Like it or not, leaders need to manage the mood of their organizations. The most gifted leaders accomplish that by using a mysterious blend of psychological abilities known as emotional intelligence. They are self-aware and empathetic. They can read and regulate their own emotions while intuitively grasping how others feel and gauging their organization's emotional state. But where does emotional intelligence come from, and how do leaders learn to use it? In this article, 18 leaders and scholars (including business executives, leadership researchers, psychologists, an autism expert, and a symphony conductor) explore the nature and management of emotional intelligence--its sources, uses, and abuses. Their responses varied, but some common themes emerged: the importance of consciously--and conscientiously--honing one's skills, the double-edged nature of self-awareness, and the danger of letting any one emotional intelligence skill dominate. Among their observations: Psychology professor John Mayer, who co-developed the concept of emotional intelligence, warns managers not to be confused by popular definitions of the term, which suggest that if you have a certain set of personality traits then you automatically possess emotional intelligence. Neuropsychologist Elkhonon Goldberg agrees with professors Daniel Goleman and Robert Goffee that emotional intelligence can be learned--but only by people who already show an aptitude for it. Cult expert Janja Lalich points out that leaders can use their emotional intelligence skills for ill in the same way they can for good. "Sometimes the only difference is [the leader's] intent," she says. And business leaders Carol Bartz, William George, Sidney Harman, and Andrea jung (of Autodesk, Medtronic, Harman International, and Avon respectively) describe situations in which emotional intelligence traits such as self-awareness and empathy have helped them and their companies perform at a higher level.