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Emotional intelligence: managerial competence for the future

When we know that emotional intelligence may be one of the top ten skills of the year 2022 according to the World Economic Forum (Future of Jobs Report 2018), it is undeniable that this skill has become one of the essential managerial qualities that must be developed.

Much recent research in neuroscience confirms it: emotions are intimately linked to thinking and decision-making. Indeed, emotions play an important role in our behaviour. This is why emotional intelligence is an essential managerial skill to develop. This skill allows us to understand our emotions to regulate our actions and our relationships. While this is still only a beautiful concept for too many companies, the next decade will be marked by the real application of advances in neuroscience and behavioural research. Companies that have not invested in the development of the interpersonal skills of their managers will find themselves at the back of the pack.

In the past, financial performance and quality control were a guarantee of sustainability for companies. Today, in a context of constant transformation and evolution, collaborative and agile management is required. Collective intelligence, creativity and innovation are the pillars of companies that live long, and companies that fail to establish this in their environment will lose their competitive advantage, causing significant financial losses. But how to generate a culture of collective intelligence where creativity and innovation are favoured?

The importance of emotional intelligence

To become aware of our influence on others and to have a positive influence on our team, we must be aware of our own emotions in the workplace. Most managers are often scared: fear of not meeting goals, fear of losing face, or fear of having to reframe an employee who might resign. We must therefore understand that fear sometimes leads managers to avoidance, to exercise too tight control over their resources.

According to Daniel Goleman, doctor of psychology and pioneer in the field, two-thirds of a company's bottom line is due to the emotional skills of managers. This means that a leader who shows great emotional intelligence will have an easier time motivating and positively influencing his team.

Estelle Morin, professor at HEC Montréal and director of the Center for Research and Intervention for Work, Organizational Effectiveness and Health, is inspired by the concept of emotional intelligence as described by Goleman to attribute four essential skills to develop :

  1. Self-awareness is the ability to welcome our emotions, recognize their effects on others, and build a positive image of ourselves. It increases our level of responsibility for our functions and decisions. The development of self-confidence also requires this aptitude;
  2. Self-management (or self-control) is about managing our emotions and controlling our impulses. It is the ability to act responsibly and thoughtfully. A quote from Peter Drucker, an American management theorist, illustrates perfectly the rationale and importance of this aptitude for the leader: “He who cannot manage himself cannot manage anyone. This ability allows us to inspire confidence and to be comfortable with ambiguity;
  3. Other people's awareness (or empathy) is the ability to view others with sensitivity and empathy. It is also the ability to interact with others taking into account their emotional state. This aptitude allows for the development and retention of talents as well as the development of an attitude of “service” towards others;
  4. Relationship management (or social skills) is the ability to manage conflict through collaboration. Social skills, therefore, make it possible to build business networks and then define common objectives. This skill will have an impact on influence with peers and on the ability to convince.

Goleman's original model is much the same, with a few words. On the other hand, it contains an additional component: motivation. It is the passion to work for reasons other than money or social status. The ability to pursue our goals gives us a great sense of accomplishment, even in a situation of failure.


Goleman demonstrates through his research that EQ (emotional quotient) is more important in the business world than IQ (intelligence quotient). The reason is simple: we work with people. To motivate troops, you need to instil confidence and have a positive influence. To maximize innovation and creativity, you have to be at the service of your team and offer the necessary support for the emergence of new ideas, new ways of doing things and new collaborations. As long as organizations deal with human beings, emotional intelligence will be the key skill for success in human resource management.

According to Daniel Goleman, two-thirds of a company's bottom line is due to the emotional skills of managers.

Developing Conscious Leadership

Leadership awareness is the result of the development of emotional intelligence. Much more than the management of our emotions, it is the capacity to develop our presence and our attention daily. Leadership awareness takes the concept of mindfulness adapting it to management in a company. During a Desjardins Lab conference in 2018, Stéphane Leblanc, founder and president of the International Center for Conscious Leadership, defined conscious leadership as "a new paradigm of leadership. which aims for the common good rather than personal interests […] guided by a vision and propelled by values ​​which aim at the well-being of all the stakeholders as much as the success of the organization ”.

The conscious leader perceives his emotions as well as those of others, understands the needs to be met, uses and regulates his emotions to achieve a clearly defined goal, puts himself at the service of others, contributes to the success of his team and establishes strong connections with the people around him. He is therefore aware of his power over others, his words, his actions and their impact.

According to the International Center for Conscious Leadership, there are seven levels of consciousness that a leader can develop:

  • Survival: directive management and management of financial stability
  • Relationships: open communication, caring for employees
  • Self-appreciation: productivity, efficiency, quality
  • Transformation: continuous renewal, learning, innovation
  • Internal cohesion: positive leadership, shared vision and values
  • Make a difference: mentoring, coaching, employee development
  • Service: long-term ethical vision, serving future generations

Conscious leadership is therefore the result of long interpersonal work and not a skill in itself. As Gandhi said: “The greatest traveller is not the one who has circled the world ten times, but the one who has circled himself once. "

How to become more aware?

You can increase your emotional agility by following the following process:

  1. Recognize your emotions and avoid their traps. A manager must demonstrate his vulnerability to build trust with his employees. His team will then have an admiration for his human side and his consistency. Name what you are feeling and welcome it without discomfort. Take a step back and create space between your emotions and your actions;
  2. An emotion hides a deep need that needs to be understood. To identify this need, you must take a step back and allow the emotion to settle in you. A negative reaction to emotion is a sign of a negated and unmet need;
  3. Choose the best strategy and know your mindset, your motivations and your values. Before acting, evaluate the different options. In this way, you will be able to implement a strategy that will be in line with your motivations and your values;
  4. Act in line with your values ​​and walk the talk with courage. Take action and be consistent with your decision.

The better your self-control, the better your relationships with others. But do not get me wrong. Although these steps and possible solutions may seem simple, developing conscious leadership requires time, support, coaching, practice and a real psychological transformation.

The conscious leader knows his power and does not allow himself to react in the ego. He knows that group dynamics will be diminished if people are not comfortable expressing themselves or contributing new ideas.

The leaders except in the service of others, contribute to the success of their teams and build strong connections with the people who surround them. Their benevolence is observable in their gestures, perceived through their words and felt by others. However, companies that have not invested in the development of the emotional intelligence of their managers will find it very difficult to create a conscious leadership, a climate stimulating collective intelligence, favourable to the expression of creativity and 'innovation. They will end up at the back of the pack at the end of the decade if they still exist!


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