Want to Become a More Successful Leader?

Written by Strong + Mindful

Strong + Mindful partners with businesses to help shape mental health messaging, promote the overall wellness of executives and employees and guide your organization in a way that makes people feel safe, cared for, engaged, and motivated to drive growth

July 10, 2023

Do you know the strongest positive trait that predicts a leader’s overall success?

It’s not their IQ, years of experience, or number of degrees. It’s their emotional intelligence. All I can say about that is WOW, and tell me more… So, I did the research and hope you enjoy the following information as much as I did!

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is recognizing and effectively managing personal emotions in yourself and others.

Research  shows that a strong propensity for emotional intelligence increases a leader’s ability to:

  • Make sound decisions
  • Build and sustain collaborative relationships
  • Deal effectively with stress
  • Cope to a greater degree with constant change
  • Stay grounded in the face of challenges

So how does a leader develop emotional intelligence?

It’s through self-care and self-awareness. And to review from last month’s newsletter, self-care includes the purposeful choices you make to prioritize and promote your health now and in the future.

Self-care through a mental health lens will improve your self-awareness, which is one of the key ingredients of emotional intelligence.

Four Self-Care Steps to Develop Self-Awareness:

  1. Turn Inward

Slow down and check in with yourself to understand your thoughts, feelings, and triggers.

  1. Inner Nourishment

Prioritize what nourishes you and brings you joy.

  1. Set Boundaries

Know your limits, say no to yourself (when needed) and others, and develop the confidence and courage to stick to your boundaries.

  1. Let Go

Of unrealistic expectations, others’ expectations of you, perfectionistic tendencies, overthinking, self-doubt, people pleasing, immediate gratification, and over-apologizing.

Putting It Into Action:

Turn Inward

  • Plan 5-10 minutes out of your day to check in with yourself
  • Find a space or routine that works for you
  • Ask yourself, how do I feel right now in this moment?
  • Name your feelings
  • Notice how you feel in your body
  • Ask yourself, why am I feeling this way?
  • Accept your feelings for what they are, and do not put a judgment on them
  • Remind yourself that complicated feelings are worth exploring, and this level of understanding enhances your emotional intelligence (thereby making you a better leader)

Inner Nourishment

  • Think about what nourishes you and brings you joy
  • Decide how you will add that to your day
  • Visually rehearse when, where, and how you will find time to do this today

Set Boundaries

  • Think about the boundaries you need to set with yourself today
  • Think about the boundaries you need to set with others today and how you will do that
  • Rehearse the language and tone you will use to set these boundaries (both with yourself and others)

Let Go

  • Decide which unrealistic expectations you need to let go of today to have a good day
  • Determine which internal pressures (i.e., trying to be perfect, attempting to please everyone, etc.) are too much for today, given what is on your plate
  • Mentally rehearse what it will look and feel like to let go of those particular expectations and internal pressures
  • Verbally rehearse positive affirmations such as My best is good enough, I am strong and capable (and good enough), there is no such thing as perfect, there is no world in which I can please everyone


  • Once you have spent enough time with the four concepts, take a minute to transition out of this mindset
  • Remind yourself that your goal with this activity is to develop your emotional intelligence so you can be a better leader
  • Reinforce that you did a great job by taking the time to turn inward today
  • Continue the practice during the day by observing yourself, your actions, your reactions, and your inner dialogue
  • Remind yourself that developing a new routine and skill set takes time, practice, and patience

Final Thought

Please reach out if you or your team need additional support to develop emotional intelligence. Strong + Mindful partners with small businesses to help leaders understand human dynamics more clearly. This knowledge leads to a more robust and supportive culture and greater organizational success.