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Top EQ Skills to Effectively Build, Lead, and Manage a Successful Team

Managing a team is challenging—and rewarding! In my many years of experience working with companies, I've found the biggest missing component in building effective teams is emotional intelligence in both the leaders and team members. Nothing can substitute for emotional intelligence when it comes to leading and managing a team.

In today’s workplace, most employers value emotional intelligence (EQ) over intelligence for good reason. Emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in success. Find out how to use essential and foundational EQ skills to empower your teams.

Estimated reading: 4 minutes

A business team celebrating their success.Heartmanity is proud to partner with outstanding companies that we wholeheartedly recommend so this post may contain affiliate links. You can read our full disclosure here.

We'll explore the top EQ skills that fuel authentic leadership and creating a successful team seem almost effortless.

What Makes a Good Team?

Before you can create an effective team, it’s essential to understand what you’re after, what will create an experience where each team member excels, team safety and effectiveness is at an all-time high, and productivity skyrockets.

Effective teams, regardless of their field or purpose, share certain key qualities that contribute to success. Here are some qualities in effective teams that generates a positive and productive workplace:

  • collaboration and celebration are consistently high
  • there is mutual respect for each other
  • each team member’s strengths are utilized
  • communication is open, respectful, and honest
  • diverse mix of skills, experiences and perspectives
  • agile and adaptable

These qualities are interrelated and contribute to the overall effectiveness and success of a team. Cultivating these attributes can lead to improved performance, increased innovation, and higher satisfaction among team members.

What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why Is It Important for Team Building?

If you’re reading this article, you may already know the definition of emotional intelligence. But it’s much more than just knowledge; it is fluency and skillfulness in everyday life and work.

Emotionally intelligence is the mastery of our energy, emotions and relationships, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Ability to identify what emotions you’re feeling.
  • Regulating emotions effectively.
  • Expressing your feelings appropriately for different situations and relationships.
  • Capable of handling difficult situations with composure
  • Ability to notice and respond to the feelings of others
  • Empathy and compassion are present throughout interactions
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution aptitude
  • Fluent in both big picture thinking and practical action
  • Resilient in the face of adversity

Quite a list, right?

How many can you check off as a leader or manager?

Do you know HOW to understand, manage, and influence emotions (both your own and others’)?

You may understand WHAT emotional intelligence is, but INTEGRATING the skills is enormously challenging.

Based on the list above, you can see why having high emotional intelligence is imperative to being a successful leader.

The Relevance of Emotional Intelligence to Leadership

EQ has become a key predictor of leadership performance. No longer is it enough to have business acumen, emotional fitness is crucial with our modern workplace, employee demands, unpredictable market, and ever-changing technology.

Successful Leaders with High EQ Excel in:

  • Managing stress.
  • Solving problems.
  • Inspiring employees.
  • Intrinsically motivating themselves and others.
  • Resolving conflicts.
  • Empathizing with team members.

Leaders with these qualities enhance team dynamics and productivity​​ and are highly valued by organizations.

Let’s lay out the requirements for enhancing and building effective teams.

The Impact of  EQ on Managing a Team

Studies have shown that teams with high emotional intelligence demonstrate better performance, innovation, and cohesion.

High EQ in a team also significantly reduces internal conflict and improves effectiveness, highlighting its transformative role in successful team management​​.

Two co-workers walking and laughing on a successful team.

Essential Emotional Intelligence Skills for Team Management

Here are the top five EQ skills you should know and practice to better manage a team, plus a tip on each to get you on the right track. Master these five, and you’ll transform the way you lead!


Self-awareness when managing a team involves understanding one's character, behaviors, and motives and how these affect one's leadership abilities. It's about recognizing personal strengths and areas needing development. Self-aware leaders build trust and honesty within their team, leading to higher employee engagement.

For instance, a leader acknowledging their mistake in a project can foster a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

Tips for Improving Self-Awareness

Consistently engage in self-reflection through journaling or meditation, focusing on understanding your emotional responses and leadership style. According to the Korn Ferry Institute, highly self-aware leaders impact today's business world the most.


Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation means managing emotions and impulses and maintaining composure under pressure. This skill is essential for effective decision-making and setting a stable environment for the team.

A leader who remains calm and composed during a crisis can inspire confidence and stability among team members, which can lead to better problem-solving and team resilience.

Tips for Increasing Emotional Regulation

Develop stress management strategies, like mindfulness or cognitive-behavioral techniques. Leaders who remain calm during a crisis can inspire confidence and stability among team members, leading to better problem-solving and team resilience.


Effective Communication and Social Skills

Effective communication, bolstered by EQ, includes both verbal and nonverbal elements. Leaders with high EQ are attuned to subtle cues and unspoken messages, allowing them to anticipate and address concerns proactively.

For example, a leader who recognizes nonverbal signs of confusion during a meeting and clarifies points can prevent misunderstandings and ensure team alignment. This skill is vital for maintaining clarity and cohesion when managing a team.

Tips for Upgrading Effective Communication

Practice clear and compassionate communication in the mirror to align your message with your body language and tone.

Leaders with high EQ are attuned to subtle cues and unspoken messages, which means they can anticipate and address concerns proactively. Effective communication relies on social skills such as active listening, empathy, and assertiveness, all of which are enhanced through effective communication.

Quote by John Maxwell


Empathy, a Must-Have EQ Skill

Empathy in leadership is about understanding and being aware of team members' needs, feelings, and thoughts.

Research by Catalyst has shown that empathetic leadership is directly linked to higher job performance. Managers who demonstrate empathy are perceived as better performers by their superiors and subordinates.

For example, a leader who notices a team member's distress and offers support can significantly improve the work environment when done consistently. Or what if a manager tunes into a team’s overwhelm. This awareness could provide an opportunity for better scheduling practices or point to the need for greater work-life balance.

Empathy is crucial in creating a supportive and understanding team culture.

Tips for Developing Empathy

Regularly practice cognitive empathy. This application involves fully concentrating on, understanding, responding to, and helping the other person to feel heard. Statistics show that leading with empathy increases efficiency, creativity, innovation, and company revenue.


Motivating Employees

Motivation in leadership is critical for team success. Leaders who effectively motivate their teams can significantly enhance productivity and engagement.

A study by Harvard Business School found that employees receiving praise from their managers were more motivated and productive. This demonstrates how a leader's recognition and appreciation can boost a team's motivation to perform well and tackle new challenges with enthusiasm.

However, many managers and team leaders tend toward extending bigger "carrots" or an enhanced bonus structure. These are external motivators and often are insufficient in sustaining enthusiasm and motivation. Even constructive feedback and praise are extrinsic motivators.

In the emotional intelligence arena, it is well-known that what truly excites employees is what matters for them individually. This incentive could be more meaningful work or the pleasure derived from excellence. For each generation, the intrinsic values are unique:

  • Baby Boomers want flexibility
  • Generation X want autonomy
  • Millennials want development 
  • Generation Z want more meaning and purpose

Providing employees and team members what drives them is good business and translates to greater productivity and job satisfaction.
According to ThinkLearning, organizations with high employee motivation show a 21% increase in productivity and 41% reduction in absenteeism.

Those statistics agree with our findings. When working with companies, leaders often see a substantial jump in productivity, satisfaction, and motivation when leaders develop greater emotional intelligence.

Tips for Strengthening Motivation in Employees

Balance external motivators with internal motivators. Pay attention to what excites your employees. Have conversations with them to discover what makes them tick.

Set clear and inspiring goals for your teams, and regularly recognize their achievements. Motivation is correlated with success so publicize accomplishments to inspire everyone.

Incorporating better EQ skills into your leadership approach can transform how you manage a team, leading to improved performance, stronger relationships, and a more cohesive and motivated team environment.

Get EQ online training now: 5 Best Emotional Intelligence Courses.”

Implementing EQ Skills Effectively in Everyday Leadership

Implementing EQ skills in your daily leadership is a transformative process and takes time. However, it’s vital for enhancing workplace success and creating healthy team environments.

While some leaders may have innate EQ skills, research suggests that deliberate effort and training can significantly enhance these abilities.

Go Deeper: "27 Ways to Raise Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace."

4 Practical Ways to Integrate Emotional Intelligence

Here are four practical ways to integrate EQ into everyday leadership, followed by real-life examples illustrating their effectiveness:

Brain Tip #1Assessment and Feedback for Self-Understanding

Begin by assessing your EQ levels using tools like an Emotional Intelligence Appraisal or the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Understanding your EQ strengths and areas for improvement can provide insights into how your emotional intelligence impacts your leadership. This feedback is essential for growth and improvement.

Then check out the best Emotional Intelligence courses to develop greater skills and get support to integrate new skills at everyday work.

Buy the EQ Master Class!


Brain Tip #1Self-Awareness and Reflection Practices

Enhance self-awareness through exercises like journaling and mindfulness practices. Reflecting on your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and their influence on your leadership style is vital.

Each time you put your attention on introspection, you will learn something new about yourself. Growing awareness allows you to commit to more authentic responses, empathetic support of your teams, and interactions in your work relationships.

The biggest challenge is carving regular time for this practice. You won't regret the investment of your time and attention!

Brain Tip #1Practice Self-Regulation and Stress Management

Contrary to the outdated belief that leaders should suppress emotions, modern leadership requires monitoring and utilizing emotions constructively. A leader adept in emotional regulation can motivate themselves and their team, fostering a healthy and intentional workplace environment.

Try to implement strategies for managing emotions and stress, such as deep breathing and mindfulness techniques. Recognizing emotional triggers and managing stress effectively is helpful for maintaining a calm and effective leadership presence.

One of my clients with a hectic work schedule in the construction industry experienced outstanding results after only practicing simple mindfulness exercises daily for one week. He experienced greater calmness and mental acuity. He said that he was amazed at how his mind slowed down and he was able to focus better. And another bonus what his interactions with his colleagues became more lighthearted.

A great shift for an investment of only five to ten minutes a day!

Brain Tip #1Coaching for EQ Development

Engage in leadership coaching to identify emotional strengths and weaknesses. Coaches can provide guidance, support, and accountability, helping leaders explore emotions, understand behaviors, and develop strategies for enhancing EQ in real-life situations.

Adding these EQ skills to daily leadership practices can profoundly impact team dynamics, decision-making, and workplace atmosphere. By intentionally developing and applying EQ, you can navigate complex social dynamics, build meaningful connections, and enhance your leadership effectiveness.

Benefits of EQ in Managing a Team

Emotional intelligence is crucial in team management, offering several benefits that contribute to a positive and productive work environment. Some of the key benefits of EQ in team management include:

  1. Better Teamwork: Leaders with high emotional intelligence are adept at building strong relationships, fostering teamwork, and promoting a positive work culture. You can inspire and motivate their teams, improving collaboration and synergy among team members.

  2. Improved Communication and Conflict Resolution: Emotionally intelligent leaders are skilled at effective communication, active listening, and conflict resolution. You should encourage team members to express their concerns and work collaboratively to find solutions that benefit everyone, with open and honest communication being promoted. This can reduce team members' conflict and create a more innovative workplace.

  3. Enhanced Job Satisfaction: Emotionally intelligent leaders can help their employees feel heard and valued, boosting job satisfaction and overall morale within the team.

  4. Easier Adjustments and Greater Self-Awareness: High emotional intelligence leaders are better equipped to navigate change and promote self-awareness among their team members, leading to easier adjustments and a more adaptive work environment.

  5. Reduced Turnover and Increased Engagement: Emotionally intelligent leaders create work environments where team members feel valued and supported, reducing turnover and increasing engagement.

EQ improvement is not just for leaders. EQ training in employee wellness programs can provide a competitive advantage over other companies and contribute to a more harmonious and motivated team.

Master Your Emotionally Intelligence!

Closing Thoughts

Knowing your business goals and all its technical specifications is one aspect of being a good leader. However, knowing how to manage a team properly is the other side of the same coin, and both elements are equally essential for success.

Being an emotionally intelligent leader will undoubtedly make managing a team easier. You can express yourself clearly, hear and feel what others say, and find better solutions to your problems.

Put simply, leaders who develop empathy, self-awareness, and emotional regulation create more cohesive, empowered, and satisfied teams. This positive impact goes beyond just you and your team. You’ll also improve organizational performance and client satisfaction.

If you’re in a leadership position or want to be in the future, I encourage you to develop your EQ skills further, as they will continually open doors for you.

Human connection, developing relationships, and mastering emotional intelligence takes patience, insight and fortitude—with amazing dividends paid daily!

Understanding ourselves and others is not just a set of skills but a gift that brings us closer, ensuring that everyone around you (including yourself) feels valued and part of something greater.

Whether you're looking for career development, to step into a leadership role, or simply to create a more positive environment around you, focusing on EQ and people skills is the way forward.

Get EQ online training now: 5 Best Emotional Intelligence Courses.”

Remember, the true measure of our success lies not just in our knowledge or technical abilities, but in how we relate to and care for those around us.

Let's embrace these human skills with open hearts and minds. Let’s unlock our fullest potential for a future filled with confidence and compassion.

If you're ready to take the next step for success this year, consider Heartmanity's coaching programs or people skills training. It's an investment in yourself that pays incredible rewards in every aspect of life.

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Jennifer A. Williams / Heartmanity for BusinessJennifer A. Williams / Heartmanity for Business
Jennifer, the Heartmanity Founder, is an Executive Coach and Relationship Strategist. Her decades of expertise in training leaders and teams give her amazing insights. Jennifer's primary focuses are authentic leadership, effective communication, and emotional intelligence in the workplace. Jennifer teaches a holistic approach, specializing in transforming unproductive behaviors into emotionally intelligent actions, which creates thriving work relationships and catapults a company to success.

Posted in Business and Leadership

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