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Emotionally Intelligent Leadership and Interpersonal Savvy

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

"No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care."
- Theodore Roosevelt

Over the last twenty years there has been a huge increase in evidence that emotional intelligence is an essential factor in leadership. Numerous research studies have shown a positive relationship between emotionally intelligent leadership and employee satisfaction, retention, and performance.

As organizations become more aware of this, they are looking for ways to recruit and promote from within people that are strong in emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent leaders demostrate interpersonal savvy as respected leaders worth following.

Interpersonal Savvy

The interpersonally savvy person navigates through interactions with others smoothly. People open up to others with strong interpersonal skills. The more the other individual shares information the easier it is to tailor ones approach to interact with that person. This leads to a reputation of having interpersonal savvy and also being an individual that is easy to work with, and gets things done efficiently with other people, without creating unnecessary friction.

The key to getting along with all kinds of people is to hold back or neutralize your personal reactions and focus on others first. Being savvy is working from the outside in. Then, interpersonal savvy becomes having a range of interpersonal skills and approaches and knowing when to use what with whom.

The outcome is ease of transaction where you get what you need without damaging other parties unnecessarily and leave them wanting to work with you again. Having interpersonal skills will allow you to motivate, inspire, and successfully lead others, as well as further your own career development.

Interpersonal savvy is the combination of strong interpersonal skills such as approachability, listening, empathy, collaboration, compassion and composure with a “savvy” interpersonal awareness and interpersonal style, which involves discernment, common sense, astuteness, perceptiveness, cleverness and tact.

Leaders want to achieve excellence. Achieving excellence is often confounded by the varied personalities and stresses leader’s encounter. A valuable characteristic is what I call “interpersonal savvy”. 

In leaders’ work and personal lives the key to getting along with many people is to hold back one’s initial personal reactions and focus on the other persons needs first. Interpersonal savvy includes a full set of interpersonal skills and approaches, which allow one to discern when to deploy a particular people skill.

The leader who is high in interpersonal savvy has easy interactions with others because of the choices they make in how to interact. High interpersonal savvy is correlated with being more likely to be promoted and being more sought after to work with as a team member. How do you know if someone has low interpersonal savvy? People would observe these behaviors:

·   Doesn’t relate well to some people

·   Lacks approachability

·   Poor listening skills

·   Avoids making time to develop rapport

·  Too direct which offends or makes others uncomfortable

·   Excessively work oriented

·   Other people describe as intense

·   Impatient

·   Judgmental or arrogant

·   May not read others well

·   Shows low confidence when interacting

What does it look like if a leader is skilled in interpersonal savvy?

·   Relates well to all kinds of people

·   Interacts comfortably with people at different levels in the organization

·   Makes time to build rapport

·   Maintains constructive relationships

·  Tactful

·  Manages high-tension situations artfully

When overused interpersonal savvy can become a weakness. An excessive use of interpersonal savvy may look like:

·   Spends too much time networking

·   Seen as lacking depth or values

·   May not be taken seriously

              ·   Low credibility because not trusted

Are you a respected leader worth following who models emotiomal intelligence and interpersonal savvy?

About Dr. Maynard Brusman…

Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach

Emotional Intelligence and Mindful Leadership Consultant

Are you a purpose-driven executive leader who wants to be more effective at work and get better results? Emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders build trust, and inspire people to become fully engaged with the vision and mission of their company. They build coaching cultures of positive engagement. 

Over the past thirty-five years, I have coached hundreds of leaders to improve their leadership effectiveness. After only 6 months, one executive coaching client reported greater productivity and more stress resiliency helping her company improve revenues by 20%. While this may depend on many factors most of my clients report similar satisfaction in their EQ leadership competence leading to better business results.

You can choose to work with a highly seasoned executive coach to help facilitate your leadership development and executive presence awakening what’s possible. 

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252

Box 1009, East Greenwich, RI 02818
Phone: 401-884-2778
Fax: 401-884-5068
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