Emotional Intelligence: A Game Changer in Leadership

Imagine if emotional intelligence (EI) could be the game-changer in conversations, even more so than cognitive intelligence. Does EI help us make better decisions and form genuine connections with others? In this blog, we’ll explore Robin Hills‘ expertise in this area. Robin heads EI4Change, where he’s taught over 400,000 individuals across nearly 200 countries and authored two successful books on the topic.


Woman smiling at her workmates with her hands on her chest - Emotional Intelligence


Why should leaders care about EI?

Emotional intelligence, as Robin defines it, involves the integration of one’s thoughts and feelings to facilitate sound decision-making and foster genuine connections. Relationships change, people change, and circumstances change and that will affect how you feel about them. 

Good leaders understand their role in creating a positive emotional atmosphere at work. Some leaders aim to keep the team happy, but in reality, employees seek fulfillment and engagement in their work. During times of stress or pressure, employees look to their leaders for guidance. When leaders are anxious or angry, it affects how employees feel and perform. But when leaders create a supportive and positive environment, it helps employees thrive.


Leaders With High EI Rise to the Top

EI holds immense significance, especially in roles involving interaction and leadership. Leaders who possess it or are actively developing it will likely thrive in the evolving landscape. An emotionally intelligent leader acknowledges challenges openly, displaying vulnerability and honesty. They seek support from their team, fostering collaboration and support for each other. During a mishap, an emotionally unintelligent leader tends to blame others for project mishaps and may resort to shouting, creating a stressful work environment where employees struggle to perform optimally. On the other hand, an emotionally intelligent leader will look into market conditions, employee issues, or external factors like illness or holidays, to identify and address the underlying reasons.


Have You Read: Daniel Goleman’s Books On EI


EI is a Work in Progress 

EI is a journey of growth that evolves with age and experience. When working with leaders, Robin’s approach focuses on fostering self-awareness as a foundational step. He encourages them to reflect and leverage various psychometric tools to gain insights into their strengths and areas for improvement. 

Robin’s strategy revolves around identifying and amplifying a leader’s strengths. He highlights their areas of proficiency and excellence, urging them to leverage these strengths to shine. For their weaknesses, he advises them to delegate tasks where they may lack proficiency, empowering others within their team to contribute. Robin sees this as a way to motivate leaders to focus on the areas that fuel their passion and energy so that they excel in their roles. This strategy helps mitigate shortcomings along the way.


Helping Leaders Develop EI with Coaching Skills 

In leadership, it’s important to recognize that people see and understand things differently. There’s no one right way or wrong way to view things—it’s all about perspective. As a leader, it’s crucial to acknowledge these different viewpoints and show interest in what others have to say. Embracing differing perspectives presents an opportunity for growth and being receptive to new ideas signals a willingness to evolve and excel. 

Effective leadership entails not just asking questions but actively listening and comprehending others’ viewpoints. Part of a leader’s role is recognizing variances in how team members deal with their emotions. This may involve coaching them, broadening their perspectives, and identifying what works best for them based on their needs.

However, there are times when firmness is necessary, and implementing clear guidelines and boundaries becomes crucial. If a team member’s actions are negatively affecting the group, an emotionally intelligent leader knows when to intervene to protect the team. Good leadership means being flexible but also knowing when to stand firm for the good of everyone involved.


There’s a myth that goes around about emotional intelligence that it’s all about being kind and nice, and it’s not. It’s about recognizing the emotions within the team, within the organization. It’s allowing those emotions to surface and it’s dealing with them. It’s dealing with them in an appropriate way. -Robin Hills


Let’s Use Our Emotions More Constructively

Feedback is crucial, even if it’s hard to hear. It’s important to engage in self-reflection: what went well, what didn’t, and what common themes emerge from people’s comments? Not everyone will be pleased with everything you do, and that’s okay. However, if you keep receiving the same feedback repeatedly, it’s time to take action. Constructive criticism can lead to improvement, but it’s essential to approach it with kindness and acceptance. Learning from mistakes is part of growth, but dwelling on them won’t change the past. Instead, focus on the future and strive to deliver better outcomes.


Let’s get away from the idea of emotions being positive and negative… They are reactions, physiological and psychological, to the environments around us. Now, our emotions are not positive or negative. It’s the behaviour, it’s the response from the emotion that should have the label positive or negative. – Robin Hills


Emotional Intelligence Is A Game Changer in Leadership

EI is a key factor in confident leadership, as it cultivates self-awareness, empathy, and effective interpersonal skills. Through self-reflection and understanding their emotions, leaders can make better decisions and connect more deeply with others. This self-awareness is essential for confident leadership, allowing leaders to lift others and help them reach their full potential.

For those interested in delving deeper into this topic, resources like EI Matters might help you out. Additionally, becoming certified in assessments such as the EQI 2.0 can provide leaders with detailed insights and guide them in developing action plans for improvement.

You can listen to the full Emotional Intelligence: A Game Changer in Leadership with Robin Hills episode here.

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