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Being Emotionally Intelligent at Work

Nov 2, 2023

Emotional intelligence isn’t all about being sweet and chipper, says Harvard psychologist and researcher Daniel Goleman. So what is emotional intelligence? Let’s find out.

Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to recognise our own feelings and those of others, and to manage emotions effectively in ourselves and our relationships – Daniel Goleman

This blog is part of a 5-part series on how to develop emotional intelligence. Stay tuned for the next releases. You can also watch our on-demand masterclass on “How to Develop Emotional Intelligence” or Listen to our Podcast on Apple or Spotify

Emotional intelligence (EQ) has become a buzzword in the modern workplace, but there are several myths and misconceptions surrounding it. In this blog, we will debunk some of these myths and shed light on the true essence of emotional intelligence. 

We’ll share our definition of EQ, its importance in both personal and professional lives, and its four key components. 


The Evolution of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

When emotional intelligence first entered the conversation, there was a belief that self-awareness was the most important in EQ. However, as research progressed, it became apparent that self-awareness and social awareness are inseparable. There’s no point in us being self-aware if we’re not socially aware.

Especially in the context of the workplace, where social awareness is vital for connecting and relating to others.

Defining Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

The pioneer in popularizing the concept of EQ, Daniel Goleman, defined it as “the capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others, and to manage emotions effectively in ourselves and in our relationships.” 

His definition highlights the complexity and importance of emotional intelligence. It’s not a one-time achievement but a lifelong journey, requiring constant effort and growth. 

IQ primarily measures cognitive intelligence through factors like verbal comprehension, memory, reasoning, and processing speed.

However, EQ focuses on understanding and managing emotions within ourselves and others. And research has demonstrated that EQ is a more reliable predictor of workplace performance than IQ.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and the Future of Work

In an era where artificial intelligence is reshaping industries, the concept of what skills and qualities are essential for the future remains uncertain. However, one factor remains constant across various studies – empathy. Every future-of-work study places empathy at the top of the list of essential leadership competencies. This is why emotional intelligence has become more critical than ever.

Effective leaders must also navigate between three levels of focus – self, people, and the wider system (including the organization and macro-environment). The ability to pivot between these layers is a hallmark of successful leadership, especially in the complex and rapidly changing landscape of today’s world. 

Many companies have recognized the value of EQ in the workplace. Some, like EY in the UK, have even waived degree requirements in favor of developing employees’ skills and emotional intelligence.

This shift is driven by the understanding that IQ tests often reflect socioeconomic backgrounds rather than true cognitive ability. The impact of higher EQ on working life is undeniable, making it a valuable asset for both individuals and organizations.

EQ Guidebook download

The Four Components of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

So what are the four components of EQ? We’ll diver deeper into each of them in our upcoming blogs so stay tuned. 

  • Self-awareness: The ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others.
  • Social awareness: The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. Skilled in treating people according to their emotional reactions.
  • Self-management: The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods.
  • Relationship management: Proficiency in managing relationship and building networks. An ability to find common ground and build rapport.

These components are pivotal in developing emotional intelligence, as they encompass both our internal world and our interactions with the world around us.

To Sum up… 

In subsequent posts, we will delve deeper into each of these four components, offering practical tips and strategies for enhancing emotional intelligence. You can also download our guide on how to build self-management skills here

Stay tuned as we journey through the fascinating realm of EQ and discover how it can transform your personal and professional life.

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Jean Balfour ICF Accredited Professional Coach and Managing Director of Bailey Balfour

Jean Balfour

Founder & Programmes Director


About the Author

Jean Balfour is Managing Director of Bailey Balfour and Programme Director of our ICF Accredited Coach Training Programmes. Jean is passionate about helping people to have good conversations both at work and at home. She believes that coaching is a life skill and that you never regret learning to coach.

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