There are times in life when you look at someone and wonder, “How is she always so totally in control of things?” Whether it is a colleague who deals with tricky work situations without rubbing anybody the wrong way or a friend who makes complete strangers feel comfortable within minutes of meeting them. The answer lies in their emotional intelligence or the ability to monitor their own emotions as well as those of others.

You see real-life examples of emotional intelligence around you every day. And you even use your emotional intelligence to navigate everyday situations and relationships without realizing it. For instance, a colleague who has been reprimanded by the boss might want to share his feelings with you. You listen empathetically, then objectively explain the possible reasons for the boss’s anger, and advise your colleague on how to avoid this in the future. And you do all this without upsetting or offending your colleague. This is a classic example of using your emotional intelligence at work.

Every day, countless people use empathy and understanding to handle social interactions at work. For instance, in an office meeting, when one person speaks, others listen. This happens spontaneously and such behaviors are examples of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Of course, there will always be some people who interrupt everyone else, but here we will only focus on examples of emotional intelligence being used to enhance social interactions.

Practical Examples Of Emotional Intelligence

Let’s take a look at the science behind emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman, a leading authority on emotional intelligence, broke emotional intelligence into five major components. They are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

According to Goleman, these five components of emotional intelligence play a  crucial role in the making of a successful leader. There are various examples of leaders using their emotional quotient to guide their actions.

  1. Leaders inspire and are not afraid of taking tough decisions aimed at achieving their goals.
  2. Leaders come across as confident, honest, straightforward, and self-aware.
  3. Leaders are approachable and they excel in communication.
  4. Leaders are empathetic toward others and are also able to influence others’ opinions and actions.


Let us look at the areas of life in which emotional intelligence comes in handy:


  • Example of emotional intelligence in our daily lives

Successful leaders are not oblivious to their shortcomings. However, they have the drive to improve each day. 

Had you been stubborn, unwilling to accept your shortcomings, or resistant to working on self-improvement, would you really go places? To become a successful leader, you need to develop self-awareness to recognize and overcome your weaknesses.

Conversely, would you want to contribute towards the success of someone who doesn’t have much self-awareness and who is extremely resistant to feedback and suggestions for improvement? This kind of person will not grow, and they are unlikely to become leaders.

Leaders are those who focus on personal development, on acquiring new skills and empowering others by delegating tasks and responsibility. Such behavior by leaders is an example of emotional intelligence in our daily life.


  • Example of emotional intelligence in the workplace

For true leaders, work and work goals are above everything else, including personal interests and comforts. A business leader shares a strong bond with the company’s boards, partners, other stakeholders, and even industry rivals.

When we say ‘leader’, we talk about a person who sees the big picture, shares their vision with others, and channels their collective abilities to achieve that vision.

Leaders have an unshakeable vision of what needs to be done, and they need no external impetus to achieve their goals. A great leader is one who is able to outline each team member’s place in the larger scheme of things. They value the role that subordinates play in steering the organization to success.

All these are examples of emotional intelligence in leadership.

You can take steps towards becoming a great leader by cultivating qualities such as vision, motivating others, accountability, and social skills.


  • Example of emotional intelligence in leadership

A leader is never a lone wolf. You can be a leader only if you have the support of others. In fact, is it even possible to be a leader without any followers?


Leaders exhibit great people skills, which are based on high emotional intelligence, and this helps them gain a following. They empathize with others and are able to read the person and the situation to respond accordingly. 

Even as they focus on achieving work goals, they never forget that their colleagues and subordinates are humans, and they respect and recognize them as people first and coworkers second. This helps them build trust and respect.



Nobody ever recommended becoming robotic or leaving your emotions behind in the workplace. In fact, to be a great leader, you need to be a human and one who has mastered emotional intelligence skills.

Remember, you need to channel your emotions to drive things and people forward, rather than getting carried away yourself. As a leader, you need to constantly pursue self-improvement and harness the potential of your coworkers to achieve bigger goals.

Explore topics such as emotional intelligence, the components of emotional intelligence, and the importance of emotional intelligence at the workplace in our Harappa Diaries section and take charge of your growth.

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