Emotional intelligence (EI) is necessary for the development of interpersonal and professional competence in nurses. We argue that the concept of emotional intelligence has particular relevance for mental health nursing leadership. In this critique, we examine the recent empirical evidence (2010-2014) related to emotional intelligence, in general, and nursing, specifically. Correlations between emotional intelligence and better overall health, increased work satisfaction, higher spiritual well-being, and decreased risk of job burnout are noted. We offer suggestions for mental health nurse leaders in developing successful project management teams and improving retention of current leaders. We also provide suggestions for future research.