emotional intelligence at work

How you employ your Emotional Intelligence at work will determine your success at work.

We all know intelligent people who don’t necessarily do well at work. Being technically smart and knowing your stuff doesn’t always lead to business success. The key to doing well at work is how well you get on with people.

Academic Intelligence – as measure by IQ – isn’t necessarily connected with how well you manage yourself, nor other people. IQ doesn’t predict your success and happiness.

This was revealed a few years ago when Daniel Goleman published his bestseller, Emotional Intelligence, why it can matter more than IQ.

Intelligence that gets you noticed

The idea is that we have two separate minds, one logical and rational and one emotional. The first kind relates to IQ, the traditional way we think of intelligence, but which misses out a huge part of what makes us tick. The other kind is Emotional Intelligence, ofetn referred to as EQ or EI.

This explains why some highly intelligent people don’t handle themselves very well. Lacking emotional Intelligence they are not good in social relationships, for example, or they have difficulty communicating without upsetting others. They certainly don’t make good managers because that requires people skills. So success and happiness elude them.

What’s needed to succeed at work is Emotional Intelligence. IQ is important, of course, but without the ability to empathise and get on with others, you won’t get far on the business ladder.

Pressure, stress and resilience

And then there’s resilience. How do you mange stress? Handling yourself under pressure is vital for survival in most workplace cultures these days. It can be a deciding factor in who keeps up with demand. The key skills of resilience are all covered by Emotional Intelligence. Resilient people don’t just handle the pressure, they actually thrive. Bring it on!

What happens when you improve your EQ

The key skills of EQ are self-awareness, a sense of optimism, the ability to read your emotions and those of others, and a capacity for managing your emotions. If you do a little work to develop your Emotional Intelligence you’ll find that you can:

  • Recognise and manage your feelings (especially negative ones).
  • Respond rather than react to those around you (think before you speak).
  • Practice empathy and compassion (recognise what others are feeling and respond appropriately).
  • Choose to think optimistically (even natural pessimists can do this).
  • Manage stress and bounce back (which helps you recover from adversity and thrive).

Most people can do some of these things to some extent, and some of us manage all of them. But it takes work to develop EQ so that you glide through life successfully, building positive relationships (and sorting out the bad ones) as you go.

How to raise your game

Reading books is one way to do this, but now we have the internet, a much simpler route is an online course on Emotional Intelligence.

The one I have developed uses a series of concise video lectures coupled with some do-it-yourself exercises to help you understand where your strengths lie, and the parts of you that you could usefully develop. Business success and happiness at work are never guaranteed, but they are certainly worth aiming for!

Go to my online course on Emotional Intelligence

See also

Empathy means ‘I know nothing’.


I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.


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