Return to site

Dear Ambit: Questions from a Startup Founder

Advice for startups on emotionally intelligent leadership

Dear Ambit,

I'm a startup founder that recently left my corporate day job. I'm passionate about building a great team and I know that company culture starts with how leaders behave.

Is there any scientific evidence that proves leaders, who are more collaborative or emotionally aware of themselves and others emotions, have a better track record of performance? Or add to the bottom-line more than others? I feel like this is intuitively true, but some data would be great to convince other members of my team that this is something we can focus on.

Startup Founder in SF

Hi Startup Founder!

Firstly, well done on leaving your corporate day job. Research consistently shows that pursuing something that is meaningful and brings purpose to your life leads to greater levels of happiness and life satisfaction. So congratulations!

The literature and research about emotional intelligence and how it relates to leadership is significant. When leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence (the ability to read and understand others) they are more effective leaders, and have higher performing teams.

Furthermore, managers who are more emotionally intelligent are much more likely to have a transformational leadership style. This means that they empower their employees to do their best work, and trust and inspire their teams. Transformational leaders are more innovative and more effective at inspiring change in their organizations.

Emotional intelligence is important for everyone; not just leaders. Although intelligence is usually associated with success, it’s actually true that beyond a certain point, there is little or no correlation between IQ and high levels of professional success. In fact, 85% of job success comes from having good soft and people skills, while only 15% of job success comes from actual technical skills and knowledge.

Managers who are more emotionally aware are also more likely to create psychologically safe work environments. As we’ve written about previously on the blog, psychological safety makes teams more efficient and innovative. Teams that have members who are comfortable expressing opinions are more likely to anticipate challenges that their business may face, and adapt quickly. This is due to fostering a greater diversity of opinions, including opinions that may be unpopular or may challenge others.

There is definitely a business case for being an emotionally aware manager, and I applaud you for being one!

Thanks for writing!

Nicole Abi-Esber

Social Science Researcher @ Ambit

Submit your questions about workplace dynamics to:

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!