I have written extensively on both leadership and emotional intelligence (EQ).  I previously observed the similarities in these skills sets. So I was particularly interested to see two leading authorities – the Center for Creative Leadership and Harvard Business Review – publish articles on these topics where the similarities in their findings are striking.

The importance of emotional intelligence (EQ)

From various books (including “Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves”) it was shown that:

  • Only 35% of people tested are able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen
  • Tested alongside 33 other important skills EQ subsumes the majority of them including time management, decision-making and communication
  • EQ accounts for 58% of performance in all types of job and is the single biggest predictor in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence
  • 90% of the high performers are also high in EQ – people with high EQs make more money
  • Self-management skills appear to increase steadily with age
  • Whilst women and men are roughly equal in their ability to recognise their own emotions, men have recently caught up in their ability to manage their emotions and the other skills – so the gender gap is closing
  • Middle managers have the highest EQ scores in the workforce, with CEOs – on average – with the lowest. Yet it has been found that EQ skills are more important to job performance than any other leadership skill

I explore other aspects on emotional intelligence in my books “Better Business Relationships”  and “Essential soft skills for lawyers”.

Center for Creative Leadership

Research reported in a December 2020 article by the Center for Creative Leadership identified 10 essential leadership traits or characteristics

  1. Integrity
  2. Ability to delegate (see my article on delegation for leaders)
  3. Communication (this is one of six modules in my model for better business relationships)
  4. Self-awareness (a core component of emotional intelligence)
  5. Gratitude
  6. Learning agility 
  7. Influence
  8. Empathy
  9. Courage
  10. Respect

 12 domains of emotional intelligence

I was struck by how similar this list was to the 12 domains of emotional intelligence reported in an article by Daniel Goleman and Richard E Boyatzis (Harvard Business Review  in 2017): 


  1. Emotional self-awareness (empathy, self awareness and other aspects of emotional intelligence are summarised in this short video) 


  1. Emotional self-control (see my article on emotional regulation)
  2. Adaptability (this is one of the six modules in my book on better business relationships  and includes learnability, curiosity and the ability to unlearn)
  3. Achievement orientation
  4. Positive outlook

 Social awareness 

  1. Empathy
  2. Organizational awareness (this was touched on in material on political astuteness in this article on inter-cultural working)

 Relationship Management

  1. Influence (please look at a short video introducing Cialdini’s six principles  or a book review on persuasion by James Borg)
  2. Coach and mentor (there are many articles on coaching – this short video introduces some core coaching models and Richard E Boyatzis also co-wrote an excellent book on executive coaching called “Helping people change” which I reviewed in 2019 )
  3. Conflict management (again, there are numerous articles on this – see, for example: seven top tips for conflict management)
  4. Teamwork
  5. Inspirational leadership

Comparing the two lists leaves only integrity, delegation, gratitude, learning agility, courage and respect as skills not covered by emotional intelligence. And you could argue that integrity, gratitude, courage and respect are values, qualities or attributes rather than skills.

There is a short video explaining the basics of empathy and emotional intelligence

You might also like this short video on leadership styles – maverick magpie or predictable pigeon?

And this is a recent review of the GC Index® – a Leadership and Board Assessment tool (organimetric)  This examines leadership using scales including idea focused against task focused (achievement orientation) as well as action against imagination and pragmatism against obsession.