The Five Signs of an Emotionally Intelligent Hospitality Manager

Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, has become a buzzword among hiring authorities, especially in high-stress service industries like hospitality. Yet when it comes time to hire management talent, many hiring authorities struggle to know what to look for. Here are five signs of an emotionally intelligent hospitality manager:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Keeping Cool Under Pressure
  • Problem-Solving
  • Coachability


Self-awareness is invaluable in avoiding skills and knowledge gaps. A self-aware leader accurately identifies their strengths and can objectively assess their shortcomings. This is especially important when starting a new role. Self-awareness enables managers to ask for more coaching in a certain area, offer their strengths where needed, and build teams that complement their skills.


Empathy is the ability to identify emotions in others – essentially, reading the room. This is essential in managing employee morale, helping teams stay motivated, and leading customer service standards. For example, if a star employee’s performance suddenly slips, empathy allows a manager to realize it may be unrelated to work. Instead of adding stress by penalizing the employee, an empathetic manager listens and understands what the employee needs to get back on their feet faster.

Keeping Cool Under Pressure

Emotional intelligence does not mean that a person never gets mad, upset, or stressed. This is a common misconception. Emotionally intelligent managers still experience the full range of negative emotions. However, they can quickly identify and process those feelings, and react to stressors productively before those emotions escalate out of control.


Once emotions have been dealt with, people can more clearly find solutions. This could be as simple as calming oneself to focus on troubleshooting malfunctioning piece technology. Or it could mean setting aside frustrations with poor employee performance and objectively creating a strategic performance improvement plan.


While an emotionally intelligent manager must be able to lead others with a level head, they must also be receptive to input. When faced with their own mistakes, leaders must swallow their pride and find a way to fix the issue and move on. They must also take suggestions and criticism without reacting with defensive emotions.

Let Our Hospitality Recruiters Be a Resource

Finding the best talent for your hospitality business is not enough. You need the right leaders for your business. Our hospitality recruiters utilize a variety of assessments and screening techniques to look beyond candidates’ resumes and identify true hospitality leadership. Contact us to learn how!

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