Excellence in Leadership

Maximizing the power of emotional intelligence in the energy industry


In the highly competitive and dynamic energy industry, success goes beyond technical expertise and innovation. It extends to a profound understanding of human interactions and emotional intelligence. During her keynote presentation at AAPL’s inaugural Women in Energy Institute, Oxy President and CEO Vicki Hollub emphasized the significance of emotional intelligence in professional growth, underscoring its role as a critical attribute for achieving success at the highest echelons of the corporate ladder. The energy industry in particular thrives on building relationships and developing connections. 

These words from Hollub — the first female CEO of a supermajor — shed light on a fundamental truth that transcends the energy sector: Emotional intelligence is a pivotal factor in career advancement. This invaluable skill, often referred to as EQ (emotional quotient), complements IQ (intelligence quotient) and encompasses the capacity to recognize, comprehend, manage and influence one’s own emotions and those of others.

The ability to work effectively with colleagues, superiors and subordinates is a cornerstone of success in any field. In the context of the energy industry, where collaboration, teamwork and leadership are paramount, emotional intelligence becomes even more critical. Landmen, geologists, engineers, scientists and managers may possess exceptional technical skills, but their capacity to navigate the complexities of human relationships and communication plays a decisive role in their careers. Land professionals are inherently skilled at relationship-building, so developing a high level of EQ will only enhance their worth on the executive team. 

Hollub’s observation also resonates with the broader business world, where numerous studies have established a direct link between emotional intelligence and professional success. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that EQ is twice as important in contributing to excellence in leadership as IQ and technical skills combined. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to foster positive workplace environments, inspire their teams and handle conflicts and challenges effectively.

Forbes reports that emotional intelligence is increasingly prioritized in hiring and promotion decisions across industries. It is recognized as an indicator of an individual’s ability to adapt to change, build strong relationships and manage stress and pressure. As a result, organizations are actively investing in training programs to nurture and develop emotional intelligence among their employees.

In the energy industry, where rapid technological advancements, shifting market dynamics and environmental concerns present constant challenges, professionals who possess high emotional intelligence are better equipped to lead, adapt and innovate. They can foster collaborative work environments and address the emotional needs of their teams during times of stress or uncertainty.

Vicki Hollub’s insightful remarks highlight a universal truth about the importance of emotional intelligence in the energy industry and beyond. While technical skills are ESSENTIAL, the ability to connect with others on an emotional level, communicate effectively and build meaningful relationships is a career accelerator. Recognizing the significance of emotional intelligence and actively developing this skill can pave the way to success in the C-suite and beyond. 

We want to hear from you!

As AAPL leadership works with the Education Committee to develop programming for our institutes, Annual Meeting and new seminars, we would love to have your thoughts as a valued member of AAPL. Would you like to see leadership topics such as emotional intelligence covered in our programming? Are there other new topics you would like us to explore? Please reach out to leannc@landman.org to share future topic suggestions and to let us know if you are interested in the subject matter as an attendee, speaker or panelist. We appreciate your input!