Team members are more motivated, more willing to work hard, and more loyal to leaders that they feel connected to, inspired by, and appreciated by. To be that kind of leader requires you to be connected to your own emotions and to leverage your own self-awareness, thereby building stronger relationships with others. And building stronger relationships is the core of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is that aspect of self-awareness that allows you to identify your emotions and emotional triggers and to understand their influence on your behavior and decision-making.

In Daniel Goleman’s book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, he defines EI as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” Strengthening emotional intelligence creates better leaders who build stronger relationships, make better decisions, and have the ability to motivate others. Leaders with high EI are:

  • Optimistic and visionary
  • Self-aware and disciplined
  • Assertive and decisive
  • Curious
  • Confident
  • Empathetic

But emotional intelligence alone is not enough. Developing and strengthening emotional intelligence requires mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of active, conscious focus on the moment; it improves our ability to have big ideas.

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“Where we have strong emotions, we’re liable to fool ourselves.” – Carl Sagan

Strengthen emotional intelligence by using mindfulness to practice these four steps:

  1. Develop awareness.

People with high EI are acutely aware of their own emotions and how they are being impacted by their emotions. Start by being more mindful of your emotions and work to more specifically identify what you’re feeling instead of generalizing in broad emotional terms.

  1. Pause.

When your emotions are getting the best of you, pause. Take a breath. Walk away. Do anything but react or make a decision when you’re not clearheaded enough to do it.

  1. Develop soft skills.

Listen more carefully. Speak with kindness. Use empathy. Communicate with others more effectively.

  1. Walk the talk.

Be a better leader by setting the right example. Instead of seeking glory, seek to help others. Inspire, manage conflict, and motivate through enthusiasm and positivity.

When you employ and practice mindfulness, you are immediately more capable of recognizing emotions, emotional triggers, and emotional responses, so that you can improve your emotional intelligence. The competencies go hand in hand. Take.Action.Now.


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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