Time to check your EQ?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) has become a hot topic of late. This is because a lack of EQ has been shown to create disconnect in the workplace. Employees are  expecting at the very least, adequate, if not superior EQ skills of those they work with, and now maybe more than ever before.

We could speculate that this is because employees value a positive work environment more than in the past or because the need to work full time is urgent, and so job seekers are aware of choosing a space in which they can feel happy spending 40+ hours a week. Whatever the reason, anyone in a corporate work environment is expected, by all those they interact with, to have a high degree of EQ. If this level of emotional maturity is missing, credibility is often short-lived.

We are not always as rational as we think and the decisions we make are often unconscious, irrational reactions to our environment, sometimes to the detriment of ourselves and others and often to the ultimate detriment of our goals.

Practicing emotional intelligence is not just about social skills, it starts with developing an awareness of self, others and the environment within which we work and live. By developing and mastering adaptive behaviours we can bring out the best in ourselves and others and add value in all our interpersonal relations.

What is EQ and how does it affect your interaction with others?

Simply put, EQ is the ability to acknowledge and identify your own emotions as well as those of others and successfully manage both.

Not an easy thing to do. However, every day, corporate employees are expected to function with a high level of EQ in all their interactions.

Every workplace is comprised of a number of different and sometimes conflicting personalities who deliver on different strengths and skill sets required of the operation, who must work closely together in order for things to run smoothly.

Employees must use their emotional intelligence in almost all of their day-to-day interactions. So, being successful in our positions doesn’t only rely on the right academic background or a strong work ethic, it also requires us to have a handle on our emotions and have the wherewithal to check others on theirs.

The further we climb up the corporate ladder, the more our emotional intelligence skills come into play. A leader’s EQ is responsible for 58% of his or her job performance. Likewise, more than 90% of top performers in leadership positions possess a high degree of EQ.

Leaders set the emotional tone for others to follow. Our human brains are hardwired to cue in, both consciously and unconsciously, to the emotional states of other people. As a result, people trust what they see you doing much more than what they hear you saying. The emotional tone that permeates an organisation starts with each one of us and is entirely dependent on our EQ.


At this point, you should ask yourself what kind of emotional tone are you setting in your organisation and to what degree is this tone influenced by your EQ.

Research has shown that emotional intelligence is one of the single greatest contributors to performance in both personal and business leadership. While IQ and technical skills are obvious requirements for getting the job done, skills in emotional intelligence are fundamental to creating a work culture of high engagement. Nobody can deny the importance of being knowledgeable and technically competent. It is however also true that we cannot achieve to the best of our ability if we cannot manage our self effectively or struggle with interpersonal relationships. This research has also shows that EI can be improved through training and coaching.

We do not always have control over all the elements in the workplace but we can learn to cope effectively with its demands and challenges. Emotional intelligence is a crucial part of successful work environments. Emotionally intelligent individuals have the ability to tune into their own and others’ emotions and use this information to interact better with others, influence others, make better decisions and cope better with stressful situations.

By spending more time observing others and reflecting on our own abilities, motives and behaviours, we will be more aware of the skills involved in being an emotionally intelligent individual. It may also motivate us to adopt a broader view of what it means to be smart and we may find ourselves further developing these skills that allow us to appreciate a different world and life view.

Evaluate yourself on these attributes of emotionally intelligent people.

  • A sense of self-awareness and understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses. This includes how to give and receive constructive feedback.
  • Emotional control and behavioral consistency. An individual with a high EQ is able to control how they express their emotions and restrain themselves from losing control when in a highly emotive state.
  • Self-motivation and an optimistic outlook on life even when faced with challenges.
  • Empathy and compassion for others. This doesn’t mean that people with a high EQ are softer or more lenient in a situation, rather that they are more able to offer solutions to challenges, conflicts or obstacles which have accounted for the emotional levels of the parties involved.
  • Engaging and effective interpersonal skills and tend to stay away from interpersonal drama and the dynamics of ineffective communication such as gossip, sarcasm or negative innuendo. They build relationships and derive value from respecting those they interact with.

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