The Emotionally Intelligent Leader: Maximizing Productivity and Performance

Written by Dr. Kelly Whelan

Dr. Whelan is the Founder and CEO of Belem LLC. She specializes in partnering, empowering, and positioning executive leaders and teams for success by helping them design strategies that create stakeholder impact.

May 1, 2020

Healthy organizations function with the understanding that it takes more than a good senior leader to drive organizational growth.

Growth comes from developing well-equipped leaders at all levels of the organization. Twenty-first century organizations are seeing value in creating mutually supportive relationships versus the traditional management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

Leadership is “more an art than a science” and to effectively work with others, understanding human interactions is necessary. Today’s leaders are required to engage their employees through the softer side of leadership where relational, functional, and emotional intelligence are essential elements for collaboration and driving results.

The Emotionally Intelligent Leader

Emotional intelligence is found within the areas of:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Empathy and social awareness
  • Relationship management

Dr. Anthony Perdue, the Belem Leaders Emotional Intelligence expert, explains “EI is a set of emotional and social skills-how we understand ourselves and others.” He charges leaders to understand their own level of Emotional Intelligence and ask the questions:

  • How do I perceive and express myself?
  • How do I demonstrate empathy?
  • Am I socially responsibile?
  • What is my level of stress tolerance and well being?

So, how are you showing up as leader? How are you getting along with others?

Leaders are the “emotional guides” in the workplace. Therefore, leaders must learn to manage and set the example of what emotional intelligence looks like for others.  Ben Palmer, CEO of Genos International, specializes in assessment and emotional intelligence development. Palmer indicates we are unaware of our emotions 85 percent of the time, until they hit a certain level.  The way we feel does not influence just tone of voice and body language.

Palmer argues,

“the way we feel is the way we perform.” 


A Coaching Strategy

According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study, coaching improved self-confidence, relationships, communication skills, and work-life balance.

As awareness of coaching as a strategy grows, coaching is being included in strategies to offer multi-faceted development opportunities.  This goes beyond classroom training and standard check-the-box yearly HR requirements. Coaching could, and should be used during the hiring and transition process as new leaders are on-boarded, retained, and developed for future opportunities.  Other opportunities for coaching include the transfer of power created by transitions or succession planning and execution.


The coaching engagement is valuable to organizations who seek to create added support for their human talent.

Maximizing Productivity

Coaching is a valuable pathway to productivity. The Gallup® 2017 State of the American Workplace research asked organizations to re-think performance management and instead consider the development approach.  According to the ICF Global Coaching Client Study, coaching increases work performance, business and time management, and team effectiveness. Through coaching, your organization’s people can learn to perform at peak levels and become key contributors.

So, are you ready to step into coaching?

Until next time, keep doing great things!

Be sure to tune in to our podcast CONVERSATIONS For Leaders & Teams, or on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite listening platform!

Click here to purchase your copy of Leadership Excellence By Design: Strategies For Sustainability & Strength on Amazon!

Leadership By Design. Book by Dr. Kelly Whelan.

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