The Magic of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Written by
Jenny Theolin
Published on
February 7, 2024

Unleash the Power of Emotions

asos' People Experience team


The magic of emotional intelligence in leadership cannot be overstated!
  • Attract top talent
  • Create a harmonious workplace
  • Achieve outstanding results

What is emotional intelligence?

In the dynamic world of leadership, one aspect of the role is becoming increasingly important — emotional intelligence. Also known as EQ, it's the magic sparkle that enables leaders to connect more deeply with colleagues, paving the way for more harmonious and thriving work environments.

In this post, we'll explore the enchanting world of EQ in leadership. We'll discuss its significance for today's workforce and the invaluable benefits it brings to the workplace. We'll also help you unleash your leadership EQ!

Emotional intelligence is the elixir that empowers leaders to forge profound connections with colleagues, bringing harmony to the workplace. EQ involves having empathetic understanding, self-awareness and exceptional communication. It allows leaders to navigate challenges, nurture inclusivity and inspire their teams to achieve remarkable results. EQ is a superpower! 💥

Here's 8 reasons to ignite your emotional intelligence at work:

1. Meet the expectations of the new generation workforce

Today's workforce, primarily comprising millennials and Gen Z, has distinct expectations of its leaders. It seeks more than just direction and guidance. The new generation wants leaders who can empathise and understand their needs to foster a supportive environment at work. If organisations want to attract, and retain, the best talent, they must recognise that EQ is not just a desirable trait, but a necessity in leadership.

3 ways to ignite your empathy:

  1. Listen to context: dive into the context of your team members' experiences — pay attention to the nuances and subtleties of their communication. This will enable you to grasp their emotions, and where they come from, more deeply.
  2. Cultivate curiosity: appreciate your colleagues' thoughts and input by asking open questions. Invite your team to share their experiences, strengths, weaknesses and aspirations without fear of judgement.
  3. Shift your perspective: create innovative exercises or scenarios that challenge your perspective. This will help you develop a greater understanding of the diverse viewpoints and emotions in your team.
Unleash Imagination workshop at Omnicom

2. Take responsibility and be attuned

As Forbes aptly puts it, leaders with EQ are "accountable and attuned." This means they take responsibility for their actions and decisions, while also being finely attuned to the emotions and needs of their team members. This heightened awareness allows them to lead with empathy and compassion, ensuring their team's well-being.

3 ways to become more attuned:

  1. Seek perspective: active listening and asking for input fosters trust and open dialogue. This will help you understand your team's emotions and concerns better, cultivating better collaboration.
  2. Provide consistent support: encouragement and empathy, during both successes and failures, nurtures emotional resilience in colleagues and creates a cohesive workforce.
  3. Lead by example: modeling transparent communication as a leader encourages team members to express thoughts and emotions openly. This improves understanding, trust and collaboration within teams.
A leadership team from Barclays collaborating on The Endless Wand exercise

3. Create inclusivity, collaboration and psychological safety

Leaders with high EQ understand that the empathetic approach goes hand-in-hand with inclusivity, collaboration and psychological safety at work. When people feel valued, understood and safe to express themselves, they thrive. It's in this environment that individuals can unleash their true potential and perform their best.

3 ways to foster inclusion:

  1. Promote transparency: encourage honest and open communication in the workplace to build trust and foster better collaboration among team members.
  2. Build an inclusive culture: cultivate a sense of acceptance and belonging to create an environment where every individual feels valued and empowered to contribute fully.
  3. Forge meaningful connections: facilitate opportunities for everyone in the team to build strong relationships and connections with one another, creating a collaborative and supportive work environment.
The launch of MURAL's 3-day virtual company retreat

4. Cultivate harmony in teamwork

Leaders with EQ prioritise the concept of working together in harmony. They know how to bridge differences and build strong, cohesive teams. Their ability to manage conflicts, build consensus and create a positive atmosphere in the workplace is a testament to the magic of EQ ✨

3 ways to practice conflict resolution:

  1. Master negotiation skills: learn to negotiate win-win solutions — resolving conflicts while preserving relationships and achieving common goals.
  2. Compromise: enhance the ability to compromise productively. Balance competing interests to foster teamwork, consensus and a harmonious work environment.
  3. Be more giraffe 🦒: foster a non-agressive communication style. Listen with empathy, and share your needs and feelings honestly. Work together with your team to find solutions that promote understanding through peaceful communication.
Workshop wth RDV Fotografie

5. Boost communication skills

Effective communication is at the heart of leadership and EQ takes it to the next level… Leaders with high emotional intelligence excel in listening, understanding non-verbal cues and delivering messages with empathy, and clarity. This superior communication fosters trust and open dialogue within the team.

3 ways to deepen communication:

  1. Respond thoughtfully: take time (90 seconds is the magic number) to respond, rather than react impulsively. Doing this leads to more constructive and meaningful conversations.
  2. Create a 2-way flow: establish open communication, both from leadership to the team and vice versa, to ensure a balanced exchange of ideas and feedback.
  3. Explore skills workshops: ask us about our Deepen Communication workshop to improve communication skills and strengthen your team's communication dynamics.
Magic Capes: a feedback ritual

6. Keep it together in turbulent times!

In the words of Future Talent Learning, "Someone needs to hold it together when the workplace erupts." Leaders with EQ are the ones who can maintain composure and provide a steady hand during challenging times. Their emotional resilience and ability to manage crises are indispensable qualities in leadership.

3 ways to build resilience:

  1. Develop your team: strengthen the relationships between colleagues through team-building activities to enhance support and resilience.
  2. Encourage help-seeking: create an environment where people feel comfortable asking for assistance. This helps to prevent the cauldron of conflict bubbling over!
  3. Explore resilience workshops: learn more about our Raising Resilience workshop and give your team the gift of resilience-building skills and strategies.
The People Experience Team from asos igniting their self-belief

7. Promote cross-cultural collaboration

In today's remote, nomadic and globalised work world, cross-cultural collaboration is increasingly prevalent. Leaders with EQ possess the cultural sensitivity and interpersonal skills necessary to bridge gaps, foster understanding and facilitate effective communication among diverse teams.

3 ways to facilitate cross-cultural collaboration:

  1. Identify biases: identify, recognise and address biases that exist within the team. Then use these discussions to promote inclusivity and understanding.
  2. Embrace different perspectives: encourage participation, diverse thinking and inclusive decision-making; this will drive innovation and foster collaboration across all backgrounds, and experiences.
  3. Design cultural rituals: organise multi-cultural lunches, with team members sharing their favourite dishes. This will promote camaraderie and understanding.
  4. Ask us about The Power of Perception: to achieve all of this! Yes, we snuck a 4th way to collaborate across cultures in there...
More asos-ers giving eachother feel-good feedback

8. Harness emotions and feelings

Emotional intelligence isn't just about understanding others, it's also about mastering your own emotions. As a team leader, how do you harness the power of your feelings to have a positive impact on your team and in your workplace? Share practical ways you manage your emotions for the benefit of your leadership journey and team dynamics.

3 ways to harness emotions:

  1. Reflect on your emotions regularly: boost your emotional awareness by taking time to observe your feelings. Done regularly, this promotes self-understanding and emotional intelligence.
  2. Be adaptable: develop your ability to adapt; learn to navigate change and unexpected situations effectively.
  3. Find an emotional outlet: find healthy outlets, like short breaks or walks, to manage difficult emotions and ensure better emotional well-being.
Participants from Walkie Talkie unleashing their magic

Learn more about EQ and leadership:


The magic of emotional intelligence in leadership cannot be overstated!

It's the key to:

  • Attracting top talent
  • Creating a harmonious workplace
  • Achieving outstanding results

By embracing and cultivating emotional intelligence, leaders can embark on a journey of personal and professional growth. And, ultimately, lead their teams to success in an ever-changing world.

Next up: the Wonder Mindset

Emotions and magic go together like peanut butter and jelly, Batman and Robin, macaroni and cheese

Magical experiences can evoke strong emotions, including awe and wonder. Conversely, emotions like passion and belief are harnessed to amplify the impact of magic. Abracademy's Wonder Mindset sits at the intersection of emotions and magic...

Wonder is a complex feeling, which includes emotions like awe, amazement and fascination in response to something extraordinary and often inexplicable! It often involves a mix of curiosity and feeling deeply engaged or captivated by the marvel of magic.

More on the Wonder Mindset coming soon...

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