Navigating the Seas of Existence: The Global Impact of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

emotional intelligence leadership leadership development Feb 20, 2024
The Global Impact of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

In the vast sea of existence, we find ourselves captains of a profound vessel - responsible for the upbringing, emotional development, academic nurturance, and overall care of the children within our sphere. This is a heartfelt exploration of the intricate tapestry of responsibility that rests upon the shoulders of every adult.

The current world issues, including the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the prevalence of wars and gun violence, have significantly impacted the emotional well-being of both children and adults globally. The lingering effects of the pandemic have disrupted lives, creating uncertainty, loss, and heightened stress levels, particularly among children who have faced disruptions in their education, social interactions, and daily routines. Moreover, the pervasive specter of armed conflicts and gun violence exacerbates the emotional toll on individuals, leading to heightened anxiety, trauma, and a pervasive sense of insecurity. The collective weight of these challenges not only tests the resilience of adults but also shapes the emotional landscape for children, influencing their perceptions of safety, stability, and hope for the future. As communities strive to recover and rebuild, addressing the emotional scars left by these issues becomes paramount for fostering a healthier and more resilient global society.

In a world rife with turbulence, confusion, and divisive currents, our children are forced to navigate a web woven with threads of hate, authority, and oppression. The gravity of this reality struck me with an undeniable force, but not until I had journeyed through more than half of my own life. It was in that moment of reflection that I confronted the stark truth - I played a role in attracting the distractions, confusion, and abuse that had permeated my own life.

Let me clarify – I am not insinuating that I actively sought out these challenges. Rather, I acknowledge that my mental well-being struggled to distinguish, unwittingly drawing in the same negativity that had plagued me since childhood. Emotional brokenness was my companion, yet the adults in my life, grappling with their own battles, were unable to offer the support my young heart desperately craved.

My life's desire is simple and profound: is to be seen and heard for who I am at every juncture of my existence. This yearning for acknowledgment is not vanity; it stems from a deep-seated understanding that becoming invisible to oneself is a grave disservice. In the midst of life's tumultuous web, it was the beacon of self-awareness that saved me, urging me to address the need to cease attracting abusers and to seek genuine love.

The turning point unfolded during a cinematic experience watching the movie "Boyz in the Hood" in the early '90s. The movie resonated deeply as I cradled my infant sons. The weight of responsibility for guiding them through a world saturated with violence, hate, and oppression struck me with the force of a thunderbolt. Tears flowed uncontrollably as I grappled with the realization that I couldn't shield them from the world; instead, I had to empower them to navigate it.

This epiphany marked the genesis of my journey toward self-development. I recognized the imperative to understand and heal myself to impart the same resilience to my sons. Despite the challenges, including a subsequent divorce in my late 20s, every day as a single mother became a canvas for learning, growth, and resilience.

Through stumbles, mistakes, and the crucible of adversity, I emerged with an unshakable conviction - my children needed to witness me overcoming challenges. This blog is more than words on paper; it is a soul-baring attempt to share a profound understanding. As individuals, we bear the responsibility for our emotional well-being, leadership, and spiritual health. Only through personal growth can we authentically make a difference, not just for ourselves but for the generations observing and learning from our actions.

This narrative of responsible leadership, steeped in the wisdom of emotional intelligence, seeks to address a critical need in our society. It extends an impassioned invitation for everyone to embrace self-responsibility and leadership, arming our children with the tools to navigate the complex challenges of our ever-evolving world.

Global Perspectives on Emotional Intelligence in Leadership:

As we embark on this exploration of emotional intelligence in leadership, it's crucial to consider the global impact. Research findings and case studies from around the world highlight the significance of emotional intelligence in shaping not only individual lives but also entire communities and societies.


  1. From knowledge-oriented leadership to emotional intelligence to creative performance: teachers’ assessment from Chinese higher education
  • Similarly, this study examined the relationship between EI and creative performance (creative self-efficacy, leadership support) of academicians in higher education institutions.
  • This study further scrutinized knowledge workers’ trust in leaders (KWTL) (relational trust) and organizational climate (OC) (credibility, respect, fairness, pride, and camaraderie) as mediators between EI and creative performance (CP). 

2. Exploring Emotional Intelligence and Sociodemographic in Higher Education; the Imperative for Skills and Curriculum Development in Qatar.

  • There is increasing interest in understanding the nature and impact of emotional intelligence (EI) in educational institutions and the workplace since EI is associated with academic performance, career success, job satisfaction, and management skills.


In the global journey of understanding emotional intelligence's impact on leadership, we witness a tapestry woven with diverse threads of wisdom, experience, and cultural nuance. From China comparing EI to creativity to Qatar association to academic performance the significance of emotional intelligence resonates across borders.

As we navigate the seas of existence, the call to embrace emotional intelligence in our leadership roles becomes more imperative. It is not only a personal journey of growth and self-awareness but a collective responsibility to shape a world where children, families, and communities thrive emotionally, socially, and culturally. This heartfelt exploration of responsible leadership serves as a beacon urging us to cultivate emotional intelligence not just within ourselves but as a global community committed to fostering a brighter, more emotionally resilient future.



SONIA M. TOLEDO, PhD, founded Dignity of Children® in 2008 to develop children and youth holistically and reduce education inequality. She has a PhD in education and 25-plus years of experience building quality after-school programs. She focuses on emotional intelligence training, youth development, and organizational culture change. Dignity of Children® serves after-school programs nationally, providing exceptional child and youth development training programs.





  •  Abouhasera, S., Abu-Madi, M., Al-Hamdani, M., & Abdallah, A. M. (2023). Exploring Emotional Intelligence and Sociodemographics in Higher Education; the Imperative for Skills and Curriculum Development. Behavioral Sciences (2076-328X), 13(11), 911.  
  • Shafait, Z., & Huang, J. (2023). From knowledge-oriented leadership to emotional intelligence to creative performance: teachers’ assessment from Chinese higher education. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues, 1–14.  

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