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The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Sales Leadership: Insights from Ken Lundin

Emotional intelligence can be the difference between success and failure. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions in yourself and others. It helps you communicate effectively, build strong relationships, and make better decisions. In this article, we’ll explore the role of emotional intelligence in sales leadership and provide insights from Ken Lundin, an experienced sales leader and author of “B2B Sales Leadership: Best Practices for Building High Performance Teams.”

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that enable you to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of others. It includes:

  • Self-awareness: The ability to recognize your own emotions and their impact on your behavior and performance.
  • Self-regulation: The ability to manage your emotions and impulses, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Motivation: The drive to achieve your goals and pursue your passions.
  • Empathy: The ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others.
  • Social skills: The ability to communicate effectively, build relationships, and work collaboratively.

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in Sales Leadership?

Sales leadership is all about building relationships and motivating your team to achieve their goals. Emotional intelligence is critical to both of these tasks. Here are some reasons why:

  • Effective communication: Sales leaders need to be able to communicate clearly and persuasively with customers, prospects, and their team. This requires a high level of emotional intelligence, as you need to be able to recognize and respond to the emotions of others.
  • Building relationships: Sales is all about building strong relationships with customers. Emotional intelligence is essential for this, as it enables you to understand and connect with people on a deeper level.
  • Motivating your team: Sales can be a tough job, and it’s important to keep your team motivated and engaged. Emotional intelligence helps you understand what motivates your team members and how to inspire them to achieve their goals.

Insights from Ken Lundin

Ken Lundin is a sales leader with over 20 years of experience in building and managing high-performance sales teams. In his book “B2B Sales Leadership,” he shares his insights on how emotional intelligence can help sales leaders succeed. Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Self-awareness is key
 According to Lundin, self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. You need to be able to recognize your own emotions and their impact on your behavior in order to manage them effectively. This is particularly important in sales, where your emotions can have a significant impact on your performance.
  2. Empathy is essential 
Empathy is the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others. It’s essential in sales, as it enables you to connect with customers and build strong relationships. Lundin recommends taking the time to understand your customers’ needs, challenges, and goals, and using this information to tailor your approach.
  3. Emotional intelligence can be learned
 While some people may be naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, Lundin believes that emotional intelligence can be learned and developed over time. He recommends taking courses, reading books, and seeking out mentors to help you develop your emotional intelligence skills.
  4. Emotional intelligence is not the same as being nice
 Emotional intelligence is often associated with being kind and understanding, but it’s not just about being nice. It’s about being able to recognize and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, to achieve your goals.


Emotional intelligence is a critical skill for sales leaders. It enables you to communicate effectively, build strong relationships, and motivate your team to achieve their goals. By developing your emotional intelligence skills, you can become a more effective sales leader and drive better results for your organization. Remember to focus on self-awareness, empathy, and continuous learning to enhance your emotional intelligence.


  • What are some strategies for developing emotional intelligence as a sales leader?

To develop your emotional intelligence, try to increase your self-awareness, practice empathy, and seek out opportunities for learning and growth. Consider taking courses or working with a mentor to improve your emotional intelligence skills.

  • Can emotional intelligence be more important than sales skills in sales leadership?

While sales skills are certainly important in sales leadership, emotional intelligence can be just as crucial. A sales leader who has strong emotional intelligence can connect with customers and team members on a deeper level, leading to better relationships and more successful outcomes.

  • How can emotional intelligence help a sales leader build better relationships with customers?

By being able to recognize and understand the emotions of others, a sales leader with strong emotional intelligence can build trust and rapport with customers. They can tailor their approach to each customer’s unique needs, challenges, and goals, and communicate in a way that resonates with them.

  • Can emotional intelligence help a sales leader manage stress and pressure?

Yes, emotional intelligence can help a sales leader manage stress and pressure by increasing their self-awareness and self-regulation skills. With strong emotional intelligence, a sales leader can recognize when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, and take steps to manage their emotions and stay focused on their goals.

  • How can a sales leader incorporate emotional intelligence into their daily routine?

To incorporate emotional intelligence into your daily routine, try to practice mindfulness and reflection, take breaks when needed, and focus on building strong relationships with your team and customers. Remember to prioritize your emotional well-being and make time for self-care.

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