Managers need intelligence – but not just the kind that can solve equations or make business decisions. Emotional intelligence is also essential for leadership.


In this blog post, we’ll break down what emotional intelligence is. We’ll also explore why emotional intelligence matters for managers. We’ll finish by discussing how managers can expand their emotional intelligence to understand both themselves and others better.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence has two aspects:

  • The ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and
  • The ability to understand other people’s emotional reactions and guide them through the process.

People with high emotional intelligence understand why they feel happy, hurt, or angered by events and situations around them. Rather than blaming their circumstances for their feelings, they acknowledge and manage those feelings so they can make clearheaded choices in the moment. Likewise, people with high emotional intelligence can more easily predict how others will react, allowing them to craft more thoughtful and tactful communication.


Why Emotional Intelligence Matters for Managers

For managers, high emotional intelligence is linked to several business benefits, including

  • Improved leadership abilities,
  • Better team performance,
  • Lower work-related stress levels,
  • Enhanced decision-making capabilities,
  • Reduced staff turnover, and
  • Increased personal well-being.

Managers with high emotional intelligence are more resilient in their own careers. They’re also better able to help their employees build resilience and maintain work-life balance to prevent burnout.


How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence


Managers seeking to improve their emotional intelligence can use best practices to build this important skill.


1. Practice self-reflection.

The first step to improved emotional intelligence is to understand your own emotions and manage them. Take time during the day, especially, when you feel strong emotions, to ask:


  • What emotions am I feeling right now?
  • Why are these emotions coming up right now? What circumstances led me here?
  • How can I make these emotions manageable?

2. Get feedback.

Building emotional intelligence is most effective when you seek feedback from others. Feedback allows you to “reality check” your feelings. It also tells you whether your impressions of yourself align with others’ impressions of you.


Ask trusted colleagues how they’d rate your emotional intelligence, relationship management, decision-making, and communication skills. Ask them how they describe your response to challenges or your empathy. The places where their answers differ from yours, are fertile ground for building emotional intelligence.

Working on becoming a better manager?

You’re not alone. For help with your business needs, connect with the team at Odell Studner today.