9 Questions Leaders With Emotional Intelligence Aren’t Afraid to Ask

Guest Post by Marcel Schwantes

Originally posted on LinkedIn

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been a hot topic for decades. It also has been debated since the mid-1990s over its effectiveness as an evidence-based leadership model, or as a predictor of job success.

I concur with many experts that in career areas such as medicine, accounting, engineering, and other highly-technical professions, IQ still remains the best predictor of job success.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Once you land a job in your field of expertise and start thinking about increasing your role, getting promoted, leading others, and navigating political landscapes, your IQ will be begging for your EQ to show up.

Let’s face it: everyone you are competing with in your chosen field probably is as smart as you. To gain an edge as a leader, consider the research: Emotional intelligence does its best work to get you promoted to the next level when the stakes are higher.

Back in my corporate days, I recall interacting with brilliant and creative thinkers and high-IQ “rock stars” within the management ranks. They were movers and shakers. Yet what these high-powered people lacked that kept them from advancing, or having a bigger impact on people, were crucial EQ competencies like self-awareness, empathy, and nurturing relationships. As a result, morale suffered and turnover was consistently high.

If you’re a business leader or founder or aspiring to each, how’s your emotional intelligence? You’re going to need it.

9 Questions You Need To Ask

Daniel Goleman, the foremost authority on emotional intelligence, has put together these self-reflection questions to help you evaluate your own emotional intelligence, and get you thinking about your strengths and limitations in EQ. To get a better understanding of where you measure up against the high bar of emotional intelligence, take these for a spin with an honest “yes” or “no.”

  1. Are you usually aware of your feelings and why you feel that way?
  2. Are you aware of your limitations, as well as your personal strengths, as a leader?
  3. Can you manage your distressing emotions well — e.g., recover quickly when you get upset or stressed?
  4. Can you adapt smoothly to changing realities?
  5. Do you keep your focus on your main goals, and know the steps it takes to get there?
  6. Can you usually sense the feelings of the people you interact with and understand their way of seeing things?
  7. Do you have a knack for persuasion and using your influence effectively?
  8. Can you guide a negotiation to a satisfactory agreement, and help settle conflicts?
  9. Do you work well in a team setting?

As you think about improving your leadership, which of these questions can you confidently answer with a resounding “yes”? And which do you feel are a work in progress or an area for growth? Leave me a comment and let’s discuss.

Marcel Schwantes


Marcel Schwantes is a Global Keynote Speaker, executive coach, podcaster, and syndicated columnist drawing over a million readers per month worldwide to his thought-leadership. His powerful speeches teach the conditions necessary for creating caring human-centered workplaces that result in high-performing cultures. He is the host of the popular Love in Action podcast. Visit MarcelSchwantes.com or follow him on LinkedIn.


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