Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence

By Danielle Siegel, PCC, LCSW

Danielle Siegel

This past week, I had the opportunity to facilitate the first day of a three day off-site for a client’s team. We decided that the focus of the day would be on team building as this was a remote group, and they were coming from around the world for this off-site.

One topic that the client asked that I focus on was emotional intelligence. What is clear from the day with my client is that she personally has high emotional intelligence, and the team reflected that. From the onset the energy in the room was high and positive. Everyone engaged in exercises that asked them to be vulnerable and trust each other. There was humor and there were tears.

What did she do during the team building day that allowed me to see who she is as a leader?

  • She began the day by recognizing each person on the team. She gave them all a mug which had a phrase on it that was meaningful to them as a group. She had also spent time thinking of creative awards to highlight a strength of each team member.
  • She was a role model. She participated in the actives with honesty, transparency, and vulnerability.
  • She was flexible.
  • She understood what the team needed, in the moment, even though it didn’t pertain to work. We did an exercise on triggers (identifying them and shifting thoughts around them to allow for new behaviors that are more aligned to what someone wants). Several in the group had triggers related to their children, so the discussion started to head in the direction of parenting. I turned to her to check if this was ok, and she responded that it seemed that that was what the group needed to focus on right now. We didn’t spend all of the time of time on the topic, but she was open to veering from the work agenda to be supportive of the team.
  • She built relationships. Whenever we took breaks, folks from other teams with whom she works came into the conference room to connect with her.
  • She showed up as her true, authentic self: trusting her team and open to feedback.

My client exemplified so much of what I had taught the team about EI without even knowing she was doing it. Emotional intelligence does not come naturally to everyone, but as you can see from above, it is about behaviors, and we can all chose how we want to act.


For help creating new behaviors that are a reflection of your emotional intelligence, schedule a consult with Danielle.