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Date posted: 05th September 2022

05th September 2022

7 Reasons Why Emotionally Intelligent Leaders are Vital to Future Success

7 Reasons Why Emotionally Intelligent Leaders are Vital to Future Success

The word ‘emotional’ has historically evoked negative connotations in the corporate world.

But in a new study by Verizon, 69% of 1,700 respondents said they believe emotional intelligence to be a vital pre-requisite for future leaders. This represents an increase of almost 50% since the same question was asked pre-pandemic.

So what do emotionally intelligent leaders offer their organizations that is lacking from the stereotypical, apathetic model of management?

In this article, Author’s Sunny Bonnell & Ashleigh Hansberger offer 7 reasons why emotionally intelligent leaders will be vital to ongoing organizational success.

From the article for fastcompany.com:


Since March of 2020, employees of most companies, large and small, have had to manage working from home, often in tiny spaces, often with children running around. They’ve had their private space invaded, learned how to manage Zoom, been unable to see friends and loved ones, and lived in fear.

In other words, it’s been a frightening, stressful time for millions. They’ve gained weight, changed their sleep habits, been afflicted with increased levels of depression and anxiety, and had their home lives turned upside down. They deserve leaders who understand and empathize with what they’ve endured. If they can’t find them, they’ll use the reopening of economies to go elsewhere.


See above. For the members of the general public, the COVID-19 experience was no less harrowing than it was for corporate employees. Many had been laid off. Children had to attend school on screens and miss out on some of the most important developmental years of their lives.

We won’t belabor the point. We’ve all come to expect everyone to be a little more patient, forgiving, and kind as we sift through the rubble and try to reengage: banks, lenders, airlines, schools, governments, even the Internal Revenue Service. Companies that fail to respect this new normal will alienate customers and market share. On the other hand, those with leaders who can connect with customers will earn unprecedented levels of loyalty, even love.


In the past, CEOs and other senior executives were as distant as the faces on Mount Rushmore; people who provoked envy, fear, and awe, carefully coiffed brands in Tom Ford suits. It was easy for those people to pretend they didn’t have feelings, or any other human weakness.

No one is buying the act anymore. We’ve seen your home office and your deck on Zoom, and while they’re swank, we’ve also seen you in your workout shorts and your morning stubble. We’ve seen your sink piled with dishes, heard your teenager swearing at Instagram, and watched your cat step in front of the screen and stamp its paws all over your T-shirt. You’re no longer the Wizard of Oz; there is no curtain.

The good news is, you can drop the façade now. We know you’re as bumbling, disorganized, and awkward as the rest of us—and you know what? We actually like you more because of it. So, you can also quit pretending you didn’t bawl like a baby at the end of The Good Place . . . because you know you did.


We are not saying that women are naturally more emotional than men. We are saying that women tend to show their emotions in the workplace more than men, and in this post-COVID-19 world, women executives are on the climb. According to CNBC, in the first quarter of 2021, 41 women led Fortune 500 companies. That 8.2% might seem paltry, but in 2018 there were just 24 women at the top spot—a 71% increase in three years.

More women at the helm of more companies suggests a lot of potential downstream effects, and we’re betting one of them is that in female-led organizations, more employees will feel safer expressing their emotions, for better or worse. As a result, corporate cultures will change. Brands will evolve and differentiate themselves from their competition by how warm, welcoming, authentic, and empathetic they are.


Black Lives Matter. Climate change. Childhood poverty. Roe v. Wade. The immigration crisis. Whatever your politics, you can’t deny that more and more people are getting involved in solving the great problems of our time. They’re informed. They’re passionate. They care deeply about social justice, equity, and fairness—and they expect the companies and brands they patronize to care about the same things.

That’s difficult to pull off if your organization’s default position is “profit before people.” You can’t fake compassion. Consumers are more sophisticated than ever, and they despise hypocrisy. What’s more, so do your employees. If you’re going to claim to care about solving systemic racism or ending the opioid crisis, you’d better genuinely care about those causes, deep down in your gut—because you’ll find that everyone admires companies and leaders who sacrifice profit for what’s right, and lead with their heart.


Before social media, if someone in the C-suite said or did something stupid or sexist, your PR firm could spin the story with the local press and the networks and prevent a lot of the damage. Well, those days are over. Now, let’s say you’re a U.S. airline whose name rhymes with “excited,” and you just happen to have security drag a passenger kicking and screaming down the aisle for no reason. Before you can say, “PR crisis,” you have a PR crisis that kicks your share price in the teeth and sparks boycott hashtags on Twitter.

In a transparent, instant-news, no-filter world, the only smart move for any organization is to be one of the good guys (either that or be too big to care—but there’s only one Amazon, right?). Again, you can’t fake that. Corporate social responsibility programs designed to burnish your brand in the press won’t fool the Facebook and Instagram warriors. Better to drop the stoicism, be honest and direct, talk about what motivates you and your executive team, and find human connection with your market.

Have aging parents showing signs of dementia? So do some of your customers, and they want to know that you get their pain. Did you cry when you hugged your parents when vaccinations made it possible to see them after a year apart? So did millions of us, and we want to bond with you over that experience. Vulnerability is okay.


Two economic meltdowns in 12 years? Millennials and Gen-Zers are furious, and we don’t blame them. They’re a lot less likely to trust any employer now, and a lot more likely to rely on freelance, side hustles, and the gig economy to make ends meet. That means retaining talented people will be the Ali-Foreman heavyweight fight of the next decade. Guess what connects with these workers? True, unguarded, authentic feeling. Caring about people. Caring about causes. Caring about the planet. Just caring, full stop. Build a high-EQ leader class with intuition and soul, and you stand a better chance of holding onto game-changing talent.

You’re leading people. People want and need to feel that you hear them, understand them, and see them as part of your culture, your band of sisters and brothers.

Read the full article, here.

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