How Emotional Intelligence Can be the Leadership Differentiator

Technical skills and knowledge aren’t the only ingredients that help to deliver success. In a new report, Nubrick Partners explains how emotions, and the self-management of those emotions, matters in your work, and life, “from building trust with our families and teams to earning a fatter paycheck.”

November 1, 2022 – Intelligence is measured in many ways. Intelligence quotient (IQ) is often the first measurement that comes to mind. IQ and all of its measurements we encounter over the course of our lives can be primary markers of our success (or failure), according to a new report from Nubrick PartnersJoe Mazzenga.

The concept of emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient or EQ, has been around since 1995 when researcher Daniel Goleman introduced it to the world. The idea that “an ability to identify and manage emotions greatly increases our chances of success” quickly took off and has influenced the way people think about emotions and human behavior ever since.

“Being more emotionally intelligent is not the same as being more emotional,” said the Nurbick Partners report. “The core idea behind EQ is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and to identify, understand, and manage yourself, while building more effective relationships. As leaders and professionals, we are conditioned to focus on technical skills and knowledge and to shy away from the squishiness of feelings.”

According to Mr. Goleman, emotional intelligence in practical terms “means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively) and learning how to manage those emotions—both our own and others—especially when we are under pressure.” You may recognize that someone with a low EQ, but high IQ as very bright, but extremely difficult to work with.

Why Should You Care About Emotional Intelligence?

  • 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.
  • Emotional Intelligence is responsible for 58 percent of all job performance.
  • Additional income made by high EQ individuals over their counterparts: $29,000/year.

Your Most Important Discretionary Asset

Researchers have found that IQ alone does not explain our performance. “People with high levels of intelligence (IQ) outperform those with average IQ 20 percent of the time; people with average IQ outperform those with high IQs 70 percent of the time,” Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves said in their book EI 2.0.


Emotional awareness: “Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects,” said the Nurbick Partners report. “People with this competence know which emotions they are feeling and why and understand the links between their feelings, and what they think, do, and say.”

 Joe Mazzenga has a strong history as a consultant in building effective executive teams through leadership development and assessment, executive team performance, talent management, succession planning, and talent alignment amid organizational and cultural change. He has more than 30 years of experience in leadership development and strategy implementation, helping Fortune 500 clients optimize their talent. Mr. Mazzenga serves as an executive consultant and coach to board members, CEOs, physician chairs, and C-suite executives on matters pertaining to board relations, leadership development, talent management, and enterprise-wide change.

Accurate self-assessment: The report also notes that knowing one’s strengths and limits. People with this ability are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and are reflective—learning from experience. They are also open to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning, and self-development.

Related: How Relationship Intelligence Can Boost Business Development

Self-confidence: “Sureness about one’s self-worth and capabilities,” Nurbick Partners said. “People with this competence present themselves with self-assurance, have “presence” and can voice views that are unpopular. They can go out on a limb for what they believe is right.”

Social Awareness

This attribute is the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others, even when they differ from your own, according the Nubrick Partners report. It is facilitated by listening and noticing.


Self-control: The Nubrick Partners report explains that managing disruptive emotions and impulses. People with this competence manage their impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well. They stay composed, positive, and collected even in challenging moments.

Trustworthiness: “Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity,” Nubrick Partners said. “People with this competence act ethically and are above reproach. They build trust through their reliability and authenticity, admit their own mistakes, and confront unethical actions in others.”

Conscientiousness: Taking responsibility for personal performance. People with this competence meet commitments and keep promises. They hold themselves accountable for meeting their objectives, according to the Nubrick Partners report.

Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change. “People with this competence smoothly handle multiple demands, shifting priorities, and rapid change,” Nubrick Partners said. “They adapt their responses and tactics to fit fluid circumstances.”

Innovativeness: Being comfortable with and open to novel ideas and new information. People with this competence seek out fresh ideas from a wide variety of sources. They entertain original solutions to problems, generate new ideas, and take fresh perspectives and risks in their thinking.

Sometimes, It’s Not Easy

The book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith provides a list of behavioral tics that may to derail our best efforts. Take a look at the list and make a note of those you may exhibit.

  • Winning too much
  • Adding too much value
  • Passing judgment
  • Making destructive comments
  • Telling the world how smart we are
  • Speaking when angry

Related: Retaining Your Employees During the Great Resignation

  • Negativity
  • Withholding information
  • Failing to give proper recognition
  • Claiming credit we don’t deserve
  • Starting with no, but, or however
  • Making excuses
  • Clinging to the past
  • Playing favorites
  • Refusing to express regret
  • Failing to express gratitude
  • Punishing the messenger
  • Passing the buck
  • An excessive need to be me
  • Not listening

Reflection Questions

  • How aware are you of engaging in these behaviors?
  • Do you promote and encourage candid feedback to point out your behavior?
  • How could you improve your effectiveness in results or relationships by practicing self-management to handle some of the behavior above?

At the end of the day, emotional intelligence is important,” the Nubrick Partners report said. “It benefits us as individuals and as leaders in many ways—from building trust with our families and teams to earning a fatter paycheck, it obviously pays to improve your EQ. It’s also an excellent safeguard against self-absorption and drives us toward achieving our goals by building powerful relationships that help us gain allies, and those allies can come back to help us in ways we can’t begin to imagine.”

Related: Hiring Top Talent in Unprecedented Times

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt

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