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How To Be Emotionally Intelligent In Leadership: Why It's Important

By Julian Lewis June 25, 2024

How To Be Emotionally Intelligent In Leadership: Why It's Important

Introduction: Understanding Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

In today's rapidly changing business landscape, the ability to lead effectively is more crucial than ever. However, traditional notions of leadership that prioritize technical skills and a high IQ are no longer sufficient. Emotional intelligence (EI), often measured as an emotional quotient (EQ), has emerged as a fundamental attribute of effective leaders who inspire and achieve remarkable results.

Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone upon which great leadership is built. It enables leaders to manage their own emotions and understand the emotions of others, fostering a workplace environment conducive to high performance and employee satisfaction. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent can navigate the complexities of organizational dynamics with finesse, turning potential conflicts into opportunities for collaboration.

What exactly does it mean to be an emotionally intelligent leader? At its core, emotional intelligence involves four key capabilities: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. These skills allow leaders to perceive emotions, integrate emotion-related feelings, understand the information of those emotions, and manage them both internally and externally.

Consider the impact of a leader who can sense the team's mood after a stressful project and initiate a conversation to express empathy, offering support and fostering a sense of solidarity. Such leaders are adept at managing stress and communicating effectively, ensuring that their teams are not just functional but also resilient and engaged.

Moreover, research from the International Journal of Health Policy and Management suggests that leaders with high EI are less likely to experience health problems typically associated with high-stress roles. They are more proficient at managing stress and can prevent it from undermining their physical health and professional performance.

In the following sections, we will explore the definition and dimensions of emotional intelligence, understand its significance in leadership, and discover how to cultivate and enhance these vital skills. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of how being emotionally intelligent can transform your approach to leadership, paving the way for more effective leadership and strong relationships within your organization.

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What is Emotional Intelligence or EQ?

Emotional Intelligence Definition

Emotional Intelligence (EI), also known as Emotional Quotient (EQ), is a multifaceted skill that is increasingly recognized as a crucial factor in achieving professional and personal success. Defined in the early 1990s by scholars John Mayer and Peter Salovey, and later popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman, EI encompasses the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and reason with emotions, both in oneself and in others.

At its core, emotional intelligence involves four primary competencies:

  1. Self-awareness: This is the capacity to recognize and understand one's own emotions and emotional states. A leader with high self-awareness understands how their feelings affect their thoughts, decisions, and interactions with others.
  2. Self-management: Also known as self-regulation, this involves managing one's emotions constructively, especially in stressful situations. It includes the ability to stay calm, maintain focus, and remain adaptable in the face of change and uncertainty.
  3. Social awareness: This skill allows individuals to understand and empathize with the emotions of others. It involves perceiving and reacting to the mood, emotions, and motives of others, fostering an effective and compassionate communication environment.
  4. Relationship management: Central to EI, this involves using awareness of one's own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. This competency is vital for building and maintaining strong relationships, navigating social networks, and inspiring and influencing others.

Understanding and developing these competencies can lead to better leadership outcomes. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are not only adept at managing their own emotional states but are also skilled in perceiving and positively influencing the emotional states of those around them. This dual capability is crucial in creating a harmonious and productive workplace.

Furthermore, emotional intelligence enhances a leader's ability to handle office dynamics, manage stress, and communicate effectively, making it a powerful tool not just for managing emotions but for driving success. The modern workplace, with its emphasis on teamwork and rapid change, particularly values leaders who can understand and navigate the complex emotional landscape of their organizations. Through fostering strong relationships and a deep understanding of interpersonal dynamics, emotionally intelligent leaders can create a workplace environment conducive to long-term success and employee satisfaction.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

How EI Drives Effective Leadership

Emotional intelligence (EI) is more than just a buzzword in the realm of leadership development—it's a core skill that can significantly impact leadership effectiveness. In environments where pressures are high and challenges are constant, leaders with high emotional intelligence are crucial for maintaining team morale and fostering a culture of resilience.

Effective leaders are those who can manage not only their own emotions but also positively influence the emotions of those around them. This ability allows them to create an atmosphere of trust and openness, where team members feel valued and understood. Such environments are conducive to innovative thinking and can greatly enhance team performance and motivation.

Moreover, leaders with high EI are adept at managing stress, both their own and that of their team. They are skilled at recognizing when emotions might affect decision-making and can navigate these situations without compromising the team's morale or productivity. Their ability to manage emotions effectively helps in preventing conflicts and smoothing over potential issues before they escalate, making them invaluable during stressful situations.

The correlation between emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness is supported by numerous studies. Leaders who exhibit high emotional intelligence are more likely to inspire confidence and loyalty in their teams. They are better equipped to handle the dynamics of human relationships and are more adept at motivating their teams towards achieving business goals. These leaders understand that emotions drive people and people drive performance.

In essence, emotional intelligence enhances a leader's ability to engage with others on an emotional level, which is a fundamental aspect of effective leadership. This emotional connection fosters a collaborative and supportive work environment, enhancing job satisfaction and overall performance. In conclusion, the ability of leaders to understand and manage emotions effectively is not just advantageous; it is essential for any leader aiming to excel in the modern business world.

How To Be Emotionally Intelligent In Leadership: Why It's Important

Four Skills for Emotional Intelligence


Self-awareness is the foundational skill of emotional intelligence that involves recognizing and understanding one's own emotions and how they affect one’s thoughts and behaviors. Leaders with high self-awareness can monitor their emotional states and recognize how their feelings influence their decisions and interactions. This introspective capability is crucial for maintaining objectivity and rationality in decision-making processes.


Self-management refers to the ability to manage one's emotions constructively, especially in challenging situations. It encompasses self-regulation skills such as impulse control, stress management, and adaptability. Leaders proficient in self-management maintain their composure under pressure and can handle uncertainties or crises effectively. This skill is vital for leaders to perform consistently and ethically, regardless of external pressures.

Social Awareness

Social awareness is the skill of being attuned to others' emotions and understanding social dynamics within a group or organization. This involves empathy, which allows leaders to perceive and consider others' feelings and perspectives. Leaders with strong social awareness can detect the emotional climate of their team and respond appropriately, fostering an inclusive and respectful workplace environment.

Relationship Management

Relationship management involves using an understanding of one’s own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. This skill is essential for effective leadership as it encompasses influencing and inspiring others, mentoring, conflict management, and teamwork. Leaders who excel in relationship management are able to build and maintain healthy relationships that encourage loyalty and cooperation among team members.

Integrating the Four EI Skills: To be truly effective, leaders must integrate these four emotional intelligence skills. Self-awareness allows them to recognize their emotional triggers and the subsequent impact on their behavior and decision-making. With self-management, they can control impulses and manage their emotional reactions. Social awareness enables them to understand and empathize with their team's emotions, while relationship management helps them to navigate and optimize those interactions.

Together, these skills enable leaders to create a positive work environment where emotional awareness leads to greater understanding and cooperation. By cultivating these skills, leaders not only improve their own emotional intelligence but also drive the emotional and professional growth of their teams, ultimately enhancing organizational performance and success.

Building Emotional Intelligence: Four Key Skills to Increasing Your EQ

Developing Emotional Awareness

Emotional awareness is the skill of recognizing and understanding both your own emotions and those of others. This involves being attentive to emotional cues, regardless of how subtle they are, and appreciating the impact these emotions have on thoughts and actions. Leaders who cultivate emotional awareness are better equipped to respond to workplace challenges with sensitivity and insight, enhancing their decision-making and leadership effectiveness.

Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness involves maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. It's a practice that helps in managing and reducing stress while fostering clear thinking and emotional resilience. For leaders, mindfulness can improve focus, reduce reactivity, and enable more considered responses to complex interpersonal dynamics. Regular mindfulness practice can dramatically increase a leader's emotional intelligence by enhancing their ability to remain engaged and present.

Enhancing Social Skills

Social skills in emotional intelligence refer to the abilities used to interact, communicate, and negotiate with others effectively. These skills are crucial for building and maintaining strong, healthy relationships both in and out of the workplace. Leaders with strong social skills are better at teamwork, conflict resolution, and can inspire and influence people effectively. Improving social skills involves active listening, clear communication, and the ability to persuade and lead others.

Learning from Social and Emotional Learning Programs

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs are designed to develop the emotional and social competencies of individuals. For leaders, participating in or promoting SEL programs can provide tools and techniques to enhance emotional intelligence skills among employees, leading to a more harmonious and productive workplace. These programs often cover a range of competencies, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

Integrating Skills for a High EQ: To enhance emotional intelligence, leaders should focus on building and integrating these key skills. Developing emotional awareness provides the groundwork for better understanding oneself and others. Mindfulness deepens this understanding by promoting a balanced and reflective approach to emotions. Enhanced social skills ensure effective communication and stronger relationships, and SEL programs offer structured learning to improve these competencies. Together, these efforts lead to a significant improvement in emotional intelligence, fostering a leadership style that is more responsive, empathetic, and effective.

How To Be Emotionally Intelligent In Leadership: Why It's Important

How to Identify a Lack of Emotional Intelligence

Signs and Symptoms in Professional Settings

Recognizing a lack of emotional intelligence (EI) can be crucial for addressing and improving workplace dynamics and personal effectiveness. Here are common signs that might indicate a lower level of emotional intelligence in a professional setting:

  1. Poor Handling of Criticism: Individuals with low EI often respond to criticism defensively, rather than viewing it as an opportunity for growth. This can manifest as anger, denial, or blame.
  2. Limited Understanding of Others' Feelings: A key sign of low emotional intelligence is difficulty in perceiving and understanding the emotions of others. Such individuals may seem disconnected or insensitive to the feelings of their colleagues.
  3. Inadequate Emotional Regulation: Frequent emotional outbursts or inability to manage emotions effectively, especially in stressful situations, are indicative of low EI. These might include inappropriate anger, anxiety, or sadness that seem out of proportion to the situation.
  4. Difficulty in Forming Strong Relationships: If someone struggles to build or maintain stable, healthy interpersonal relationships at work, it could be a sign of low emotional intelligence. They might have few workplace allies and often experience conflicts with co-workers.
  5. Poor Communication Skills: Effective communication involves understanding both the content and the emotional context of the message being communicated. Individuals with low EI often struggle to express their thoughts and feelings clearly and might misinterpret others' messages.
  6. Lack of Empathy: An inability to empathize with others can limit a person's ability to engage and collaborate effectively. This might result in being perceived as cold or uncaring.
  7. Resistance to Change: Low EI is often accompanied by a lack of adaptability and flexibility, leading to significant resistance to new ideas or changes within the organization.
  8. Inability to Reflect on Personal Emotions: Individuals with low emotional intelligence might find it difficult to explore and reflect on their own emotions. They may not understand why they feel a certain way, which can hinder personal and professional growth.

Recognizing these signs is the first step in helping individuals or teams to develop stronger emotional competencies. Developing EI can lead to improved communication, stronger relationships, better conflict management, and overall more effective leadership.

How to Become More Emotionally Intelligent

Practical Steps and Daily Practices

Improving emotional intelligence (EI) is a continuous process that requires commitment and practice. Here are some practical steps and daily practices that can help enhance your EI:

  1. Practice Self-Reflection: Spend time each day reflecting on your emotions and how they influence your behavior. Journaling can be a useful tool to explore and understand your emotional reactions and the situations that trigger them. This practice enhances self-awareness, a core component of EI.
  2. Develop Active Listening Skills: Emotionally intelligent leaders excel in listening actively to others. This means fully concentrating on the speaker, understanding their message, responding thoughtfully, and remembering key points. Active listening helps build stronger relationships and improves understanding and empathy.
  3. Seek Feedback: Regular feedback on your interactions and behavior can provide insights into how you are perceived by others. Seek constructive criticism from peers, mentors, or coaches, and use this feedback to refine your social skills and emotional interactions.
  4. Manage Stress Effectively: High levels of stress can impair emotional intelligence by affecting your ability to think clearly and react appropriately. Develop stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. These practices help maintain calmness and enable better self-regulation.
  5. Improve Your Response to Criticism: Instead of reacting defensively to criticism, try to listen calmly and see it as an opportunity to learn. Ask questions to understand the perspective of the critic better and acknowledge valid points to improve your behavior and emotional responses.
  6. Empathize with Others: Make a deliberate effort to understand and share the feelings of others. Try to view situations from other people’s perspectives, which can increase your social awareness and enhance relationship management skills.
  7. Practice Emotional Regulation: Learn to control and manage your emotions, especially in difficult situations. Techniques such as pausing before responding, considering the consequences of your actions, and recognizing emotional triggers are effective ways to improve self-control and emotional stability.
  8. Celebrate Emotional Successes: Recognize and reward yourself when you successfully manage a challenging emotional situation. This reinforces positive behavior and motivates you to continue improving your emotional intelligence.

By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can gradually enhance your emotional intelligence, leading to better personal interactions, increased leadership effectiveness, and a more fulfilling life both personally and professionally.

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EI as Behavior Rather Than Intelligence

Behavioral vs. Cognitive Approaches to EI

Emotional intelligence (EI) is often discussed in terms of personal attributes and cognitive abilities, but a significant component of EI is behavioral. Unlike cognitive intelligence, which relates to reasoning, learning, and problem-solving abilities, emotional intelligence focuses more on the behaviors and interpersonal skills that govern our interactions with others.

Behavioral Approach to EI: The behavioral approach to emotional intelligence emphasizes how we manage our emotions and relationships. It involves observable actions, such as how we respond to conflict, manage stress, express empathy, and communicate in social settings. This approach is practical and focuses on modifying behavior through techniques like role-playing, behavioral modeling, and real-life practice. It is particularly useful in leadership training where the application of these skills can be directly observed and assessed.

Cognitive Approach to EI: On the other hand, the cognitive approach to emotional intelligence involves understanding the mental processes underlying emotion recognition, emotional understanding, and emotional regulation. This approach is more about the internal workings of the mind and how we can better recognize and understand both our emotions and those of others. It includes developing awareness of one's emotional states and enhancing the ability to analyze and interpret the emotional context of situations.

Integrating both approaches provides a comprehensive understanding of emotional intelligence. While the cognitive approach offers the theoretical foundation necessary for understanding emotional dynamics, the behavioral approach translates this knowledge into practical actions. This integration helps individuals not only understand their emotions and those of others but also manage and express these emotions effectively in real-world scenarios.

In conclusion, considering emotional intelligence as a behavior rather than just an intellectual ability allows for a more rounded development of EI skills. It emphasizes the importance of practical application in everyday interactions and the workplace, making it a crucial aspect of personal development and leadership.

EI as a Measure of Conformity

Conformity vs. Authenticity in Emotional Responses

Emotional intelligence (EI) significantly influences how individuals conform to or deviate from the emotional norms within their social and professional environments. Balancing conformity and authenticity in emotional responses is a nuanced aspect of EI that affects personal and career success. Understanding this balance can empower leaders to navigate complex interpersonal dynamics effectively.

The Role of Conformity in Emotional Intelligence: Conformity in emotional responses often involves aligning one's emotions and reactions according to societal or organizational expectations. It is crucial in maintaining harmony and cohesion within a group. For instance, in a high-stakes business meeting, an emotionally intelligent person might manage their anger or frustration to maintain a constructive atmosphere, choosing to express these emotions more constructively later. This aspect of EI, which can be seen as emotional self-regulation or interpersonal intelligence, helps in managing personal goals and emotions in alignment with the larger group's needs.

The Importance of Authenticity: However, excessive conformity can sometimes undermine authenticity, leading to situations where individuals suppress their genuine emotional experiences. Authenticity in emotional intelligence involves being true to one's feelings while still being mindful of others' emotions. This can enhance trust and credibility, as co-workers and subordinates often value transparency in their leaders. For example, an authentic leader might openly share their concerns about a project, which can encourage a culture of open communication and mutual respect.

Balancing Conformity and Authenticity: The challenge for most effective leaders is to find the right balance between conformity and authenticity. This balance is crucial for personal and career success, as it affects job performance and interpersonal relationships. Leaders must navigate their own emotions and the expectations of others, which requires a high degree of self-awareness and cognitive ability to perceive and understand the emotions of others.

Effective leaders use their emotional intelligence to determine when to conform to the emotional norms of the group and when to assert their authenticity. This decision-making process involves understanding the potential impact of their emotions on others and choosing the best course of action that aligns with their personal values and the organization's goals.

Practical Applications in the Workplace: In practical terms, leaders can foster an environment where both conformity and authenticity are valued by encouraging open dialogue about emotions and their impact on work. This can be facilitated through regular feedback sessions, team-building exercises that focus on emotional awareness, and training programs designed to enhance emotional intelligence. Such initiatives help individuals understand and manage their emotional states better, leading to improved job performance and more robust professional relationships.

In conclusion, while EI often requires a degree of conformity to facilitate social harmony, it also necessitates authenticity to foster genuine interpersonal connections. Leaders who master this balance are better equipped to inspire and lead effectively, adapt to changing circumstances, and achieve sustained success in their careers.

How To Be Emotionally Intelligent In Leadership: Why It's Important

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Job Performance

How EI Contributes to Success and Productivity

Emotional intelligence (EI) has become a critical factor in determining professional success and productivity in the workplace. A high degree of EI enables individuals to excel in their roles by effectively managing their emotions and navigating interpersonal relationships with ease. Here's how EI contributes to job performance and overall career success:

Enhanced Interpersonal Relationships: A core aspect of EI is the ability to understand and manage the emotions of oneself and others. This capability is crucial in the workplace where effective collaboration and teamwork are often key to achieving objectives. Emotionally intelligent individuals are adept at building strong relationships with co-workers, which facilitates better communication and conflict resolution.

Improved Leadership Skills: Leaders with high emotional intelligence can inspire and motivate their teams more effectively than those with lower EI. They are perceived as more empathetic and understanding, which can lead to higher levels of trust and loyalty from their team members. This aspect of EI enhances their ability to lead, especially during challenging times or when quick adaptation is required.

Better Stress Management: The ability to manage stress is a significant benefit of high EI. Emotionally intelligent people can identify stressors and use techniques to reduce their impact, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or proactive planning. This ability not only helps in maintaining personal health and well-being but also ensures sustained productivity and performance at work.

Increased Adaptability to Change: Change is constant in most work environments, and how one reacts to change can impact career success. Individuals with high EI are usually more adaptable and open to new experiences. They can manage their reactions to change and help others navigate through transitions smoothly, which is invaluable in dynamic business environments.

Effective Conflict Resolution: Conflicts, whether between individuals or within teams, can derail productivity if not managed effectively. Emotionally intelligent individuals are skilled at recognizing the emotional underpinnings of conflicts and can negotiate solutions that address the needs and concerns of all parties involved. This ability is crucial for maintaining a harmonious work environment.

Enhanced Decision-Making Abilities: EI contributes to better decision-making by allowing individuals to remain calm and collected in the face of adversity. By understanding and regulating their emotions, they can assess situations objectively and make informed decisions that are not clouded by undue emotions or stress.

Career Advancement: Ultimately, the combination of strong interpersonal skills, effective leadership, stress management, adaptability, conflict resolution, and sound decision-making can accelerate career advancement. Employers value these traits, as they are indicative of high potential and capability within organizational roles.

In conclusion, emotional intelligence is more than just a set of skills—it's a transformative tool that enhances job performance and leads to substantial career success. By investing in developing their EI, professionals can not only improve their workplace effectiveness but also position themselves for higher roles and greater responsibilities in the future.

Mindfulness is an Ally of Emotional and Social Awareness

Integrating Mindfulness into Leadership

In the fast-paced and often high-stress environment of modern workplaces, mindfulness has emerged as a powerful tool for leaders to enhance their emotional and social awareness. This practice not only aids in managing one's own emotions and stress but also in fostering a deep understanding of others' emotional states, thereby improving leadership effectiveness and workplace dynamics.

Enhancing Self-Awareness and Emotional Regulation: Mindfulness helps leaders become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. By practicing mindfulness, leaders can observe their emotions without judgment, which is crucial in understanding their personal triggers and habitual reactions. This self-awareness allows for greater emotional regulation, enabling leaders to choose how they respond in various situations rather than reacting impulsively. This control is vital in high-pressure scenarios where strategic thought and calmness are required.

Improving Focus and Decision-Making: Regular mindfulness practice enhances mental clarity and focus, which directly impacts decision-making abilities. A mindful leader can maintain their presence of mind, filter out distractions, and concentrate on the information that matters most. This level of focus allows for more thoughtful and informed decisions, which can significantly affect the success of their team and organization.

Strengthening Empathy and Social Skills: Mindfulness fosters empathy, a key component of emotional intelligence that entails understanding and sharing the feelings of others. Empathetic leaders are better equipped to handle interpersonal interactions and conflicts within their teams. They can build stronger, more genuine connections with team members, leading to improved trust and communication.

Managing Stress and Promoting Resilience: One of the most significant benefits of mindfulness in leadership is its ability to manage stress. Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and being present can reduce stress levels not only for the individual practicing them but also for the entire team. A leader who is calm and composed under pressure can help maintain a peaceful and productive workplace environment.

Encouraging a Mindful Culture: When leaders practice mindfulness, they set a precedent for the rest of the organization. By integrating mindfulness into their leadership style, they encourage a work culture that values calmness, thoughtful responses, and attentive listening. This culture can lead to reduced workplace stress, better collaboration among team members, and a more supportive work environment.

In conclusion, integrating mindfulness into leadership is not just about enhancing personal capabilities—it's about transforming the way leaders interact with their teams and manage their responsibilities. Mindfulness is an ally that supports both emotional and social awareness, making it an indispensable tool for effective leaders in any organizational setting.

How To Be Emotionally Intelligent In Leadership: Why It's Important

Conclusion: Harnessing Emotional Intelligence for Leadership Excellence

The Continuous Journey of Emotional Growth

The path to becoming an emotionally intelligent leader is both continuous and evolving. It demands a consistent commitment to self-awareness, self-management, social intelligence, and relationship management. These elements form the core of emotional intelligence (EI) and are pivotal in achieving leadership excellence.

Self-awareness is the foundation of EI. It involves understanding your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and actions. Leaders who are self-aware can perceive their emotional state even in high-stress situations, such as important meetings or when handling unpleasant emotions. This awareness allows them to manage their responses more effectively, ensuring that their decisions are thoughtful and considerate of the broader organizational impact.

Self-confidence and the ability to manage one's own emotions are crucial for leaders. Those who can express and control their emotions, especially under pressure, set a powerful example for their teams, fostering a workplace culture that values emotional health and resilience.

Understanding and perceiving the emotions of others is a skill that significantly enhances interpersonal interactions. Leaders with this ability can empathize with their co-workers, recognizing and reacting appropriately to their emotional experiences. This skill not only aids in reducing stress among team members but also enhances team cohesion and morale.

Social intelligence allows leaders to navigate the complex social interactions within their organizations effectively. It enables them to define and redefine EI within the context of their interpersonal relationships, ensuring that they can lead with empathy and understanding, which are vital for conflict management and building strong, supportive teams.

The impact of emotional intelligence on job performance cannot be overstated. It influences every interaction, decision, and response, making it a critical component of effective leadership. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent are better equipped to handle the pressures and challenges of leadership, drive their teams toward success, and achieve their personal and professional goals.

In essence, the journey of emotional growth in leadership is about continuously striving to understand and manage not just your own emotions but also those of the people around you. It's about cultivating a balanced approach where emotions are not just felt but are understood and used as a guide towards more effective leadership.

Read more about: Leadership, Professional Development, Well-being

About Julian Lewis

Julian Lewis is a driven and accomplished professional with a passion for driving positive change in the business world. He is the co-founder and COO at Zella Life.

His own experience as a professional of color in a Fortune 500 company led him to discover the limitations for advancement that many professionals like himself face. Determined to reach his full potential, Julian became an established business coach and entrepreneur, committed to supporting others in their pursuit of personal and professional growth.

Today, Julian is a recognized corporate trainer, coach, and leader, known for his ability to leverage real-life experiences and evidence-based methodologies to affect positive change within individuals and organizations. As the leader of Zella Life's coaching division, he is dedicated to empowering individuals and businesses to achieve their full potential.