dr carl robinson
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The Currency of Success - Interpersonal Intelligence™

Using Emotional Intelligence Effectively

You will undoubtedly have used the term emotional intelligence. We usually use it in relation to what we expect from our employees. But what does it mean for you as a CEO or senior executive? 

Having emotional intelligence doesn’t mean being an emotional person. Rather it involves identifying and harnessing your own emotions, as well as helping others do the same. It’s a skill that, when developed, has the power to build trust, increase productivity, and create a standard of leadership to which others will aspire.

So many leaders feel the need to hide their vulnerabilities, thinking that allowing others to see their emotional side will make them appear weak and incapable of being the ‘right’ type of leader. As it turns out, just the opposite is true. 

Increasing your emotional intelligence occurs through focusing on three factors:

  • Care for Others
  • Sensitivity
  • Accountability

Care for Others

The number one thing employees desire is a sense of purpose.

Inc. Magazine

While a paycheck and benefits are good, employees want to feel important. They want to know their work matters and has a tie to the company’s overall direction and success. And they want to be seen as more than just a number.

Can you answer the following questions?

  • Do you know your key employees career goals?
  • What do they individually want from their work experience?
  • What do they do to help your company grow… enough that you can specifically compliment them for their contribution?
  • Do you know anything about their non-work interests?

Upper management often toils under the misconception that creating a schism between upper and lower employee tiers is the most effective way to keep authority and order to achieve results. However, employees are more productive when they feel understood, can identify with the end goal, and have the recognition they need to stay motivated.


Do not mistake sensitivity for vulnerability. They are not one in the same. With respect to your employees, being sensitive simply means avoiding a focus that is so narrow, it keeps you from seeing the human side of your business. 

Practice empathy; don’t be quick to jump to conclusions. People get sick, they have emergencies, they have bad days. Try to see things from your employee’s perspective just as you would from your customer’s. Don’t be so concentrated on the bottom-line, you forget that it’s real people helping drive it.


No one is perfect. Your employees know that falling short of expectations subjects them to review and consequences. 

More importantly though, they also know that you’re not perfect. If you attempt to hide your mistakes and imperfections, then your team’s engagement drops. Buy-in will decline because no one believes you are perfect, and employees would much rather follow someone with whom they can identify and respect than someone they cannot.

Instead of covering mistakes or errors in judgement, acknowledge the failing and discuss it. Open up the opportunity to work together as a team to address the issue, creating a learning opportunity and lesson. 

Successful leaders allow their colleagues to manage them. This doesn’t mean they are allowing others to control them – but rather becoming accountable to assure they are being proactive to their colleagues needs. Beyond just mentoring and sponsoring selected employees, being accountable to others is a sign that your leader is focused more on your success than just their ownForbes

The bottom-line

Leaders who use their emotional intelligence to identify, assess, and guide their own emotions and those of others, positively impact their company by making smarter decisions about what to keep personal and what to share.