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Career lions

Why You Should Work With Emotional Intelligence

Why You Should Work With Emotional Intelligence

During my holiday, I was reading Goleman’s book Working With Emotional Intelligence. Where emotional intelligence is valuable in all aspects of life, your emotional intelligence (EQ) is also of a great importance of your career path. In the end, it is of greater importance than your IQ. Of course, given that you also have the corresponding hard skills the job requires. Higher EQ levels have proven to create greater career success, better personal relationships, and improved leadership skills. People with high EQ’s have also been found to be healthier than those with lower levels of EQ. Where someone’s IQ level is found to be stable by most, research has indicated the fact that you can still learn emotional intelligence skills at a later age. This is terrific news for all career lions out there. One of the most important traits for your professional career can be developed.

To give you a head start in improving your EQ levels, I would like to share with you the five main emotional and social competencies that Goleman has identified. Taking notes of this will make you become more aware and find those aspects that still need work. 


Self-awareness is seen as “knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions”. Goleman splits this competency in three:

  • Emotional awareness: “recognizing one’s emotions and their effects”
  • Accurate self-assessment: “knowing one’s strengths and limits”
  • Self-confidence: “strong sense of self-worth and capabilities”

Such self-awareness can be quite challenging. Whenever I am calm and feeling good, I can recognize my emotions and their effect and be a better judge my strengths, limits, and capabilities. Whenever I am in stress mode, however, I fail to see that my emotions are getting the better of me when I throw a tantrum at home (either because I am hungry or sleepy). Unfortunately, staying self-confident at all times can be pretty hard too. This is a point of attention for me, to become self-aware consistently and independently of my mood and the amount stress I am under.


There we go, Goleman defines self-regulation as “managing one’s internal states, impulses, and resources”. Another aspect of self-regulation is your trustworthiness, which is highly valued at work. Goleman describes that in order to thrive at work, you need to take responsibility for your work, be flexible in handling change, and be innovative. This is another tricky competence, keeping all of you disruptive emotions and impulses in check. No one is going to believe me if I say I got that already. I am the target of every marketing campaign out there and make lots of my decisions impulsively. Not admitting that these are not well made decisions, as I rarely regret them. 


Motivation is the “emotional tendency that guides or facilitates reaching goals”. It is your drive to achieve, improve, or meet a standard of excellence. Also, committing to a goal of the group and/or organization. Showing at work that you are ready to take on opportunities. Lastly, staying optimistic by pursuing your goals no matter the setbacks. Honestly, this might be the only department I got covered in terms of the EQ competencies. Once I am determined, there is usually no stopping me. 


Embodying empathy is “being aware of other’s feelings, needs, and concerns”. It means that you understand others, by acknowledging their feelings and perspectives actively. Being aware of the development needs of others, for them to grow. Empathy also entails being service oriented, viewing the customer’s needs. Another form of empathy that Goleman describes is leveraging diversity, by taking on opportunities through different kinds of people. Finally, political awareness is part of the empathy competence. This is the ability to read the power dynamics and the group emotions. I personally need to work on being empathic at all times. Let’s just say that I can be a bit “cold” whenever I don’t fully agree with someone or a situation. I should be empathic in all cases, always trying to understand someone else’s point of view. Even though I am beginning to understand power dynamics more and more, I should probably accept those more too. Using it to my advantage rather than trying to disagree with it. 

Social skills

Goleman’s social skills definition is “adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others”. Examples of these social skills are among others effectively influencing others, listening openly, sending convincing messages, negotiating, resolving disagreements, be an inspiring and guiding leader, catalyzing change, nurturing relationships, collaborating, and working in teams. Where do I start, so much to work on in my case. All of these are difficult with friends and family, but it all that much more delicate in the workplace. Especially, influencing others, truly understanding others, and expressing yourself clearly are not as easy as it sound. 

Are you going to work on your EQ? Any tips and tricks that you would like to share with us? Planning on reading Goleman’s book? Leave us comments in the dedicated section below. 

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