TeamEQ_The problem of leaders who drive “without a license”

Teams with Emotional Intelligence. The problem of leaders who drive “without a license”.

By Gemma Garcia Godall, CEO and Founding Partner Emotional Intelligence Institute

Despite numerous scientific studies proving that Emotional Intelligence is key for life and work, it’s surprising that many people today still resist recognizing and developing that ability. The negative consequences of that can be serious for the organizations that they belong to, for society in general and for their own health. A toxic person in an organization can have lasting consequences.

So, the question remains: Why are there so many people who lack Emotional Intelligence in positions of responsibility?

In my view, there are three principle reasons:

  • The fear of those around them to talk about what is happening. In many cases, our manager has a direct influence and power of decision regarding our position in the company, possible promotions and even our salary. With all of that in mind, how many of us would be brave enough to declare that our boss has an emotional deficit? I always say to my clients: “Help them first”. Any intelligent leader, despite having emotional difficulties, should be open to improvement if they perceive good intentions. By giving productive and assertive feedback you, and the rest of the team, could be the key that helps them to grow.  Because, what is a leader without a team?
  • Their strength, strategic intelligence and ability to hide their ineptitude to gain recognition. In general, people with lower emotional intelligence demonstrate a high level of cognitive intelligence, which makes them experts in the art of manipulation. They know how to make others feel that they are vital, and that success is down to them and not thanks to the work and effort of the whole team. Organizations are full of people who have a lot of responsibility, but virtually no sensitivity. You probably know someone like that, don’t you?
  • The lack of data to analyze something that, until recently, was difficult to measure. What KPI can we use to measure the emotional capacity of a leader? Luckily, today all that is changing. Team analytics platforms like TeamEQ mean that we can now discover the emotional state of our teams and, that way, identify the direct correlation between shared emotions and results.

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Emotional intelligence is something that can be modified and developed. I began my own career with a purely financial approach, believing that numbers, analysis and data were everything. In fact,  the teams that I worked with guided me to grow.  I have also grown by experiencing the effects of other leaders, whom I call “leaders without a license” (later you’ll see why). They helped me to understand the kind of leader I don’t want to become. Once a colleague at the same executive level as myself in a big company where we were both part of the board, said to me: “If you bring up that subject at the board meeting, I’ll make your life miserable every day!” Those are words that are not easily forgotten. I was very surprised: this was a clear and transparent threat. And the best thing is that I can’t even remember today if I did bring up the subject at the meeting. I only recall that he was in a very stressful state and he didn’t know how to manage his emotions at that moment, nor did I know how to react. I just moved away from him and took another path that represented a much healthier and more nourishing route. In fact, years later I founded the Emotional Intelligence Institute, for which I’m very grateful!

At the Emotional Intelligence Institute we define EQ as “the ability to identify, evaluate and manage our own emotions and those of others”. And we know that today, that is a  critical ability for professional success.

As Goleman says in his famous book: “If you don’t control your emotional abilities, if you are not self-aware, if you are not able to control your stressful emotions, if you cannot have empathy and effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far”. 

Maybe some leaders without a driving license have a high position and salary, but now, after working with many, many leaders around the world, I can assure you that they are not happy at all.  The development of emotional intelligence gives us the necessary resources to manage our energy as human beings and to develop talent inside our organizations. It is possible to find ways to achieve our team’s common goal and our company’s goals  in a balanced and healthy way for us as human beings. The recognition and management of the emotions of the individual and the team are key factor to achieve success.

A leader with emotional intelligence knows how to:

  • Guide development and improve by minimizing resistance.
  • Lead and direct change.
  • Manage conflict in creative ways.
  • Align emotions and actions towards a common goal.
  • Inspire innovation and creativity.
  • Generate high energy in the team and contentment in the surroundings.


Isn’t that something we all want? It’s time to answer the question: What kind of leader do you want to be?

Leading a team without the adequate management of emotions is like driving a car without a license. That’s why I call some leaders “without a license”, and they can cause big and irreversible damage. On the other hand, a leader with emotional intelligence is able to guide a team and an organization to the right destination, and make sure we all enjoy the journey along the way!


Contact: [email protected] www.iiemocional.com

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