The last few years has seen an explosion of books, companies and assessment tools on EQ and its importance in the workplace. So what’s all the hype about and why do you need to get on board or risk getting left behind?
The concept of Emotional Intelligence, or EQ as it is more commonly referred to, has been around for the past 30 years. In 1995 Daniel Goleman in his bestselling book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ led the EQ movement.

The basics of EQ:
Emotional intelligence is defined by Goleman as the “capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”. It is not Intellectual Intelligence (IQ), but is complementary to it.
People with high IQ don’t necessarily have high EQ and vice versa. The most significant difference is that EQ can be developed and tends to continue to develop until after retirement – whereas IQ typically peaks around 17 years old.

The EQ impact on performance:
Since the launch of the EQ movement, there has been a huge amount of research carried out demonstrating the profound impact EQ can have on performance. Distinguishing star performers from average, high teams from low performing and successful leaders from the uninspiring. All clearly establish EQ as a dominant predictor of performance.

Why EQ won’t go away?
Let’s put the rational compelling evidence aside for one second and take a look at the more emotional argument for EQ. We are social beings. Our workplaces have evolved from siloed cubicles to highly collaborative environments.
And this trend is proving to be a strong performance driver as a recent Forbes article outlined. It is also exposing areas where our capacity for collaboration might be left wanting. These environments don’t tolerate interpersonal conflicts, lower self-confidence, stressed outbursts or poor decision-making.
All of these are aspects of Emotional intelligence that can be measured and developed. Yet for some reason companies are failing our leaders by investing in leadership programmes that improve the capability skill but fail to address the underlying capacity which stems from EQ.

How you can develop your EQ
The first step to any developmental undertaking is to get an accurate assessment of your current reality. The world’s only scientifically validated EQ assessment tool, known as the EQ-i, does just that. Even better, it goes one step further and enables you do an EQ 360 which provides not just your self-rating of EQ, but also how others rate you and the comparisons between them. From there, an accredited coach will expertly guide you to explore how you might develop areas of interest that may be significantly impacting your life and your performance.

EQ is not a new fad, it’s at the core of who we are as social beings, beings who are motivated to belong. {link to #1 key dynamic of high performing team). Developing your EQ is more than just a leadership skill it is a foundational skill for a more effective life.

Sarah Friis is an author, facilitator and mentor of high performance teams. She has recently published “The Power of Team – A practical guide to breakthrough performance”. Sarah has a Masters in Psychology and is co-founder of, a leading global team resource dedicated to unleashing the power of team.