Business Leader Richard Zahn Says “Emotional Intelligence” is Critical to Leadership

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A recent Huffington Post article highlights the importance of emotions in business leadership, prompting a response from Richard Zahn.

According to Richard Zahn, emotional awareness is a key part of leadership in today’s business environment—and he is hardly the only one who thinks so. A recent editorial in The Huffington Post contends that emotions are becoming increasingly central among the business leaders of today, citing a wealth of examples of “humility,” “fearlessness,” and “the power of love” being embraced by today’s business leaders. The editorial concludes that true leadership, in today’s business world, calls for “bold empathy,” a statement that has earned Zahn’s attention.

Richard Zahn has been an entrepreneur and business developer for years, focusing mostly on real estate and construction companies. He has released a new statement to the press, offering his own insight into the Huffington Post editorial and the need for today’s leaders to exhibit emotional intelligence.

“Strength through humility is an important Zen concept, and one example among many of how understanding different attitudes and emotions—and being aware of the attitudes and emotions you tend to exhibit—can prove invaluable to business leadership,” says Richard Zahn, in his press statement. He goes on to provide a few examples. “Getting teammates to be responsible requires forgiveness, along with the implementation of a student/mentor management style. The action plan is that through allowing limited failure, and through implementing smart, execution-based turning point analysis, you can encourage your employees to push themselves toward new—and great—things. All of this requires an attitude of empathy.”

Zahn’s comments find affirmation in the article from The Huffington Post, which advocates emotional awareness and emphases on concepts such as love and forgiveness. The article contends that there are hardly unsuitable topics for a work environment, but rather that they dovetail with broader, cultural shifts toward “heart-based leadership,” even in business.

The article refers to this style of leadership as an example of “tough love,” a description that wins the approval of Richard Zahn. “The idea is that leaders need to spur their employees to take risks and to constantly work at bettering themselves,” he notes. “This kind of leadership is challenging because it is difficult and scary for employees to push themselves and to aspire to greater levels of achievement—which is why it is necessary for employers to exhibit patience, kindness, and forgiveness when mistakes are made. This is the only way to create a truly effective, and emotionally-healthy, workforce, made up of dynamic and motivated employees.”

The Huffington Post describes this type of leader as “a bold empath,” likening this leadership style to that of “the demanding guru pushing the student beyond his/her perceived limits, the unflinching sensei,” and even the coach, offering heartfelt but firm pep talks in the locker room.

Ultimately, the article encourages leaders to embrace a leadership style that engages the heart and the emotions every bit as much as it does the mind; Richard Zahn offers his agreement to this tough but important concept.


Richard Zahn is a business leader, noted philanthropist, and real estate development professional with years of experience. He is particularly passionate about developing multifamily and master planned communities.

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Joan Olsen
PR Management Inc.
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