The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Business Life

About the Importance and Necessity of Emotional Intelligence in Business Life. We examined the 5 different components of emotional intelligence, self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy and social skills.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Business Life

There is a very well educated and intelligent manager known to everyone in business life. When that person is promoted to a higher position, his success and performance decline drastically.

There is also a manager type with an above-average education and intelligence. When this person is promoted to a higher position, he multiplies his success and performance.

We make these two anecdotes to show a general opinion among people. Leadership is more an art than a science. Successful leaders have their own unique characteristics. Some have analytical thinking skills, some have a great vision, some analyze data very well, and some have very accurate predictions.

But Daniel Coleman, who brought the concept of emotional intelligence to the literature, argues that the most successful leaders have a high emotional intelligence. Of course, this does not mean that IQ or education, equipment, experience are unimportant. Such features are essential for a managerial position. However, Coleman states in his research that "emotional intelligence" is at the root of true leadership.

A person who has not developed emotional intelligence cannot be a successful leader even if he graduates from the best schools in the world, even if he has advanced analytical thinking skills, even if he has great ideas.

Many studies by Coleman et al. On the importance of emotional intelligence in business life examine the relationship between emotional intelligence and superior performance.

In this article, we will examine the importance and function of emotional intelligence in business life and leadership in detail.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business Life

Many psychologists work in many large companies today. The task of these psychologists is to analyze the "competence level" of the employees and to provide training to promising individuals in the company who are thought to have leadership qualities.

Coleman and colleagues examine 188 major global companies such as British Airways and Credit Suisse from this perspective.

Coleman's main goal in the course of the study is to identify which personal traits provide superior performance.

For this, 3 basic skill categories are developed:

Fully technical skills such as accounting, planning
Cognitive skills such as analytical thinking
And skills that show emotional intelligence. In other words, the ability to work with others and initiate change.

Coleman and her team examine the personality traits of top executives. In addition, the differences between top performers and average performers are analyzed through criteria such as the profitability of the department. Various tests are applied to people who hold leadership positions in the company, comparisons are made between different skills, and as a result, common characteristics of highly successful leaders are determined.

When the resulting data is analyzed, quite dramatic results are obtained. It seems that intelligence plays a big role in the context of outstanding performance. Cognitive skills such as seeing the big picture and having long-term vision are also found to be important.

However, when comparing 3 elements such as IQ, technical skills and emotional intelligence, it is found that emotional intelligence is at least 2 times more important than other factors in all stages of business life.

It is also found that emotional intelligence is much more important in senior positions. In other words, the higher the positions of the people who are thought to exhibit superior performance, the higher their emotional intelligence is.

When comparing star positions in senior leadership positions with those in average positions, it is seen that the difference between them is 90% due to emotional intelligence.

In other studies, it has been found that emotional intelligence is a factor that distinguishes successful leaders from others, and is closely related to superior performance.

In summary, we can say this: There is a correct ratio between the success of a company and the emotional intelligence of the top managers (leaders) of this company. In addition, another conclusion we can draw from this research is that emotional intelligence is something that can be developed.

Now let's analyze in detail the 5 different components of emotional intelligence, such as self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy and social skills.

1. Self Awareness

Self awareness is the first component of emotional intelligence.

Self-awareness basically means knowing one's own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and desires. People with strong self-awareness are measured people in the sense of criticism and hope. They are honest with themselves and others.

People with high self-awareness successfully feel how their emotions affect them, the people around them, and their performance in business life. For this reason, a person with high self-awareness does not leave his job to the last minute, because he knows that last minute work will be mediocre. Therefore, a self-aware person plans his time and work correctly in advance. Knows the intricacies of working with an important and difficult customer. He knows that being challenging the client has an impact on his mood and tries not to perceive the situation personally. Even when he is angry, this transforms the nerve into a more constructive area.

Self-awareness also allows a person to know their value and goals. A self-aware person knows where he is heading and why he is walking in that direction. For example, a self-aware person may refuse a highly attractive job offer on the grounds that he or she cannot adopt the company's culture.

For example, one of the people participating in Coleman's work says: “In my first years of business, I accepted a job offer just because the salary was good. However, after 2 years, I started to get very bored due to the limited scope of my influence and the work I did not satisfy me. "

In this context, we can say the following: People with self-awareness know well their values, desires and goals. This enables them to position themselves in the right place.

So how can a person know if he is self-aware?

A person with a high self-awareness can speak clearly and transparently about his feelings and the impact of his work. For example, one of the people participating in Coleman's work is the manager of a store similar to our Boyner. This person is skeptical of the customer service the store is about to launch. Before his boss asks him why he has doubts, he feels the need to explain: “It is really difficult for me to stay outside of this project and I would give everything to work on this project but I was not selected for the project.” says. So this person explains his stance on the project clearly and honestly. A week later, the manager reviews this employee's feelings and decides to fully support this project.

This type of self-awareness often manifests itself in recruitment processes. Ask the job interviewer about a situation in which his feelings were captive and about an action he regretted. A self-aware candidate honestly describes his mistake with a smile on his face. Self-awareness and humor are also closely related.

Self-awareness can also be detected in performance evaluations. A person with high self-awareness does not hesitate to talk about their strengths and weaknesses. It attaches great importance to constructive criticism and feedback. People with low self-awareness perceive the advice and feedback given to them as a sign of failure and a threat.

Self-aware people are aware of what they can do and know that if something to do in 5 hours is done in 2 hours, for example, something mediocre will come out. Self-aware people who know how to get help when necessary calculate the risks they will take well. So he does not do business with ignorant courage.

A mid-level manager is invited to a strategy meeting with the company's top executives. Although he is the youngest person in the room and with the lowest experience, he does not sit quietly in the meeting and is not afraid of the speakers. On the contrary, he convincingly describes his previous ideas about the company's strategies. In addition to this, he avoids dealing with subjects he is not fully informed about, due to his self-awareness.

Working with self-aware people in a company is invaluable, but Coleman's research reveals that the self-awareness elements of mid-level managers who are seen as potential leaders within the company are not given due attention. Senior managers think that people who speak honestly about their feelings and thoughts are “weak”; he thinks transparency is a weakness. This prevents self-conscious people from being nominated for leadership positions on the grounds that they are not tough enough on people management.

However, there are situations where the opposite is true. People admire people who speak frankly and honestly. Moreover, leaders need to constantly analyze the capacities of themselves and their employees.

Can we produce a new product within 6 months?

If a large competitor enters the market, can our management team overcome this competition?

People with high self-awareness analyze their companies as well as themselves objectively and make the most appropriate decision.

2. Self control

Biological impulses activate our emotions. We cannot act independently of them, but we can control them.

Self-control is also an element of emotional intelligence that prevents being captive of emotions. People who hear their inner voice and comply with it may feel emotionally bad sometimes, but people with self-control know how to control these emotions and channel them to more useful areas.

Think of a general manager. Let this general manager's team give a very sloppy presentation to the company's big-time investors. This person will either be very angry or remain in an intense silence. We can even imagine that the general manager will kick everything that comes his way.

If this CEO has self-regulation, he will take a different approach. He carefully chooses the words to use. He states that his team is performing poorly, but does not make a hasty judgment. He thinks why the presentation was prepared so badly. Why didn't the staff create a better presentation? Does it have its own share in this case? He asks himself different questions like these and then gathers his team and asks them why. He describes his disappointment with this situation. Then, it analyzes the cause of the problem and offers a solution to prevent such a thing from happening again.

So why is self-regulation so important to leaders?

First of all, a person who can control his emotions and impulses acts rationally. This means having trust and justice in the business environment. In such an environment, internal fights are severely reduced and productivity increases. Talented people joining the company prefer to stay with the company. In addition, the fact that the boss is a calm person ensures that the company employees are also calm. So no one wants to stand out and stand out because of his impulsive behavior, while the boss is a reasonable self-control person.

Second, self-regulation is also important in a competitive context. Everyone knows that companies are open to change and uncertainty in today's economy. Many companies merge and again many companies split into two. Technology is changing the business world in a dizzying way. Leaders who can control their emotions and impulses are successful in adapting to change. For example, these people don't panic when the government announces a new tax program. They learn the issue in more detail and try to make such a decision. In short, these people do not get up in anger and sit down with harm.

Let's give an example from Coleman's work: There is a large manufacturing company and there is a person working as a manager in this company. Like his colleagues, this manager has been actively using a computer program necessary for production for 5 years. This computer program is used to record how he collects and reports production data and what he thinks of the company's strategy. One day, the company's general manager announces that a new computer program will be used and data analysis will now be done with a different software. While many people in the company complain about the innovation “Where did it come from now”, our manager explores what kind of innovations the new program brings and the benefits. Then he eagerly attends the trainings to use this program better. Many executives at an equivalent level try to learn that program while they persist in not learning this program and eventually get promoted because they know how to use the program very well.

We have to express that self-regulation is an effective and important issue in the context of the power of the company as well as being a human virtue. Many bad events that can happen to a company result from decisions taken with momentary resentment. For example, let's look at the story of a senior executive in a food company. This person speaks to their local dealer in great detail. My company explains the production cost down to the finest detail and takes care that the dealers understand the company's pricing policy seriously. This leaves no room for the bargaining share of the company, of course. Later, the manager avoided providing detailed information to increase the company's profit rate, and thanks to his self-control, he does not reveal all the secrets of the company and provides the company more profit in the long run.

We can include emotional self-control in a context such as mindfulness, uncertainty and not being disturbed by change, and expressing by weighing their words.

Just like self-awareness, people who are successful in self-control are sometimes perceived as passionless and cold. People who blow and rumble are thought to be better suited to the leadership position. However, when these people take the lead, it is often not clear what to do and what to say. In this respect, we can say that people who can control themselves, their emotions and thoughts are people who are developed in terms of emotional intelligence.

3. Motivation

If all leaders have one common feature, it is motivation. Leaders have a great ambition and motivation to exceed expectations. There are many external factors such as money and status that motivate people. But it motivates people with leadership yeast to “succeed” themselves.

So how can we understand that success motivates a leader, not money, status, seat?

The first sign is that this person is doing his job passionately. People who act with the motivation of success do not avoid difficulties, on the contrary, they enjoy overcoming difficulties. He likes to learn new things and takes great pride in a job successfully done. Also, people with the motivation for success have an unending energy to do better things. These people will not consent to the status quo. They always strive to perform better and attach importance to using new methods and new technologies.

A person working as a manager at a cosmetics company is disappointed to learn that salespeople working in the field have to wait 2 weeks to receive sales reports. Finally, he has a phone line designed to call all salesmen at 5 pm every evening. Thus, instead of collecting all data within 2 weeks, it receives daily information from sales personnel every evening. This shortens the feedback process; A 2-week job comes down to hours.

It is the action of a highly motivated person to do his job better. Motivated people constantly raise the bar for success. Of course, a person with self-awareness knows his own limits, does not make unreal plans, but still a highly motivated person always wants to achieve difficult things.

Of course, a person who has the motto "always better" follows the developments of himself, his team and his company in detail.

Interestingly, we find highly motivated people to be optimistic even in difficult situations. When self-control and the desire for success combine, the usual frustration after failure decreases to the lowest level. In other words, a highly motivated person cannot be destroyed by a failure. Even if it collapses, it gets up in a short time and continues to fight.

A manager who wants to identify highly motivated employees should look for the following feature in their employees: Loyalty to the company. If an employee loves what they do, they feel loyalty and loyalty to their company for making it possible. Committed people, on the other hand, stay with their company even if more attractive job offers come. The spiritual dimension of the work outweighs the material dimension.

As you can see, it is not difficult to understand why motivation equates to success for solid leadership. If you always raise your performance bar, you will do the same for your company. Likewise, by infecting the people around you with the habit of exceeding expectations, you can make them work in a more motivated way. That's why successful leaders want to work with people who have the same characteristics as themselves.

4. Empathy

Among the symptoms of emotional intelligence, it is the ability to empathize most easily. We have all empathized with a person who lost his mother or suffered from a lack of empathy in the face of a person who did not understand our feelings. When we look at the issue from a business perspective, we rarely see people being appreciated and rewarded for their empathy. The concept of empathy seems helpless in the face of the harshness and cruelty of business life.

For a leader, empathy is not trying to please everyone, expressing understanding of other people's feelings. Something like this would literally be a nightmare. No work could be done in such a scenario.

For a leader, empathy means taking into account the thoughts and feelings of employees and taking their feelings and thoughts into account while making decisions.

Consider two big companies merging. In this case, more than necessary personnel start to work in each department. A manager calls his department and tells that they are very crowded and that many people will be out of business in a short time. The manager of another department explains that he is very sorry about this situation and that he will make a fair dismissal.

The difference between these two managers is empathy. One becomes worried and upset about the people who are likely to be laid off and promises to be fair. The other is that they are dismissed as if it were an ordinary blackout. In such a situation, people who continue to work in the department who approach the staff without showing empathy become demoralized. The attendance staff of the manager who empathizes with his employees and makes a fair and compulsory dismissal continues to work more efficiently and consciously.

Empathy is very important in modern business for 3 reasons: The spread of teamwork, the pace of globalization, and the need to keep talented people in the company.
Even managing a team is a test in itself. Imagine the disagreement of even two people on most issues, and consider a team of 30-40 people. In this respect, the leader of the team should know the perspectives of their employees in detail.

Take a person working as a marketing manager for a large software company. This person is put at the head of a team with internal complexity. It is an environment where there is a lot of workload and the work to be done is piled up like a mountain. There is also tension between the people in the team. In such an environment, performing normal procedures is not enough to relieve tension within the team.

The manager who heads such a department takes various steps to take the process under control. He meets with his employees one on one and listens to their problems. He learns the causes of different problems in the environment from different languages.

It then encourages employees to talk more openly about their negativity. He wants them to make constructive criticism at meetings and to express clearly what is missing and wrong. In a short time, the atmosphere in the department softens as a result of the empathy he has with his employees and the team begins to come together.

Another reason why empathy is important to leadership is globalization. Misunderstandings and misunderstandings are common in intercultural dialogue. At this point, we can show empathy as the antidote. Instead of misunderstanding the differences in language, body language, gestures and gestures, people who know that these are cultural elements, that is, empathize, get along better with people from different cultures. This is why empathy is very important, especially in a multicultural work environment.


An American consulting firm is giving a presentation to a potential Japanese company. After such a presentation in the American business life, the officials of the other company flood the presenter with questions. However, in this example, it is observed that the Japanese sit quietly after the presentation. The team making the presentation, on the other hand, thinks that silence means "negative response" and begins to gather to leave the hall. But at the last moment, the leader of the team is preventing his team from gathering, saying that it means taste and understanding in Japanese culture. And then the Japanese company accepts the presentation and becomes a client of the American consulting firm.

And finally, empathy is important to ensure that successful and talented people within the company do not leave the company. Because we live in the information age, successful and talented people in a company take away the information they have when they leave the company. This of course means the company loses power.

Mentoring and coaching systems come into play here. Employees' meeting with experienced people they can consult with causes an increase in their performance and professional satisfaction. Effective and successful coaches and mentors are able to analyze well the feelings and thoughts of the people they help, and thus provide more effective comments and suggestions. They know when to motivate people who consult them and when to keep them calm. In this respect, empathy is the root of a successful mentoring.

5. Social Skills

The first 3 items of emotional intelligence that we mentioned were related to self-management. Empathy and social skills are aimed at managing one's relationship with others. Social skill, which is an integral part of emotional intelligence, cannot be summed up as being friendly.

Yes, being friendly is also included in social skills, but there is also a basic goal. In other words, channeling people in a certain direction, being able to persuade them and making them love something are among the founding elements of social skill.

People with high social skills have a wide circle of friends. These people attach importance to being on common ground with people. Of course, this does not mean constantly socializing. People with social skills realize that important things cannot be done alone. For this reason, they expand their environment and demand the support of these people when necessary.

We can say that social skill is a mixture of the other 4 elements of emotional intelligence. Human relations are a good leader, they know how to control the emotions of these people, empathize with these people and motivate them. We have said that people with high motivation for success are optimistic and do not give up quickly in the face of difficulties. Here, the energy of highly motivated people spreads around and increases the energy of the people around them.

There may be situations where people with high social skills fall outside the scope of self-regulation. In other words, he can sit at his desk during working hours and chat with his friends in the hallway. Of course, not to abuse this situation is something that a person with high emotional intelligence will do.


It is not right to think that traditional IQ and technical skills are sufficient for leadership. If there is no emotional intelligence, there is a great deficiency. We know that emotional intelligence used to be seen as "good if". However, today we can say that emotional intelligence is considered an "indispensable" feature in a leader.

So emotional intelligence is something that can be learned. Improving one's emotional intelligence is not an easy task. It takes time and faith. However, let's end our article by saying that a well-developed emotional intelligence is very valuable both individually and institutionally.