’s performance within a business, and is hugely influential in how that individual sees themselves and others.

But if it can be a good indication of an individual’s ability to lead and contribute to teams within a business, why is it ignored by many organisations?

Emotional intelligence has often been overshadowed by the widely used and accredited IQ (a measure of intelligence). Our obsession with IQ and a quantifiable ranking of intelligence means that organisations and businesses often fail to highlight and reward the skills that are associated with EQ. This, however, can largely be to the detriment of the potential success of that organisation or business.

EQ is described as the ability for individuals to identify, evaluate, control and express emotions. It isn’t to be confused with being emotional, in fact, it represents the complete opposite – a state of emotional control and management based on your surroundings and situation. As these are the types of characteristics associated with people who better understand themselves, their surroundings, as well as being able to empathise and engage with other people, EQ is certainly something that shouldn’t be ignored.

EQ and leadership

Regardless of how you define great leadership, EQ is fundamental to it. The ability to understand those around you, as well as being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, means individuals are much better positioned to build meaningful relationships, both with other employees and with potential customers/clients.

This isn’t to say that the importance of EQ means leaders don’t need any technical skills or knowledge – they do. However, EQ represents the qualities that help create opportunities, tackle challenges with apparent ease, and help inspire actions from others.

EQ influences everyday tasks in both personal lives and business. For leaders and executives, decisions around hiring, business opportunities, challenges, and sales, must all come from a place of deep awareness and understanding of others. EQ doesn’t just impact personal connections and relationships, it is fundamental in what decisions you make and how you make them.

Developing EQ

EQ can be broadly broken down into five key areas. Interestingly, people may be very strong in some areas, but weaker in others. This means it could be short-sighted to say someone has good/bad EQ, as it might depend on what area you are looking at.

Some of these areas may be more appropriate to certain business situations, and may contribute to why some individuals seem to flourish in specific roles.


Being self-aware is an extremely useful skill to have. Being able to know your own strengths, limits, desires, and fears, means you can tackle challenges and opportunities with more success. A lack of self-awareness means that regardless of how talented you are, you may find yourself always stressed and struggling, as you’ve chased (or even worse, made your business chase) the wrong thing.


Self-regulation refers to having strong control over yourself and your actions. For leaders, not lashing out, or forming stereotypes/assumptions, is vital for nurturing relationships and making good decisions.

Strong self-regulation comes from a place of being very calm and collected, but equally, being very accountable and knowing your role. Leaders can’t instigate the blame game, and must show clear control over how they manage situations.

This is particularly important for when businesses face challenges and need leaders who are focused on solutions, not arguments.


Being self-motivated and having an internal desire to work hard and be disciplined is very useful for leadership. If you’re wanting to inspire those around you, being motivated and clear on what your mission is, will help others understand it and ultimately decide if they want to join you.


Empathy is all about understanding those around you and being able to relate with their struggles, challenges and circumstances. This helps leaders understand their team better and understand what they are feeling. This is likely to impact the ability to get the most out of them.

Social skills

Most businesses are very social in structure. From social interactions with other staff members, to communicating with customers/clients or partners, being a good communicator and having good social skills is certainly a benefit.

Edgecumbe and leadership

EQ isn’t the only defining factor in leadership, but it does raise valid qualities for those in leadership positions. Although leaders come in many shapes and sizes, with many contrasting approaches yielding great results, EQ can offer insights into how leaders could potentially improve.

If you’re looking to maximise your return on leadership, get in touch with our friendly team today. We’re passionate about helping our clients grow and progress through proven leadership frameworks that get results.

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