Emotional Intelligence in Leadership: Books to Transform Your Life

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

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The authors of this book break down the reading into four easy-to-digest categories: self-awareness, self-management, relationship management, and social awareness. This book helps you to identify your current emotional intelligence, or EQ, then develop these skills. You start by taking an online test to find out where your current EQ stands today. The idea is that you then test your EQ again after finishing the book to check your progress. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 provides sixty-six simple and actionable tips to help you develop your chosen area. The book helps to increase awareness around social skills and emotional competence.


You can only take the online test twice. You have to wait until you feel like your EQ has progressed before taking the test. It’s such a personal process. It may take someone six weeks or six months to work on themselves. After the two “freebie” tests, you have to buy more if you want access to this feature. One thing to know before diving in is that most of the real-world scenarios take place in the work environment. If you’re looking to develop deeper personal connections, this might not be helpful.

Bottom Line

This book is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their communication and develop stronger relationships. The authors show that you can improve your EQ and give practical advice to make changes. Although it could do a better job of outlining the current state of research, it’s still a useful read on emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

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Author Daniel Goleman hooks readers in by explaining our emotions from a human evolution standpoint. He combines neuroscience and academic research to create a solid understanding of why we have certain feelings. A lot of this theory is all underpinned with real-life examples. Goleman shows that to become more emotionally intelligent, you first have to be aware of your emotions and exert control over them. He discusses how people can suffer due to a lack of emotional intelligence, even though they may be incredibly intelligent.


Toward the end of the book, it starts to feel somewhat repetitive. Goleman uses what feels like too many examples of people with personality defects. The book needed more advice that you could use in your day-to-day life to improve your EQ—something that would help to be more aware of your emotions.

Bottom Line

The book does what it says on the cover. It tells you exactly why EQ can matter more than IQ. It’s an excellent introduction to emotional intelligence, but it’s not a guide book.

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine Aron

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Elaine Aron is a self-confessed highly sensitive person. In her book, she defines this distinctive personality trait that affects as many as one in five people. Aron goes into detail regarding the way highly sensitive people feel and how they perceive the world. The highly sensitive person is taking in more information and noticing more. The book teaches you how to harness this in a way so that you can make better decisions in both your professional and personal life.


There is some awkwardness in the way it’s written. At times, there are weak analogies that can make reading a little confusing. Some consider it a basic introduction. So, depending on where you are on your journey, it could read a bit slow and simple.

Bottom Line

Overall, there’s a wealth of information and guidance for the highly sensitive person trying to learn to function happily and productively. For the right person, this is a potentially life-changing book that could help you embrace who you are.


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What is Emotional Intelligence?

When it comes to happiness and success in life, emotional intelligence matters just as much as intellectual ability. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, use, and manage your emotions. The idea is that the ability to understand and manage emotions massively increases our chances of success and happiness.

What is Emotional Intelligence? – The School of Life

Emotional intelligence is sometimes called emotional quotient or EQ. An emotionally intelligent individual is highly conscious of their own emotions. Whether it’s sadness, frustration, happiness, or something very subtle, they can identify the emotion and manage it. These types of people are very tuned in to other people’s feelings as well.

Highly emotionally intelligent people can restrain negative feelings like anxiety and stress. They focus on positive feelings like patience and confidence. This ability to transition emotions is very beneficial when it comes to coping with stress.

We all experience stress every day. But, it’s how you cope with it that matters. Mindfulness and meditation can give you the space you need to manage stress. I prioritize my self-care and hope you do too. It’s not selfish; it’s what gives us our edge to perform our best in all areas of life. If you’re thinking about giving yourself a little time, a mindfulness retreat could be just what you need.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Research shows that people with higher emotional intelligence are more successful. You can increase your emotional intelligence by learning new skills. Signs of high EQ include:

Team leader handshaking employee congratulating with professional achievement
People With Higher Emotional Intelligence Are More Successful (Image Source: Shuttershock)
  • Good listener
  • Open-minded 
  • Very empathetic 
  • Communicate assertively 
  • Self-aware

If you think about the qualities you associate with a good leader, what words come to mind? Things like integrity, positivity, empathy, and honesty are all at the forefront. Often, when hiring for leadership roles, naturally, there’s a focus on experience and hard skills. But, research reveals that emotional intelligence plays a huge role in leadership success.

People who possess strong EQ skills have a deeper connection with their own emotions as well as those around them. Leaders with high emotional intelligence create more motivated and connected teams. They are very effective leaders with the ability to inspire others, communicate efficiently, and build relationships.

When was the last time you could have snoozed off during a meeting? I’m guessing recently? Well, great leaders know how to form special bonds with their team. One way to boost morale is through outdoor team-building activities. I find that my team is genuinely interested, and ideas start to fly when we step outside the office. Without self-awareness, empathy, or open communication, you can’t inspire or lead the way you should.

Final Thoughts: How to Be a Good Leader

Surprisingly, emotional intelligence is a relatively new theory in the world of psychology. The idea became popular in 1995 in Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. That book and the research that followed in recent years found that emotional intelligence accounted for a whopping sixty-seven percent of the abilities needed for superior leadership.

The way we feel has a profound impact on our personal and professional lives. Our emotions guide us, so it’s important to recognize, understand, and manage them. Emotions can cause us to make split-second decisions with repercussions that can last a lifetime. It’s for all of these reasons that emotional intelligence is invaluable in leadership.

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