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  • Writer's pictureDr. Cristina DiPietropolo

Emotional Intelligence: Self-Management

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Managers have a significant impact on employee satisfaction and retention. According to Gallup studies, the quality of managers is the most relevant factor in the organization’s long-term success, and 70% of the variance in terms of team engagement results exclusively from the manager[1]. Therefore, understanding good management and leadership drivers is fundamental for organizational success and essential for a manager’s professional development. Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee provide us with a thought-provoking statement about great leadership:

“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision, or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through emotions.” [2]

The ability to connect with team-members, awakening their enthusiasm and engagement, and promoting an atmosphere of trust is fundamental for great leaders. To do so, leaders need to develop the ability to recognize and manage their own emotions, as well as others’ emotions. This is another way of saying that leadership requires Emotional Intelligence (EI). Self-awareness, an essential aspect of EI, was discussed in a previous post. Now, we will look into another fundamental dimension: self-management.

Self-management refers to the ability to use one’s emotions to choose what a person says and does to positively direct their behavior[3]. Self-management implies the healthy management of thoughts, goal setting, and taking the initiative to achieve those goals. It enables people to act with focus, discipline, and energy. Managers who often lose control, become too stressed, and extremely angry, do not make good leaders. The same applies to those who freeze under pressure. Emotions are contagious, especially from leaders to followers2. Therefore, leaders need to seriously invest in the development of self-management competencies, such as:

  • Emotional self-control: being able to deal with stress, controlling your impulses and disruptive emotions, and staying positive even in adverse contexts.

  • Adaptability: capacity to adapt in the face of obstacles and challenging situations, being flexible.

  • Optimism: having a positive attitude and being persistent in pursuing goals, despite obstacles and difficulties.

  • Initiative: being ready to assess situations and act independently.

  • Achievement: getting the job done and meeting internal standards of excellence, despite existing setbacks.

  • Transparency: maintaining your integrity, operating according to your values.

  • Emotional Accountability: taking full ownership of your thoughts and actions and being able to self-evaluate, which includes the honest assessment of areas in your leadership style that need improvement.

  • Time Management Skills: ability to meet deadlines, prioritize, and delegate responsibilities.

How much have you considered these self-management competencies in your everyday work as a leader? Have you ever considered how your emotional state impacts those around you?

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Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, and leadership. Over ten years of teaching experience as a university professor of management, with a special focus on leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.


[1] Clifton, J. & Harter, J. (2018). It’s the manager. Gallup Press: New York. [2] Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. E., & McKee, A. (2013). Primal leadership: Unleashing the power of emotional intelligence. Harvard Business Press: Boston. [3] Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.

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