Emotional intelligence in the workplace

emotional intelligence

Have you heard of EQ or emotional intelligence? It is far more than a workplace buzzword.

Emotional intelligence is defined as a set of competencies demonstrating the ability one has to recognise their behaviours, moods, and impulses and to manage them in the best possible manner according to the situation.

Employees with high emotional intelligence can manage their moods and reactions,  communicate with others effectively, manage change well, solve problems, and are enjoyable to work with, particularly in stressful situations. 

Employees with a high EQ have empathy, remain optimistic despite adversity, and are emerging leaders. Higher emotional intelligence has been linked to higher academic achievement and occupational, managerial and leadership success. 

Improved awareness of emotions will allow you to set and attain goals and make choices effectively. It insulates you from the pressures of stress, heightened emotions, fatigue, or frustrations. At the same time, the awareness of your own feelings and the feelings of others allows you to adapt and refine your interactions with those around you.

Examples of emotional intelligence

Scenario: You’re in a meeting, and a boss openly criticises you in front of your peers.

Higher EQ: You maintain your composure, then politely excuse yourself to process your emotions in a safe environment.

Lower EQ: You become defensive and angry and may even storm out of the office.


Scenario: Your housemate tells you it frustrates them when you don’t take out the rubbish when you agreed to.

Higher EQ: You explain why you dropped the ball and tell them you understand why they’re frustrated, then agree to make some changes to get both of your needs met.

Lower EQ: You find it difficult to understand why they’re so upset and feel attacked by their criticism.


Scenario: You and your colleague were up for the same promotion, but they got it instead of you.

Higher EQ: You reflect and realise that the decision has been made and there is nothing you can do about it, and it is important for you to now support and encourage your colleague  

Lower EQ: You may fire off an angry email to your boss, demanding an explanation, or you may start treating your colleague with underlying resentment and even make their job harder


Scenario: You passed an exam and posted about it on social media.

Higher EQ: You’re proud of yourself for your goal and appreciate any support you receive.

Lower EQ: You may question your success or worth because your post didn’t get many likes.


Scenario: You’re on a date, and it doesn’t seem to be going very well.

Higher EQ: You ask open-ended questions, maintain good eye contact, and practice active listening.

Lower EQ: You may stop paying attention and decide something is wrong with your date.


Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you? How would your life be different if you could handle things differently?

Based on our previous experiences, we filter information about the world around us. The resulting internal representations are how we perceive the world, which is our reality. Our behaviour often reinforces our perception that the world is wrong.

The good news is that you can improve your emotional intelligence, become more resilient and thrive in your work and personal life. 

Contact Catie Kirke and see how we can work together and increase your emotional intelligence. We have both individual and team programs available.