5 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Published by Sergey Kiklevich on

It seems that in all the fuss and news about Digital, Social and Artificial Intelligence (AI) we often forget that we are still human. We forget that before developing a sophisticated AI, we first need to develop and improve our own emotional intelligence (EQ). The emotional factor is huge when it comes to us, people, making everyday decisions. For those of us in leadership positions, it is even more important because our decisions impact many, many other people. And it’s therefore crucial for us to have a hold of our emotions. Just think how many times you regretted things that you said in the heat of the moment? And unfortunately for us, what had been said cannot be unsaid, cannot be deleted like an email or a message. Therefore, I want to help you become more powerful when it comes to managing your emotions and feelings. Too many times they have gotten in my own way, and I’m sure you can come up with your own examples of when emotional decisions cost you a promotion, deal, sale, business, friend, partner, or even worse a job or a career. So, without further ado, here are the 5 pillars of Emotional Intelligence for Leaders:

1) Self Awareness [state of being aware, knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists].

Understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, AND more importantly the impact of your actions (including spoken or verbal actions) on other people. Being PRESENT to the way you’re being in the moment. Being able to welcome constructive criticism. Being able to welcome people’s candidness and not see it as being wimpy or too weak to lead. In order to become more aware of yourself, your surroundings, circumstances, and people involved, get out of your own head and stop listening to your inner chatter and commentary about what’s going on and/or what’s being said. Stop being strategic about what you’re going to say next. Be in the moment, pay close attention, listen newly every time and allow others to finish their statements and arguments before jumping in with your “5 cents” (no matter how tempting your conclusions, opinions, judgements, and disagreements may be).

2) Self Regulation [to bring order, method, or uniformity].

Being present to biological impulses that drive our emotions and feelings AND having a choice to react to them in a different way or NOT. That frees you up from being a prisoner to your own feelings. Self regulation to leadership enhances integrity. Impulsive behavior (reacting to emotions and feeling instantly, without acknowledging that you have a choice to react or not) has zero workability in any situation. Instead of reacting to a particular feeling immediately and uncontrollably, take a moment to realize that you actually have a choice to let it go. Yes, you do. You have a choice to speak up or stay silent based on what’s best in a particular situation. You have a choice to blame and criticize others or take full responsibility and ownership instead. You have a choice to lead powerfully. You have a choice to compromise, to find consensus instead of standing your ground and proving someone or everyone wrong. Being right is just a short term gain, a stroke to your ego. It often comes with a high cost of losing your people’s hearts and goodwill. As such, utilize self regulation to create choices in situations where you typically had no choice. This way, you’ll make exponentially more allies and will achieve desirable outcomes more frequently, with less effort and no resistance from your people.

3) Empowerment [the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties].

In emotional intelligence, empowerment is a way of enabling people to move, take action, be intentional, purposeful and inspired, not simply feeling good about what they are doing. It’s about being able to empower people to achieve results because they understand that there is a reward, fulfillment, and accomplishment waiting for them. It’s about helping your people see the bigger picture, while adding transparency and clarity to the process. That leads to a better understanding of how their actions contribute to the overall goals and objectives of an organization. Through empowerment a leader can help people realize that they are valuable no matter how small their contribution is. Productivity gains, better efficiency and higher output are all byproducts of empowering leadership.

4) Empathy [the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another].

Understanding other people’s emotional makeup. Being able to care for and relate to other people. Using enrollment conversations as a way [and a tool] to get related to people, stand in their shoes and show them that you truly understand their perspective, reasons and/or arguments. That creates a much deeper connection and appreciation with a person [or many people], which in turn creates more workability in a given situation. Consequently, more workability enhances integrity, which in turn improves productivity, effectiveness and attitude of your people. Remember, the success of your organization depends on your people. Thus, take your time to get related to them, show empathy and drive your organization forward.

5) Social Skills [the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance].

Ability to interact with other people. Social skills allow leaders to put their emotional intelligence to work. If you don’t have good social skills you may not have access to empathy and your leadership skills will mean nothing if not communicated in a proper way. When it comes to social skills, remember the following Golden Rule: “Strive To Be InterestED in a conversation, Instead Of Trying To Be InterestING.” Leaders that use this rule and utilize all pillars of emotional intelligence can move mountains and win anyone as a friend, an ally, a partner, and a client. Simply show genuine interest in your counterparts, listen to what matters to them, quiet the chatter in your own head and just be with them in the moment. That sounds easy but I know it’s not. It will require practice and with time you’ll get skillful and eventually masterful in emotional intelligence. Remember, a master is master because he failed more times than a student ever tried. So take these Five Pillars of Emotional Intelligence with you and start applying them daily. Before you know it, people around you will start taking notice and your leadership will flourish.

Ⓒ 2018, Sergey “The Gambit” Kiklevich, Gambit Solutions Inc.


Yauheni Lashkevich · September 3, 2018 at 11:28 am

Great article! Adding this blog to my reading list.

    Sergey Kiklevich · September 3, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Thank you! If you have a topic in mind that you’d like to learn more about, please send me the suggestions and I’ll research them for you and publish an article on the topic.

Abdul C. Bangura · November 5, 2018 at 5:25 am

Inspiring, uplifting and very interesting article. Now I’m beginning to fully understand my flaws and weaknesses bit by bit as well as discovering solutions to reshape my action and personality in a more positive way.
Keep up with the good work sir. You contributions are welcoming and valuable in making the world a better habitat. Thank you Mr. Sergey Kiklevich

    Sergey Kiklevich · November 9, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Thank you Abdul. I’m glad you find it helpful and useful. Self discovery is a path to your freedom and success. Keep on exploring my friend…

GreggMug · October 10, 2019 at 1:54 am


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