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When you think of who you should emulate to become a successful leader, Yoda likely isn’t the first thing to pop into your mind.

But the little green Jedi Master is an expert in one of the most important skills for leaders: emotional intelligence.

Leaders can’t just be book smart, they have to be people smart. They have to know how to be vulnerable and empathetic, connect with the people around them, and build real relationships.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman was one of the first people to propose that emotional intelligence (EQ) matters more than a person’s intelligence (IQ). In his book Emotional Intelligence, he breaks emotional intelligence into five components:


This is the ability to recognize and understand your moods and emotions and how they affect others.


This involves being able to control your impulses and moods and to think before acting.

Internal (or intrinsic) motivation

As the opposite of external motivation, this means being driven to pursue goals for personal reasons, rather than for some kind of reward.


Essential for building and leading teams, empathy is the ability to recognize and understand others’ motivations and to put yourself in their shoes.

Social skills

This is the ability to manage relationships, build networks, and connect with people.

Emotional intelligence is powerful. Like Yoda, leaders who can develop these skills can find great success and chart the future.

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