INSIDER: Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader

December 1, 2022

Tyler O’Mary, MBA Candidate

The best predictor of long-term success in the workplace is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is what takes leaders from average to extraordinary. Not only does it help one understand more about oneself, but it can also help form deeper relationships with others. Having a better understanding of how emotions influence behavior will enable you to make more intelligent decisions, overcome obstacles, and transform the way you lead. There are five pillars comprising EQ, and understanding how each pillar plays a role serves as the foundation for becoming an emotionally intelligent leader. After leaders fully understand the role of each pillar, they must pick a leadership style. Each person is unique, and some styles will naturally fit better than others. In Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader, Christopher Connors walks us through six different leadership styles of emotionally intelligent leaders.

Stock Image of Emotional Intelligence For the Modern Leader Book

THINK POINT #1: Five Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

The first step in developing emotional intelligence is understanding what it is. EQ refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions and recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others. Five pillars of emotional intelligence serve as a base for developing this skill: self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy, and social skill. Each of these pillars are equally important, but EQ begins with self-awareness.

Self-awareness is the ability to understand ourselves and use that knowledge to grow, learn, and improve. In other words, it is the ability to understand why we do what we do. It is the most difficult pillar to master because truly understanding ourselves is challenging; however, if mastered, we will see a boost in self-confidence, belief in self, and commitment to knowing what our true potential is. To become emotionally intelligent leaders, we must start by looking inward before we can positively impact others.

Connors defines the second pillar, self-management, as holding yourself accountable to commitments, having the ability to adapt to positive and negative emotions, and learning how to manage your emotions publicly and privately in a healthy way. Self-management is more than just having a strong grasp of your emotions and strong time management skills—it is about combining the two.

Motivation, the third pillar, is defined by Daniel Goleman as a passion for work that goes beyond money and status. Motivation is far more than material things and extrinsic factors. It is the “fire that burns bright inside you,” according to Connors. If we want to do great things, then having a passion for what we do is crucial. Motivation is very much within our control, no matter if we are motivated by generating it ourselves or by being around inspiring people.

Empathy is the fourth pillar and, in essence, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Empathy is standing in someone else’s shoes instead of our own. This skill can build relationships, create opportunities to work with new people, and, more importantly, help you lead with greater love and compassion. Empathy will move people to admire and respect you while allowing you to lead more intentionally and effectively.

The fifth pillar is social skills. Our ability to form lasting relationships with others is what separates us as leaders. To inspire others, we must take time to get to know them, show that we care, and show that our success is their success. The best work environments emphasize collaboration, and every emotionally intelligent leader should focus on social skills within their firm. Once these five pillars are in place, individuals must choose the leadership style that best suits them.

THINK POINT #2: Six Leadership Styles

There are six leadership styles of emotionally intelligent leaders: visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and commanding. A visionary leader sees potential where others do not. This style is for the dreamers, and it is inspired by creative imaginations. Coaching leaders help employees see the greatness inside themselves. These are the servant leaders who bring out the best in people. Affiliative leaders build relationship capital and manage conflict as it arises within a team. They take time to understand everyone’s job functions so they can determine the best path forward to create a successful outcome for everyone.

Democratic leaders build powerful relationships that turn into collaborative teams. These leaders both make people around them better, as well as becoming better themselves by the influence of those around them. In other words, “for the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” Pacesetting leaders expect their employees to arise to the standard of performance that the leader is setting. These leaders are extremely competitive and encourage people around them to perform at their highest level. Lastly, the commanding leader is what most people typically picture when they think of a leader. These people are commanding, assertive, driven, and competitive. This style of leadership is prevalent in situations where a leader is dealing with an extremely difficult set of circumstances, like the military. While there are multiple leadership styles, the most effective one will be the style that fits most naturally with you.

THINK POINT #3: Sustaining Emotional Intelligence

Becoming emotionally intelligent is not an easy task, but it is also just as hard to sustain. Connors explains that it takes time, discipline, consistency, and commitment to maintain and even improve emotional intelligence. To avoid regressive behavior, leaders must make conscious decisions, keep an open mind, create time for reflection, and avoid excuses. Embracing a constantly self-improving mindset will combat any type of regressive behavior.

Real Estate Implications

Real estate, whether residential or commercial, is an industry that revolves around relationships, and EQ is a crucial factor in creating lasting, productive relationships. Agents must have outstanding social skills to form strong connections with both buyers and sellers. They must also be empathetic, putting themselves in the shoes of their clients and understanding how the client’s emotions can affect the transaction. An agent must also be highly motivated in this industry where commission is a large portion, if not all, of the earnings. A highly motivated agent will inspire clients to work just as hard to get the deal done. Additionally, agents typically juggle numerous deals at one time, and all the emotions associated with the stress can quickly lead to burnout. Self-management is crucial so agents can be as productive as possible for as long as possible. Lastly, self-awareness is extremely important because if an agent cannot understand why they do what they do, then they won’t be able to adequately understand their clients. Emotional intelligence can take years master, but it is essential in the world of real estate. 

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Recommended Reading

Connors, Christopher D., Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader, Rockridge Press: Emeryville, CA.

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About the Author

Tyler O’Mary, MBA Candidate
Baylor University

Tyler O’Mary is a graduate student from Austin, Texas. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Baylor University with a double major in Finance and Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation. Tyler is currently pursuing an MBA at Baylor and plans to pursue a career in the commercial real estate industry.