“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion”. ~ Dale Carnegie


In Indonesia millennials account for 41% of the workforce and by 2020, millennials will represent 50% of the global workforce (source: PWC, Millennials at work Reshaping the workplace). This generation Y is flooding the labor market and will be influencing the economy on a whole new level. It’s crucial for any leader, especially those that have millennials in their company (most likely everyone who is reading this) to review their current leadership styles and understand what can drive and inspire this new generation.

“Millennials generally have higher emotional intelligence in the workplace than previous generations”. ~ Lynda Shaw, cognitive neuroscientist and business psychologist (Source: www.hrmagazine.co.uk).

Emotional Intelligence

During my career as a corporate warrior and now as an entrepreneur, I have experienced many emotions (highs and lows) and became aware of how those emotions can have a positive or negative effect on my ability to inspire and lead a team. To become a successful leader in today’s high tech and fast paced economy, it’s crucial to have a sense of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence can be defined by the following:

“The ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you”.

Your emotional intelligence is just like a muscle that you can train and strengthen. According to emotional intelligence expert and internationally known phychologist Daniel Goleman, there are 4 elements of your emotional intelligence that you can be more aware of and start developing today:

Self-awareness: This can be defined as having the ability to recognize one’s own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values and drivers and understanding their impact on others. This one sounds more obvious than it actually is. Like I mentioned in this article, this is a continuous process. But ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing? Are you clear on what your strengths and weaknesses are? I recommend reading Strengthsfinder 2.0 from Tom Rath to get you started.

Self-regulation: As a leader it is sometimes difficult to control your emotions. Several times I’ve been in situations where I wanted to throw some laptops out of the window (who has not?), but had to suppress these emotions to keep the team moving in the positive direction. Being calm is contagious, as is panic and fear. When you stay calm and positive you can think and communicate more clearly with your team.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they may feel or react to a certain situation. The more we can relate to others, the better we will become at understanding what motivates or upsets them. Simplest example is when employees call in sick. Sincerely ask how they are doing and you’ll see that empathy will create a better team feeling and motivation in the office. People want to know they are valued.

Build relationships: This is an easy one to forget. With all deadlines, meetings and the crazy to-do lists we often forget to build healthy and productive relationships in the office. But this is essential to gain higher emotional intelligence. The ability to communicate effectively and properly will move people in a desired direction.


With the increasing number of millennial representing the workforce it’s getting more crucial for any leader to master their emotional intelligence. A skill that generation Y is much more sensitive for compared to previous generations. Emotional intelligence can be a powerful tool for exceeding goals, improving critical work relationships and creating an inspiring workplace.