Seven things leaders with emotional intelligence never do.

High EQ leaders don’t lose their cool. They don’t swallow emotions. Learn about the behaviors to avoid as you build emotional intelligence.

Leaders with high EQ do not:

1. Lose their cool: They won’t lose their temper and lash out at their team during meetings. They won’t send an impulsive email that they have to apologize for the next day. They think before they act, and they know how to calm themselves down in stressful or anxious situations. Some even harness the upside of stress.

2. Swallow their emotions: Keeping your cool doesn’t mean you’re an emotionless robot. Highly EQ leaders do experience stress, frustration, disappointment and other negative emotions. The difference is they can recognize these feelings as they are happening, and they can express them appropriately and constructively in the workplace. 

3. Let failure get them down: “Fail fast” is an IT mantra, but leaders with higher EQ are especially good at looking at the bright side of bad news and learning from mistakes or disappointments. That’s because they are intrinsically motivated by their work. It fuels their curiosity and connects them to a higher purpose. They stay motivated because they have their eye on the long-term prize, not the quick win. Not all experiments succeed, and experiments are valuable: See our related article,  Why agile leaders must move beyond talking about “failure.” 

4. Hire on tech skills alone: Highly emotionally intelligent people are easily able to look past the resume to “suss” out the soft skills and emotional qualities that will make a candidate a good fit for their company’s culture. That’s because they are adept at reading people on an emotional level. Bottom line: if your high EQ colleague says they don’t have a “good gut feeling” about someone you are interviewing, you should take note.

5. Say yes to everything: Being emotionally intelligent doesn’t mean you are a people pleaser or a yes-man/woman. High EQ leaders won’t say yes to everything because they deeply understand their own strengths and weaknesses. They are confident in their abilities, but they also own up to the areas where they need help – and they aren’t afraid to ask for it. They also hold their ground in debates. If they don’t agree with you, they’ll tell you. That’s what makes high EQ leaders extremely trustworthy.

6. Interrupt: Have a colleague who is constantly talking over people on conference calls? It’s a sign that they need to work on their empathy skills. High EQ leaders give you their full, undivided attention, listening to your viewpoints, and seeking to understand your perspective.

7. Avoid conflicts: Confrontations with peers can often be tough, but high EQ people don’t shy away from difficult conversations. Emotionally intelligent leaders use conflicts as opportunities to build deeper trust, find common ground, and strengthen their working relationships with others.

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