How Do Emotionally Intelligent CEOs Handle Power?

Some of history’s best leaders were bold, courageous, focused and insightful. But the power that comes along with being in charge can go unchecked if those qualities aren’t balanced by a set of traits now widely known as emotional intelligence.

Being an emotionally intelligent CEO means having self-awareness, first and foremost. This is the ability to know what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it and how those feelings affect you and those around you. It’s also about having an accurate sense of your strengths and weaknesses. Even Superman had his kryptonite.

Experts agree that it’s also a good idea to have self-awareness about power and how you feel about it. In a piece for the Harvard Business Review, Annie McKee suggests asking yourself the following questions about power:

  • How do you feel about power? Where do you think your reactions to power and authority originated?
  • How do you feel about the trappings of power, such as money, cars, homes, vacations? Do you measure yourself with these yardsticks? How do you feel when you measure up? How do you treat people who don’t measure up? How do you feel when you think you’re falling short? What do you do with those feelings?
  • What is more important to you than power? Is it family, health, ethics? “Your answers will give you a clear indication of what you truly value in life,” she explains. “Being aware of this and letting your values guide your choices will go a long way toward helping you navigate your behaviors and thoughts at work.”

And yes, exploring these topics might feel uncomfortable, but as a CEO it’s your responsibility to keep doing the hard work that will ultimately benefit your organization.

“As a leader you need to constantly manage and be cognizant of your power’s influence,” says Neil Todhunter, president of HealthTechS3. “Continually reflect on your impact on your team, and strive for fairness, respect of individuals and organization culture, and building trust.” 

True leadership is not power but what you do with it. Let HealthTechS3 assist in mentoring and developing truly effective leaders for your organization. For more information on our services, visit or get in touch at or