The one skill-set every leader needs

The one skill-set every leader needs

Author: Nick Deligiannis, MD of Hays Australia & New Zealand

Today’s world of work is filled with constant change and emerging challenges. Business leaders are often faced with issues that have not been handled in the organisation before.

All this makes work a place of fast changing emotions. People do not always leave their emotions at the door when they come to work, and they never have. In today’s world there is an increasing demand to effectively manage your emotions and those of others. This skill is known as emotional intelligence (EQ) and while the collection of skills involved in EQ is often referred to as “soft” – there’s nothing soft about the impact these skills have on a workplace.

Most people leave managers, not jobs. As such, a better manager means greater staff retention rates. Research from Rutgers University found leaders with higher EQ delivered greater profits – 136% higher in one study – and higher customer satisfaction levels.

Leaders must be:

  • Excellent communicators with people of all levels
  • Able to stay focused under pressure
  • Respected by and able to inspire others
  • Consistent in their approach and performance


Developing the behaviours involved in EQ is like physical training – the more you use these skills, the stronger they become. The main behaviours involved in EQ are self-regulation, motivation, self-awareness, empathy and positivity.

Raising your EQ

5 quick ways to start raising your EQ:

1. Be aware of what emotional baggage you might be taking to work

We can manage stress better when we are able to take a break from it. Recognise when you are stressed and know the stress relievers that work most effectively for you.

2. Be focused during all of your interactions

If you don’t have time to talk – say so, but then organise another time. Talking to someone while scrolling through messages or emails on your phone is not multi-tasking – it’s being rude. Active listening means giving people your full attention.

3. Be quick to recognise the contribution of colleagues and team members, providing positive feedback whenever appropriate

Being appreciative of others helps them feel valued and a part of the team.

4. Ramp up your presentation and communication skills

The more confident you are expressing your thoughts and ideas, the better equipped you are to communicate effectively under pressure.

5. Listen, pause, react

When the work environment intensifies, emotions rise. If you practice pausing and taking a breath before you respond to a heated or pointed comment, you will not only maintain control of your emotions but also be better able to contribute to solutions.

Developing your EQ will help you become a better leader, in turn resulting in a more focused and motivated team who deliver great results to the benefit of the wider organisation. Start working on the above skills now and will soon be able to see the positive results of your personal development all around you.

Thank you for reading! For more useful advice and insights about the world of work, visit our dedicated blog page here or click on one of the links below.




RHB Job seekers

Job seekers

Browse all current job vacancies and register your CV to be considered for future opportunities.

RHB - Salary guide

Hays Salary Guides

View our latest 2022 salary guides and read more about our salary benchmarking services.