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  • David Walcott

The Executive Edge: Cultivating Emotional Intelligence in Healthcare Leaders Across Our Portfolio

Over the course of my personal leadership journey, I have continually refined and adapted my approach, drawing upon various sources of wisdom and insight. One such influential learning comes from Daniel Goleman's work on emotional intelligence. Although leadership styles and situational demands may vary, there exists a fundamental commonality among successful leaders: a strong aptitude for emotional intelligence (EI). While technical skills and a high IQ are undoubtedly valuable, they merely serve as baseline qualifications for executive roles. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is an indispensable component of effective leadership and should be continually cultivated and refined.

Emotional Intelligence and Its Components

Emotional intelligence consists of five key skills that can be developed and strengthened through persistence. These skills are:

  1. Self-awareness: This involves recognizing and understanding one's own moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others. Self-aware leaders possess self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humor.

  2. Self-regulation: The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods is crucial for effective leadership. Self-regulation entails suspending judgment, thinking before acting, displaying trustworthiness and integrity, being comfortable with ambiguity, and being open to change.

  3. Motivation: A successful leader has a passion for work that goes beyond money or status. They possess a strong drive to achieve, exhibit optimism even in the face of failure, and demonstrate organizational commitment.

  4. Empathy: Understanding the emotional makeup of other people is vital for effective leadership. Empathetic leaders excel in treating people according to their emotional reactions, building and retaining talent, demonstrating cross-cultural sensitivity, and providing service to clients and customers.

  5. Social skill: Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks is key to moving people in desired directions. Socially skilled leaders can find common ground, build rapport, lead change effectively, and persuade others. They are also experts in building and leading teams.

While it is essential to possess a solid foundation of technical skills and intelligence, these attributes only function as preliminary requisites for executive positions. Emotional intelligence, conversely, plays a pivotal role in determining a leader's success. By focusing on the development and fortification of the five core EI competencies, individuals can significantly enhance their leadership capabilities and make a meaningful impact within their organizations.

Assessment Tool: Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment for Leaders

This self-assessment tool is designed to help you evaluate your emotional intelligence in five key areas. By understanding and enhancing your EQ, you’ll be able to improve your leadership capabilities and contribute to your organizations' success.

Instructions: For each of the following statements, rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = Strongly Disagree and 5 = Strongly Agree. Be honest in your responses to gain the most valuable insights.


  1. I can easily recognize and understand my emotions and moods.

  2. I am aware of how my emotions and behavior affect others.

  3. I am confident in my abilities and decisions.

  4. I can accurately assess my strengths and weaknesses.

  5. I can find humor in my mistakes and shortcomings.

Self-Regulation: 6. I can control or redirect my disruptive impulses and moods.

  1. I think before acting, even in high-pressure situations.

  2. My actions consistently demonstrate trustworthiness and integrity.

  3. I am comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty.

  4. I adapt well to change and new challenges.

Motivation: 11. I am driven by a passion for my work beyond money or status.

  1. I consistently pursue my goals with energy and persistence.

  2. I remain optimistic and resilient even in the face of failure.

  3. I am committed to the success of my organization.

Empathy: 15. I can understand the emotional makeup of the people around me.

  1. I adjust my approach to people based on their emotional reactions.

  2. I am skilled at building and retaining talent within my team.

  3. I can effectively navigate cross-cultural situations and interactions.

  4. I prioritize the needs and concerns of clients and customers.

Social Skill: 20. I am proficient in managing relationships and building networks.

  1. I can easily find common ground and build rapport with others.

  2. I lead change effectively, guiding others through transitions.

  3. I am persuasive and can inspire others to take action.

  4. I excel at building and leading high-performing teams.

Scoring: Add up your scores for each section (Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skill) to obtain a total score for each area.


  • 20-25: High emotional intelligence in this area

  • 15-19: Moderate emotional intelligence in this area, with room for improvement

  • 10-14: Low emotional intelligence in this area, consider focusing on development

  • 5-9: Very low emotional intelligence in this area, significant growth opportunities

Next Steps:

Examine the areas in which you received the lowest scores and contemplate various strategies to bolster your emotional intelligence within these domains. Solicit input from colleagues, participate in professional development initiatives, and engage in introspective self-reflection as a means to refine your leadership competencies. Bear in mind that emotional intelligence is not a fixed attribute but rather can be cultivated and augmented over time through dedication and consistent effort.

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