Effective leadership is critical in any industry. This is particularly true for the hospitality industry as it is built on people. Being able to communicate and influence those around you starts with self-control and the management of your own emotions. Personal drive, ambition, and technical skills will only take you so far. It is Emotional Intelligence that will take you further as a leader.

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman has been credited with the term “Emotional Intelligence.” He emphasises the importance of self-awareness for Emotional Intelligence as it is the cornerstone for developing empathy and being adaptable, arguably critical skills for the hospitality industry.

What is Emotional Intelligence? 

Emotional Intelligence is one of the most important ideas to hit the business world in recent years. It is based on the notion that individuals’ ability to understand their own emotions and those they work with is the key to better business performance. 

In simple terms, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to control our emotions and understand and express feelings positively to both ourselves and those around us. 

The Emotional Intelligence model has five clear categories:

1. Self-Awareness 

Managers with high emotional intelligence understand their emotions and trust their intuition. Because of this, they don't let their feelings rule them. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most critical part of emotional intelligence.

2. Self-Regulation

This is all about controlling one’s own emotions and impulses. You will notice that managers who self-regulate don’t get angry or upset easily, and they don't make impulsive rash decisions. They tend to be thoughtful with high levels of integrity and are comfortable with change.

3. Motivation

Managers with a high degree of emotional intelligence are usually motivated from within themselves. They focus on long-term success rather than short-term wins, love a challenge, and can be highly productive.

4. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you, your employees, peers, and bosses. Managers with empathy are good at recognizing their people’s feelings, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic managers are usually excellent at relationships, listening, and relating to others. 

5. Social Skills

Managers with good social skills are easy to talk to and get along with; this is a sign of high emotional intelligence. Those high in social skills are strong team players who focus on the team’s success rather than their own.


Building Emotional Intelligence 

“For leadership positions, emotional intelligence competencies account for up to 85% of what sets outstanding managers apart from the average.”

Daniel Goleman, Working with Emotional Intelligence, 1998

When leaders spend time developing their Emotional Intelligence, it can help them deal with many different workplace issues. For example, when managing an employee out of business requires high empathy and emotional intelligence levels.

Download these five tips to start building your emotional intelligence today.


Emotional Intelligence and the Hospitality Industry

EHL highlights the importance of Emotional Intelligence for the Hospitality Industry, as it is crucial for successful service delivery and building strong teams.

“Hotel customers - especially those of high-end establishments- have become jaded and are ever more difficult to satisfy. What is needed to cement customer loyalty is service that ‘surprises and delights’ guests through highly personalised touches…"

Staff members must anticipate customer needs before they are asked to ensure customers receive the best service they can. Building a strong team full of motivated employees will help deliver excellent service delivery as team members want to give their best.  Developing such a culture that runs through all staff groups, from porters and kitchen workers to receptionists and hotel managers, will take high Emotional Intelligence levels.

“In a team where feelings are valued, and there is a culture of empathy and understanding, employees are more likely to feel and perform at their best."