Why Wealth Management Leaders Need to Develop Emotional Intelligence

Wealth management could use a greater injection of emotional intelligence in its system.


Industry leaders who lack emotional intelligence (also known as emotional quotient or EQ) wreak havoc on the workplace by exuding dominance over team members. By focusing on financial figures with a production-line mentality, they suppress innovation in exchange for control. In turn, they create false narratives about their own leadership, talent management, and firm sustainability.


EQ-deficient leaders operate based on a regressive version of Gillette’s ‘80s mantra, “Never let them see you sweat.” Denying emotions serves as the winning strategy. They create cultures that allow individuals to hold leadership positions based on narrow views of intelligence quotient (IQ), authority, and performance. What they don’t see is that these cultures also celebrate arrogance undergirded by personal insecurities.


Conversely, wealth management leaders who possess strong EQ skills engage, manage, and direct their own emotions in a productive manner. They trace their own feelings to the root causes and tend to them. As leaders, they build personal capacity and refine their ability to address situations requiring deep listening, empathy, open communication, and vulnerability in the workplace. They are experts at assisting their team members with being their best selves.


As you might imagine, leaders who possess higher levels of EQ are considerably better at leading a company to positive growth and trajectory.


Fortunately, there are many practical ways for wealth management leaders to assess their EQ skills.

  • Take inventory of personal traumas. Often, unresolved wounds result in hurt feelings that spill over into personal and work relationships. If not addressed, you could make other people’s lives miserable as a way to appease your own hurt. Think about how you can solve these problems and seek help if needed.

  • Take inventory of workplace traumas with a cultural assessment. Surveying your team regarding their workplace experience can shed valuable insight on the firm’s true culture and provide opportunities to improve communication, engagement, and team composition. Create a council to monitor and manage ongoing efforts to nurture a healthy work environment.

  • Revisit your firm’s mission, vision, and values statements with a EQ lens. Review your firm’s messaging and determine if the firm’s existence, structure, and future incorporates authentic relationship-building, open communication, and accountability.

Developing EQ skills requires #DoingTheWork on a personal level to reap the benefit on a professional level. As with any skill, it takes study, practice, and ongoing commitment. Start today by taking an inside look and challenging yourself to let them see you sweat.


This article written by Lazetta Rainey Braxton, MBA, CFP® originally appeared in Financial Planning.

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