Develop EQ to Improve Your Workplace Relationships and Career Success

What kind of relationships do you want with your colleagues at work?  How can the quality of your professional relationships influence your overall career success?

Studies have shown that EQ (emotional intelligence), i.e. how well we handle ourselves and our interactions with other people, is just as important (if not more so) than IQ in determining professional success, regardless of whether we’re in a leadership position or not. In Daniel Goleman’s book “Working With Emotional Intelligence,” he describes emotional intelligence as two clusters of competencies:  Self Mastery and Interpersonal Skills.


In order to influence, inspire, and lead others or to be an effective team player, you must first discover and master yourself and your emotions, and develop the inner self-confidence that will allow you to be authentic, “comfortable in our own skin,” and be able to voice your convictions. Here are key elements of Self-Mastery:

  • Self-Awareness … Understanding how your emotions affect your behaviors. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Being open to candid feedback and new perspectives. Knowing what your passions are and what truly matters to you. Understanding what motivates you to work and succeed. Is it a desire for achievement? Or a desire to help others? Or a love of learning new things?
  • Self Confidence … Believing in yourself, your self-worth, and what you stand for. Having the inner courage to voice your opinions, make sound decisions, and do the right thing, even when being pressured to do otherwise.
  • Emotional Self-Control … Understanding what kinds of situations trigger your “hot buttons,” and developing strategies to prevent from over-reacting when those situations happen. Knowing that you have a choice as to how to react and how to express your feelings in an appropriate way. Knowing how to be calm and to think clearly while under pressure. Being able to stay positive and open-minded.
  • Adaptability … Being able to handle changing priorities and multiple demands, and adapting your response and approach accordingly. Being able to flex your strategy based on new realities and different paradigms.

Interpersonal Skills

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, a leader or a team player, having good “people skills” is critical to your success in the workplace. Here are the key elements of Interpersonal Skills:

  • Empathy … Being able to sense other people’s unspoken concerns or feelings. Understanding and relating to the emotions of others. Being sensitive to their issues. Being able to “read” interpersonal dynamics within a group of people.
  • Communication … Encouraging your staff or team members to voice their opinions. Being approachable. Actively listening to seek mutual understanding. Flexing your communication style based on the personality of the person you’re talking to.
  • Influence … Being able to win key stakeholders to your point of view. Persuasion using logic and emotional appeals. Building consensus and support.
  • Collaboration … Working well with others toward a common goal Engaging and leveraging the strengths of each team member, gaining cooperation to achieve the best results. Not being a “lone wolf.”
  • Relationship Building … Building rapport and trust. Intentionally cultivating relationships for mutual benefit. Maintaining friendships that matter.
  • Conflict Management … Negotiating and resolving disagreements. Being able to read your colleagues’ feelings. Being diplomatic and tactful in handling difficult behaviors and emotionally charged situations. Seeking win-win outcomes.

The way you’ve been interacting with people in the workplace consists of habits developed over years of practice. If you want to change them, you can. Unlike cognitive competence (IQ), emotional competence (EQ) can be learned and developed. The emotional intelligence competencies listed above are habits can be developed through training, coaching, positive intentions and consistent practice until they become second nature.

Consider hiring a personal coach to help you further develop your emotional competence (EQ), especially to help you navigate a big transition in your career or life. For a complimentary consultation, go to


Keiko Hsu
Wings for Women

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