Allow me to briefly explain EQ, an ambiguous abbreviation which stands for emotional intelligence. (You will be surprised by how many people google the word EQ!).

EQ is the emotional quotient, a (notional) measure of a person’s adequacy in such areas as self-awareness, empathy, and dealing sensitively with other people.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a set of emotional and social skills that collectively establish how well we perceive, and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use information in an effective and meaningful way. EQ is not a measure of cognitive intelligence (IQ), professional aptitude, vocational interest, or personality preferences.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a higher predictor for success in life than IQ – your cognitive abilities. Therefore, you need both.

You can have a sharp mind, but without common sense in navigating human interaction, you are likely to become isolated in life.

IQ allows you to enter the elevator; your emotional intelligence that fuels your elevator’s upward trajectory.

Emotions are best left at home! Really? Let’s look at a typical example in the workplace…

Meet Joanne, a female policy advisor in a large international institution. Joanne is 28 years old, has a high preference for introversion, prefers to work independently, and lacks a hefty dose of self-confidence.  She is also a brilliant employee and one of the top performers within the organization. She consistently exceeds her goals and objectives, making her a seasoned perfectionist!

One morning, Joanne sits at her desk, typing away as she wants to ensure her point paper gets to the boss by close of business today. At the same time, her list of things-to-do is growing by the hour, and her colleagues do not seem to get that she is busy.

Open space office in their mind means: please do come and disturb me even when I am glued to my screen trying to look away!

So now they get upset at Joanne for ignoring them and accuse her of being arrogant and not a team player. She sighs and kindly explains that she is swamped and on a tight deadline. In the meantime, her blood is boiling at a temperature of 185 Celsius, and she is trying very hard not to explode. She remains seated at her desk and tries desperately to finish the point paper on time. Her disease to please is getting the best of her!

With her massive list of things to do, she manages to finish a draft which is good enough in her mind. She submits her paper and leaves the office for her evening yoga practice.

Yoga is the only thing in her life, which keeps her balanced and sane in her fast-paced life where work seems to dominate all days of the week.

By pathdoc on Shutterstock

As Joanne arrives in office the next day, the first email in her inbox is from her boss who is unhappy with her paper and asks her to re-write the whole thing within one hour. Joanne becomes paralyzed with fear and anxiety because her morning is already booked with important meetings.

She is ashamed to ask for help from her colleagues as she fears being judged and labeled as the stupid and the arrogant one.

Her heart rate goes up the roof, and she is gasping for air. Her eyes filled with tears as she rushes into the bathroom. She cries behind closed doors for the next 30 minutes.

Deep down, she knows she is overreacting to the situation as she realizes it is not the end of the world. However, she is unable to reason and come up with the best-desired outcome for her situation.

Fine, I get it now! How do I leverage emotional intelligence at the workplace?

I don’t believe in one-size fits all approach or “how to advice” as human beings are complex social animals navigating life in the digital age.  However, understanding which is the critical emotional intelligence component and how to leverage them at the workplace will set you free!

My top thee advice for this situation:

1. Learn how to express yourself in an assertive manner

Emotional expression relates to your willingness and tendency to share, communicate, and to be reasonably transparent with your feelings.  Assertiveness, on the other hand, refers to your ability to put your needs, thoughts, and opinions out into the world – even when doing so invites opposition or conflict or causes you to take a stand. If Joanna had used these two emotional tools, she would have conveyed her feelings, so her boss and colleagues better understand her context. This may not always work as we don’t control the reactions and behaviors of our external environment, but controlling our internal environment is vital in navigating towards your success and well-being.

2. Your map of the world, their map of the world and reality testing

As human beings, we see the world through our map of mental models, experiences, and bias. Our lens is colored and tainted by what we have experienced in life and by the belief system ingrained by society, family, and friends. Your ability and tendency to assess the here-and-now reality of any given moment or situation – what is going – and compare that objectively to your fantasy is called reality testing.

If Joanna had leveraged reality testing, she would have noticed that her boss’s email was not personal. Her boss is juggling many problems at the same time and is under a significant amount of pressure himself. He probably has a low level of stress tolerance and flexibility, which explains the projection of his stress onto Joanne.

3. Develop your Self-Regard

Self-Regard is the ability and the tendency for you – in full light of both your positive and negative qualities – to both like and have confidence in yourself. Self-regard is your self-esteem, self-confidence, pride, dignity, and self-respect. People and organizations often mistake self-confidence for arrogance. People’s wanting or needing personal acknowledgment is often perceived as selfish and a sign of insecurity. Joanne’s desire for personal recognition and validation is human. If she had a higher level of self-regard, she would have been able to balance the need for external validation better and being accepting of who she is in her entire being.

These tips are just the tip of the iceberg as human beings are complex social animals. Developing, navigating, and maximizing our EQ potential in an age of complexity will lead to human resilience in the digital era. EQ helps foster inclusive and healthy internal organization cultures so people can flourish into their full potential, increase their productivity, performance, and well-being.

Stay tuned for more inspiring blogs on emotional intelligence at!

Are you interested in a free Discovery Session with me to discuss your level of EQ? Book your appointment with me and I look forward to meet you!


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