Role of emotional intelligence in effective nurse leadership
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Role of emotional intelligence in effective nurse leadership

Steve Lambert Associate professor in educational leadership, Faculty of Education and Children’s Services, University of Chester, Chester, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand the importance of emotionally intelligent leadership in nursing

  • To enhance your understanding of the components of emotionally intelligent leadership

  • To identify various practical activities that leaders could undertake to enhance their emotional intelligence skills

Emotionally intelligent leaders demonstrate a sensitivity to their own and other people’s psychological health and well-being, directing others towards common goals while developing effective personal relationships with their colleagues and team members. Emotional intelligence is particularly relevant in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, where nurse leaders need to demonstrate this skill when supporting their teams to manage high levels of stress, exhaustion and the risk of moral injury. This article explores emotional intelligence, discusses its importance as a characteristic of effective nurse leaders and managers, and suggests practical activities that leaders can undertake to develop their emotional intelligence skills.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11782

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Lambert S (2021) Role of emotional intelligence in effective nurse leadership. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11782

Published online: 13 September 2021

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