Emotional Intelligence – Leading with a clear head and strong heart

Generally speaking, people don’t like to bring emotions into the workplace. Being emotional has long been perceived as a weakness, as is being overly sensitive. But here’s the thing. We all have emotions, and they impact us every day in our personal and business lives.

Our emotions influence our moods and energy levels and drive our behaviour and conversations, which means they ultimately impact the people around us as well. This means that if our emotions drive our behaviour and decision-making, they also impact our performance, productively and unproductively.

‘In a sense we have two brains, two minds and two different kinds of intelligence: rational and emotional.’ – Daniel Goleman

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, understand, express, reason with and manage emotions within ourselves and others. Applied to leadership, emotional intelligence is about how intelligent we are at using emotions to help drive the best decisions, behaviour and performance. High performance derives directly from the level of emotional intelligence.

In high-performing organisations, people feel significantly more engaged, cared for, valued and motivated. Research has proven that a leader’s emotional intelligence is key to their capacity to facilitate emotions in themselves and others. This drives high performance and employee engagement, and a high level of team-member engagement leads to agile teams that lead the future.

Leaders who want to impact the people around them and increase engagement need to flex their emotional intelligence muscle, manage their own emotions, tune into other people’s emotions and guide them with authenticity and empathy.


It all starts with creating self-awareness, how well we manage our own emotions and adapt our behaviour to what we call ‘productive behaviours’. But when leading others, we have to be able to understand another person’s point of view: their situation, behaviour and communication style. Their natural behaviour, just like ours, is also driven by emotions, especially when they’re under pressure. As leaders, we need the flexibility to adapt and lean in if we want to influence others. There’s no point being direct and demanding with someone if they’re confused and need more time to digest information.

‘Engaging is meeting their needs, not yours.’ – Tony Robbins

Powerful listening and applying empathy represent the tuning-in parts of social intelligence. This means taking the time to listen for the other person’s emotions and energy, ask open questions, and create space for them to reflect. Being a strong communicator — giving feedback, communicating a tough message, motivating, guiding, mentoring or offering solutions— becomes much easier when we are emotionally and socially intelligent.

The problem is that many leaders are quick to dive right into communication, without thinking too much about what’s going on for the other person. Leaders can be advice-giving maniacs, and we often want to come up with solutions and share our opinions right away. Applying emotional intelligence can help to uncover emotions and fears that may be holding someone back from being engaged and can give you the right levers to empower the people you lead.

DISC Flow and Emotional Intelligence

By combining behaviour and emotional intelligence, we have created a tool that is designed to help people have greater awareness of themselves and others, and crucially, make deliberate choices when interacting to improve communication and create stronger, more engaged and more productive relationships. And the great thing about applying the DISC Flow® model is that while some people have high levels of emotional intelligence as a natural talent, for those that don’t, these skills can be learned and continually improved.

The DISC Flow Report gives you a benchmark of your level of emotional intelligence for both self-awareness and awareness of others through the self-assessment. It also provides personal development tips tailored to you.

Are you ready to lead with head and heart? Download our e-book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ here.
If you want to bring the power of DISC Flow into your organisation or coaching practice, our upcoming certification dates are listed below.  Places are limited, so enrol now to join us.