What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that help us act intelligently with our emotions, enhancing our decisions, behaviour and performance.

Considering our own feelings:

How we feel affects the decisions we make, our behaviour and then in turn this affects our performance in both home and work situations.

If we are feeling pleasant and happy feelings then we should try and build on these.  IF we are pleasant and happy it reflects on our teams.

Pleasant emotions make us or our employees:

  • More likely to engage
  • Care more about the work we do and the decisions we make
  • Keeps us informed
  • Approachable for our team members/employees
  • More likely to engage
  • more likely to care
  • feel valued
  • innovative and empowered

As much as pleasant feelings can help us, unpleasant feelings can have the opposite affect.


Unpleasant emotions make us:

  • feel uncertain
  • feel stressed or worried
  • feel fearful
  • reaction in a more aggressive/assertive way than we may otherwise have done
  • be more problem focused

What are the competencies for leadership?

  • Self Awareness
  • Awareness of others
  • Authenticity
  • Emotional Reasoning
  • Self Management
  • Insuring Performance

Behaviours we would like to enhance under each of these competencies:

  • Self Awareness: Understand the impact their behaviour has on others
  • Empathetic leader – notice when someone needs support and responds effectively
  • Authenticity – are open about their thoughts feelings and options
  • Expansive Leader – makes ethical decisions
  • Resilient Leaders – manages their emotions effectively in difficult situations
  • Empowering Leaders – Helping team members understand their purpose and contribution to the organisation









1.Be consistent  what you say and do.




2. Be open, where appropriate, share how you are thinking and feeling and invite others to do so.




3. Clearly define priorities, expectations, responsibilities and timeframes.





4. Regularly communicate through dialogue on progress and milestones.

Autonomy leadership behaviours:

  1. Give people appropriate time and space to do their work.
  2. Give people appropriate choice and control over their work.
  3. Involve others in decisions that affect their work.
  4. Identify ways to facilitate empowerment (space to give feedback, to work from strengths, voice opinions).

Remember: Failure to plan is planning to fail.

Relationships leadership behaviours:

  1. Be as present and visible as possible
  2. Use an appropriate tone of voice, facial expression and body language to achieve the impact or desired outcome you are aiming for
  3. Use shared purpose, humour and vulnerability to connect
  4. Use open questions, and effective listening, to better understand how individuals are thinking and feeling

Equity Leadership Behaviours:

What is equity: unequal access to opportunities.  Need to ensure you evenly distribute tools and resources and address inequality.

  • Consider where inequity may exist and take actions where possible. 
  • Communicate your thought process behind maing one choice over another. 
  • Act with transparency and explain the rationale behind decisions. 
  • Consider issues from multiple perspectives.

Disc work

This area shows how we work as individuals and how members of our team operate.  There are pleasant feelings and behaviours and unpleasant feelings and behaviours.


Disc emphasizes that people move from one behaviour or leadership style to another depending on what is happening in their life or issues/pressures around them.  Being aware of this and being able to adapt is the sign of a strong leader who is aware of their behaviour and the impact of it on those around them.

Pic 1: Disc diagram of triggers of pleasant feelings.
Pic 2: Disc disgram of default behavioural outcomes

Difference between empathy and sympathy

Empathy is shown in how much compassion and understanding we can give to another. 

Sympathy is more of a feeling of pity for another. Empathy is our ability to understand how someone feels while sympathy is our relief in not having the same problems.

Remember phrases to avoid using with empathy.  Don’t try and fix the problems just be there:

  • “Well at least…”
  • “Look on the bright side…”
  • “Of course, the lesson in all this is…”
  • “You must be anxious about this, are you anxious?”