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  • Writer's pictureDarren Woods

The power of Emotional Intelligence in achieving Operational Excellence

Business transformation can be exciting, disruptive, energising, chaotic and not without challenges. It is also fundamental in today’s increasingly competitive environment as businesses fight for talent, scale at pace, improve process efficiency, increase capacity, meet compliance requirements, and keep costs at a minimum.

To ensure every effort is made to realise business improvement goals, organisations can follow proven methods and models of transformation such as lean six sigma and Operational Excellence to guide the way.

These models for Operational Excellence are fantastic, especially when tailored to an organisation's specific needs. They are, however, very much dependent on people driving the change. Organisations must take all steps necessary to ensure leaders driving the change are afforded with the skills necessary to improve the odds of success.

At WD Excellence we have seen the power of people development in accelerating improvements. Development including project management, problem solving, process improvement, lean six sigma and change management.

The critical cog is the change wheel is the change leader. We have witnessed the results of supporting this leader to drive change through the development of their Emotional Intelligence and well as the traditional suite of skills development.

There is an abundance of research showing how Emotional Intelligence is critical in equipping leaders in the human skills necessary to successful lead change. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of others. It consists of five components: self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Emotional intelligence is important for leading change because it helps leaders to:


  • Embrace change rather than resist it by identifying the source of their resistance, questioning their emotional response, and reframing their perspective.

  • Build a team to affect change by selecting people with high emotional intelligence, creating a shared vision, fostering trust and collaboration, and providing feedback and recognition.

  • Overcome resistance to change by understanding the emotions of the change recipients, communicating effectively, addressing their concerns, and involving them in the process.


Emotional intelligence is also essential for personal change, as it helps you to cope with stress, uncertainty, and ambiguity, and to learn from your experiences.

Here are 6 ways emotional intelligence can affect a leader’s ability to implement business improvement changes.


  • Self-awareness: A leader with high emotional intelligence will recognise their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their emotions and how they affect their performance and their team’s performance. This helps them identify areas for improvement, seek feedback, and learn from their mistakes.

  • Self-management: A leader with high emotional intelligence can regulate their emotions more effectively and adapt to changing situations. This helps them stay calm under pressure, handle stress, and overcome challenges.

  • Social awareness: A leader with high emotional intelligence can empathize with others and understand their perspectives. This helps them to build trust, rapport, and improve collaboration with their team members and stakeholders.

  • Relationship management: A leader with high emotional intelligence can communicate effectively, influence effectively, and resolve conflicts quickly. This helps them inspire, motivate, and empower their team to achieve transformation goals and create a culture of continuous improvement.

  • Coaching with compassion: A leader with high emotional intelligence can coach others with compassion, meaning they help them envision their ideal selves and support them in their development and growth. This helps them foster a culture where people are engaged, accountable, and committed to their development.

  • Aligning coaching with strategy: A leader with high emotional intelligence can align coaching interventions with the business strategy and needs of the organisation. This helps them ensure that continuous improvement efforts are relevant, impactful, and aligned with organisational goals.


We have witnessed how the integration of coaching for emotional intelligence with traditional Lean Six Sigma and Operational Excellence skills sets organisations on a path to achieving the ideal culture and performance within a team.

To find out how we can do the same for your team please feel free to get in touch today.

WD Excellence are a professional services team specialising in Organisational Improvement, Lean Six Sigma, Operational Excellence, Executive Coaching and Psychotherapy.


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