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Leading with Emotional Intelligence: Ush Dhanak

Week 9: Our Transform Masters 2017 Supersix learn about the importance of being an emotionally intelligent leader.

Transform Masters 2017 is brought to you with thanks to our sponsors Property Tree, and Real+

In this preview of her Transform Masters Coaching session, Emotional Intelligence expert and founder of Collaborate HR Ush Dhanak explains why having a high EQ is important for leaders and their teams, and the characteristics of an emotionally intelligent leader.

Ush Dhanak will also be speaking at our event “How to lead a winning team in 2018”. For more info and to book tickets visit



My name is Ush and I’m an Emotional Intelligence expert so I’m really working with businesses all across Australia and my passion is to really raise awareness around emotional intelligence.

Q. Why is Emotional Intelligence important for leaders?

Ush: Emotional intelligence isn’t new. It’s been around for almost 20 years now but it’s coming up more and more because they’ve done some tests.

When they’ve looked at leaders that are really high functioning, high performing, really motivating, they realise that their IQ isn’t really that high, so it prompted them to go, “Well, what is that missing link and what is that X factor in that leader that we’re not really aware of of what it is?” It’s come out that it’s emotional intelligence.

Q. What are some characteristics of emotionally intelligent leaders?

Ush: One of the biggest ones is resilience and as you know, things are changing in the business world at the moment. The introduction of artificial intelligence is coming in. We’ve got new generations of workforce coming in and businesses just aren’t resilient enough at the moment, and in particular, leaders.

To have high EQ means that you’re really resilient, you’re nimble, you’re able to really move with what’s going on in the business and you can bounce back from those challenges.

Q. How does being an emotionally intelligent leader help your teams?

Ush: Having high EQ is really about the ability to trust the people that you’re working with and we’ve heard it in HR all the time that you know I’ve got a manager that doesn’t trust me and that really leads to micro-management, so I think having the ability to trust your people and to do that you’ve really just got to set your expectations and if your expectations are set and they’re clear, then that trust is automatically going to form.

Q. Why should leaders have clear expectations?

Ush: I think sometimes when we go into a business and we say, “Right as a leader what is your vision? What is your goal for the next 12 months?” They go, “Oh, well I know what it is in my head,” but they’re not really able to articulate it really clearly and then we sort of probe a bit and go, “Well, if you can’t articulate it, how is your team going to be able to understand what you want them to do?”

We work with them to go over how can we map out what is your vision, what is your journey, and explain that really clearly to the people so that they can come on that journey with you.

Q. Why should leaders seek employee feedback?

Ush: It’s really important to constantly seek feedback so that you’re understanding what your employees are feeling. You can understand if they’re demotivated, if there’s engagement issues, is there conflict in the workplace.

Unless you ask for feedback, you’re not going to know what’s going on and if you do demonstrate high EQ, you’re able to deal with that feedback in a really positive way, and actually see feedback as a gift and say, “You know what, thank you for that.”

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