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Why EQ is not just for leadership

Updated: Sep 4, 2022

Extax EQ Boost

Achievement as an adviser is far more than just intellect and technical skills (IQ) and we are often reminded by our peers in human capital consulting and executive leadership programmes emphasize on the paramount importance of boosting one's emotional intelligence (EQ).

While the literature was being developed a decade ago, debates occurred on the merits of investing in EQ for advisers. By now, we have had sufficient evidence in the commercial world to know EQ affects both effectiveness on strategic directions, and efficiency on day to day matters.

The "So What" of EQ

In short, as we develop as professionals in our careers, we need to be aware of, and manage our emotions. While we may be consciously aware of it often enough, emotions have direct impact on how we behave and also have a ripple effect on how our stakeholders react to us.

As is the case with any study of human behaviour whether at the individual level, group level or the masses, the exactness of predicting outcomes of leadership or even the economy is not as accurate as space science, however there are important trends one can observe.

Some Quick EQ Frameworks

EQ can be put into 5 categories to reflect on personally to identify areas of strength, and areas that require more self awareness and practice in order to further develop.

Self awareness

This is about understanding our own strengths, weaknesses, emotions, needs and drivers and their impact on others. Are you self aware?

Self regulation

This is about maturely handling our emotions and exercising self-restraint when it is needed. Are you in control of your emotions or are you powerless to your emotions?


This is about not solely being inspired by financial reward or job titles, but about what drives you to get out of bed in the morning and be a better version of yourself than yesterday. What drives you? How resiliently optimistic are you?


This is is about compassion and understanding of other people. Are you empathetic? How easily can you see another's viewpoint? How easily can you foresee another's likely emotions as situations unfold?

Social skills

This is about building rapport and common ground quickly. How do you manage relationships? Do you allow differences to take precedence or do you focus on similarities, common purpose and turn differences into a celebration of diversity?

The above are basic frameworks and there are many mental tools we can resort to further our development in any of the above where we identify as needing further attention.

Some initial useful searches on the net if you want to familiarise yourself further:

  1. Emotional Intelligence Developing Strong "People Skills" (MindTools Article)

  2. Emotional Intelligence in Leadership (MindTools Article)

  3. Daniel Goleman, author of "Emotional Intelligence," asks why we aren't more compassionate more of the time (TED talk)

  4. How to Boost Your (and Others’) Emotional Intelligence (Harvard Business Review Article)

  5. The Explainer: Emotional Intelligence (HBR video)

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