Boss Lady

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in business: Why you need it and how to develop it


We’re all familiar with intellectual ‘smarts’, but to really succeed in business these days, having a high IQ isn’t enough. In fact, it’s not even necessary. Emotional intelligence is where it’s at.  And the best news?  While your IQ is fixed – it’s the same at 15 as it will be in your 50s – you can exercise and grow your EQ to help you succeed – at work, in business, and life.

EQ + IQ = Success

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a fusion of a number of uniquely individual attributes. Broadly speaking, EQ blends your ability to know yourself – your strength and weaknesses, your intuition, your sense of ‘self’ – with your ability to know and connect with others, and read and manage external relationships and social situations.

It’s your energy for – and the level of rapport that you have with – yourself, and that which you are able to build with others.

In his fascinating book Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman describes four interwoven attributes of EQ as: Self-Awareness and Self-Management (ie within yourself), and Social Awareness and Relationship Management (ie your relationships with others).

I believe that nearly all successful entrepreneurs have inherently very high social and relationship awareness. Concerningly, however, they sometimes lack the self-awareness and control required to make sure they are managing themselves in the best way possible. I have heard horror stories of highly successful business owners losing their cool and putting people off side during stressful or high-stakes meetings or negotiations.

A balance between an awareness of others and the ‘self’ is what makes for a highly evolved being, and leader. 

Emotional intelligence in recruitment – inside, out

EQ is fundamental to how my company, Reo Group, operates. Indeed, our competency framework for assessing and recruiting leadership candidates is based squarely on the four EQ fundamentals mentioned above. We recruit to EQ, we develop and constantly evolve our own EQ, and we talk about it all day!

Why? Two reasons. First, our company-wide vision is to ‘elevate human potential’. In our industry of recruitment and people development, it’s indisputable that more evolved leaders have a higher impact and get further in their careers.

Internally, too, we expect the same from – and nurture it in – our staff. We spend a lot of time training our team via structured training programs and weekly one-on-ones where we work on elevating our staff’s EQ. When our team are emotionally switched on and available, they manage stress better and display greater productivity. Internally, we always look to recruit and hire people who are aligned with our vision. 

Foster company culture, because anyone can upskill

Emotional intelligence becomes more important the further senior executives and managers travel in their careers. Goleman writes “The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of…emotional intelligence. [Technical skills] are now entry-level requirements for executive positions. Without [EQ] a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but [s]he still won’t make a great leader.”

Businesses are built on people. People are who build and deliver strategy and culture. Without a good culture, which begins with strong leadership, strategy won’t be successful.

What keeps a culture healthy? A high degree of EQ across a cohort of people. It’s easy to write about and talk about but in practice, but very challenging to achieve.

Good leadership starts with the self

Emotional intelligence begins with the self – by having a genuine desire to look inwards and reflect on your attitudes and behaviours, how you manage relationships and respond to stress, both inside the workplace and outside of it. This kind of reflection requires an innate sense of spiritual awareness.

From that strong sense of or desire to know or explore your ‘self’, including recognising and forgiving yourself your weaknesses and limitations (because nobody is perfect), you’re able to develop a better sense of control with regards to your emotions. You’ll have a greater capacity to inspire others in the workplace, breeding collaboration and ensuring your staff is supported and motivated.

Good leadership comes from within, when you have the courage to express and conduct yourself with honesty and integrity. And the development of emotional intelligence is an ongoing process of honest reflection and learning that should never stop, even – especially! – when you’re at the top of your professional game.

About Stella Petrou Concha

Stella Petrou Concha is the inspiring Co-Founder, CEO, and driving force behind fast-growing brand Reo Group. Through her energy, intuition, and vision, Stella brings a unique and powerfully 'human' perspective to the Australian recruitment and consulting industries. She believes that it is only through facing and overcoming life’s great challenges, in particular failure, that individuals can grow and develop, and has built her organisation on the notion that 'failing forward' is the key to success. Facebook: Twitter:

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1 Comment



    February 27, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Vest informative and well presented.

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