As a leader, it’s not enough to be intelligent. You also have to be emotionally intelligent.

I’ve interviewed hundreds of the world’s top CEOs, and they constantly mention empathy and self-awareness as essential skills for future leaders.

So much of our work and communication today is done through technology. But people are still at the heart of everything we do. Understanding emotions and building human connections will always be necessary for leaders. In fact, with technology everywhere, emotional intelligence becomes even more important.

Empathy and self-awareness are just part of the emotional intelligence puzzle.

Daniel Goleman is one of the world’s leading experts on emotional intelligence. He says emotional intelligence has five components:


The ability to recognize and understand your moods and emotions and how they affect others.


The ability to control impulses and moods and think before acting.

Internal (or intrinsic) motivation

Being driven to pursue goals for personal reasons instead of some kind of reward. The opposite of this is external motivation.


The ability to recognize and understand others’ motivations, which is essential for successfully building and leading teams.

Social skills

The ability to manage relationships and build networks.

The best leaders are continually developing all five areas. Intelligence is critical, but emotional intelligence is what sets great leaders apart.

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