The Secret to Business Success … Leading with Emotional Intelligence

August 17, 2020

Book Review by Kristen Cudd

Outstanding leaders and performers have a highly developed emotional intelligence. The possession of this skillset is a better predictor of success than any other. Gaining a deeper understanding of “how and why your emotions influence your behavior” enables you to make better decisions and become aware of game-changing opportunities for your organization. In Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader, author, entrepreneur, and coach Christopher D. Connors teaches readers how to develop their emotional intelligence and apply it to transform “the way you lead and the way you see yourself.”

The Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to a person’s ability to “recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.” There are four pillars of emotional intelligence. Understanding those components serves as the foundation for becoming an emotionally intelligent leader.

Self-awareness is “the art of understanding ourselves and using that knowledge to grow, learn, and improve.” Heightened self-awareness increases our self-confidence, allowing us to see our full potential and truly believe that we can reach it. It is genuinely difficult to become in tune with your inner emotional world and recognize clearly how that emotional landscape impacts your performance. Leaders who lack self-awareness cannot “perceive or recognize the faults of their actions or inactions.” Leaders should develop their self-awareness through regular reflection, meditation, and the solicitation of feedback from trusted sources.

Self-management points to your ability to follow through with commitments, manage your time effectively, and adapt to “the range of positive and negative emotions” you encounter throughout the day in a healthy way. Connors recommends taking regular “temperature checks” to assess your emotional state. Time management is “the key to success for the savvy leader.” Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to combine the emotional and organizational components that breed daily success.

Motivation is the “fire that burns bright inside you.” Emotionally intelligent leaders find a way to connect that inner flame to their work, resulting in a daily life that is thrilling and exhilarating. Leaders with motivation are eager to problem solve, win new business, help their employees succeed, and provide unmatched service to their customers. Leaders need to listen to their intuition, tap into their spirit, and engage in activities that are linked to those motivating factors.

Empathy is “the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.” Leaders who are able to focus on others, listen deeply, and demonstrate that they truly care and connect have deeper relationships and more successful collaborations with those they lead. “Admiration and respect for the people we lead matter tremendously.”

Becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Leader

Those in the early stages of a leadership role need to do some foundational work in the areas of “goal-setting, personal development, and reflection.” Connors asserts that anyone has the capacity to increase their emotional intelligence. The starting point is self-awareness. By pointing the focus inward, a rising leader will vastly improve upon their ability to support others. Connors recommends taking time daily for active reflection in a journal and for planning how to manage time. He presents readers with a Weekly Scorecard with which to assess their performance in particular activities tied to the four pillars of emotional intelligence.

Connor’s book helps burgeoning leaders understand the critical importance that emotional intelligence plays in leading others. The text is highly organized and brimming with assessments, thought exercises, and practical tips that can be referenced time and again. Although the book does include sections on sustaining self awareness in leaders with more experience, it is really best suited to those just starting out.

Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader is an excellent primer for any new leader that wishes to grow their skills from a firm foundation.


Kristen Cudd

Kristen Cudd is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. She spent seven years in publishing working with business book authors. She loves sharing her viewpoint as a contributing writer for various publications across multiple niches. Her other reviews can be found here.


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