EQ an absolute necessity for leadership

Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to recognise and manage our feelings, to empathise and to interact skilfully.

12 February 2020 | Business

EQ is all about understanding oneself and then deal with others and situations.

Lisa Matomola - Is emotional intelligence being nice to people or being polite? The question is: Could emotional intelligence be a factor as to why ‘people leave people’?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to our ability to recognise and manage our feelings, to empathise and to interact skilfully. People with strong EQs connect to their own experience and have a genuine interest in helping others.


Anyone can go to university and study for a degree; anyone can become whatever it is that they really want.

However, developing emotional intelligence is something that requires a personal commitment, acceptance and dedication. It is does not only focus on one area.

EQ has five components - self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Each of these components is important for an individual to develop their EQ fully.

Daniel Goleman in his Harvard Business Review article, titled “What is a leader”, talks about how technical skills are an entry level requirement to executive positions. However, emotional intelligence is the sine qua non for leadership.

It basically means for as much as one has all the job requirements for the position, this just gets the incumbent into the role. However, emotional intelligence is a crucial competence every leader needs to possess.

The value and benefits of emotional intelligence are vast in terms of personal and professional success. It is a core competency in many vocations, can support the advancement towards academic and professional success, improve relationships, and boost communication skills - the list goes on and on.


Have you ever worked for a leader who seems to have everything under control or looks composed even when things are not going well? Ever wondered why some people remain calm in situations that require screaming and shouting and maybe a few papers flying?

EQ is all about understanding oneself and then deal with others and situations.

The ability to be aware of one’s emotions and manage them will help in terms of how an individual treats others and how they resonate with others. It is through EQ that a leader’s empathy is revealed.

Empathetic leaders can easily appreciate the diversity of perspectives, be more tolerant and have more harmonious interactions with their people. EQ helps people to communicate effectively.

If you aspire to be a great leader, you have to aspire to develop your EQ.

EQ can be developed

Unlike IQ that people are born with, EQ can be developed.

It does take time to develop EQ. It takes a lot of courage for one to accept the shortfalls and the need to grow in certain aspects.

Many of us have taken an EQ test before, however, improving EQ always seems to be a challenge. If you for instance struggle with managing your emotions, you can always get a coach to assist you on how to deal with situations or come up with ways you can process and react in different situations, e.g., keeping a journal.

Personal experience

I conduct training on emotional intelligence, but I also have my own shortcomings to EQ.

The benefit is the more one is open to feedback and willing to work on the areas that need development, the more you are open to change, and EQ improves every day.

Always take time to reflect - especially on situations. Working with different people makes EQ even more important than any qualification in the world.

In conclusion, if you want to be a better leader, you need to make EQ a priority for your personal development and overall team success.

If you are amongst the few with a well-developed EQ, use your skill and experiences to coach others and help them develop as well.

Lisa Matomola is a manager in the P&O team at PwC Namibia who conducts training on soft skills, mostly professional behaviour and workplace ethics, cognitive empathy (emotional intelligence), customer care, presentation skills and supervisory training.

Contact her at [email protected]

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