(4:11 Video) “Developing Emotional Intelligence Skills for Sales Leaders.”


Share on LinkedIn

In this 4:11 video, learn how sales leaders must cultivate essential soft skills like emotional management, empathy, and assertiveness to foster trust, enhance execution, and address mental health challenges to consistently improve team performance.

Soft skills for sales leaders are not separate from hard sales results; they are essential in building strong teams, trust, and execution. There are three critical skills that sales leaders need to develop: emotion management, empathy, and assertiveness. 

Emotion management is crucial in building trust, as inconsistent emotions erode trust within a team. Empathy allows sales leaders to understand their team members’ perspectives and effectively communicate with them, while assertiveness ensures that expectations are set and execution is achieved. 

There is a growing interest in emotional intelligence training for sales managers, especially in the post-COVID pandemic environment where mental health and burnout are prevalent.

Summary Video Article:

Byline: By sales leadership and coaching experts Colleen Stanley and Steven Rosen


Sales leadership is a complex and multifaceted role that requires a unique set of skills. While technical expertise and industry knowledge are undoubtedly necessary, soft skills truly set exceptional sales leaders apart. This article will explore the essential skills that sales leaders need to develop to build successful teams, foster trust, and drive execution. We will delve into the insights shared by Colleen Stanley, an expert in emotional intelligence and sales leadership, as she discusses the importance of emotion management, empathy, and assertiveness. These skills not only contribute to building strong teams but also have a significant impact on overall sales performance. Let’s dive in and explore these essential skills in detail.

Emotion Management: The Foundation of Trust and Team Building

“Emotion management, often called emotional regulation, is a crucial skill for sales leaders. If you are a sales manager who really can’t manage your emotions, you’re up and down all the time, and so on good days, you’re good when a problem comes along. You’re not so good. And so what happens is your team sits there, whether remote or in an office, they’re sitting there going. Okay, what type of mood will they show up in when they have to wonder how you will show up? That erodes trust.” – Colleen Stanley

Emotion management is the ability to regulate and control one’s emotions effectively. It is a critical skill for sales leaders, directly impacting team dynamics and trust. When a sales manager cannot manage their emotions, it creates uncertainty and instability within the team. This can lead to a lack of trust and hinder collaboration and productivity. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that 28 percent of a leader’s success is attributed to emotional intelligence, with emotion management being one of the key pillars.

Empathy and Assertiveness: Striking the Right Balance

“Do not confuse empathy for letting people off the hook. But it’s important to be able to state somebody’s perspective because if people don’t feel like you’ve heard them, they can’t hear you. And there are times when your salespeople’s ears are on fire emotionally. So they can’t hear your great advice or counsel unless you can demonstrate empathy. But let’s add the assertiveness here because you can state their perspective, but maybe this is where you need to change expectations. The bar needs to be raised, a habitual attitude, and sales skills. When you can show empathy first and then assertiveness, then you’re stating what you need nicely.” – Colleen Stanley

Empathy and assertiveness are two skills that go hand in hand regarding effective sales leadership. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, while assertiveness is the ability to express oneself confidently and directly. It is crucial for sales leaders to strike the right balance between these two skills. While empathy allows leaders to connect with their team members on an emotional level and understand their perspectives, assertiveness ensures that expectations are communicated clearly and performance standards are upheld. Sales leaders can create a supportive yet high-performance environment by demonstrating empathy first and then following up with assertiveness.​

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Sales Leadership

“When we started in this work, people thought we were crazy. I had colleagues saying, no one’s going to buy that. But now we’re seeing a lot more interest in it. And I do believe it’s this post-COVID pandemic environment. You’ve got a lot of people talking about mental health, mental management, people stressing on and burning out. And so many soft skills can help resolve many of those problems. We’re seeing a heightened interest in it, which is a good thing.” – Colleen Stanley

Emotional intelligence, which encompasses skills such as emotion management, empathy, and assertiveness, is gaining recognition as a critical factor in sales leadership success. While there was initial skepticism around the importance of emotional intelligence, the post-COVID pandemic environment has brought mental health and well-being to the forefront. Sales leaders are now realizing the impact of soft skills on resolving issues related to stress, burnout, and overall team performance. As a result, there is a growing interest in developing emotional intelligence among sales leaders, recognizing its potential to drive success in the ever-evolving sales landscape.

Implications and Potential Impact

The implications of developing emotional intelligence in sales leadership are far-reaching. Sales leaders can create a positive and productive work environment by honing emotion management, empathy, and assertiveness. Trust is built, collaboration is enhanced, and team members feel heard and valued. This, in turn, leads to improved team performance and increased sales results. Additionally, emotional intelligence is crucial in navigating challenges and uncertainties in the sales landscape. Sales leaders who possess emotional intelligence are better equipped to handle change, adapt to new circumstances, and drive execution even in the face of adversity.​


The importance of emotional intelligence in sales leadership cannot be overstated. By investing in the development of emotional intelligence, organizations can create a culture of trust, collaboration, and high performance. As we move forward, sales leaders must recognize the value of emotional intelligence and prioritize its development in themselves and their teams. The future of sales leadership lies in the hands of those who can effectively navigate the complexities.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here