Emotional Intelligence – The Soft Skills? 

eq heart and muscle

I chuckle whenever I hear Emotional Intelligence referred to as “Soft Skills”.  There is nothing soft about it.  To acquire high level leadership skills, to master emotions, to develop relationships, to deal with humanity – these are some of the hardest skills to acquire, practice and master.  Interestingly enough, they are also some of the most requested skills by employees in the workforce today.  Great leaders recognize this and are readying their training and coaching to provide these skills.

EQ demands a re-wiring of much of what we have believed about command and control.  It requires that we clean our personal filters of outdated beliefs, habits and paradigms and experience personal transformation.  Our businesses, our lives, our world expects this and needs this now.  Are you ready?

What Is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)? 

Let’s look at the basic premise of EQ.  This matrix was inspired by the work of Daniel Goleman, a pioneer in the EQ movement.  The left side of the matrix is about YOU – You have emotions (top) and, to be effective, you must manage those emotions (bottom).  On the right side, those effective with EQ also recognize that others have emotions (top) and because of that, have some great clues how to manage the relationship or environment (bottom).

EQ defined 2

Human-beings are tricky.  What ought to be clear cut and replete with common sense, becomes murky and complicated.

Beware of Reaction 

Have you ever looked back and realized that you had spent an inordinate amount of energy justifying an emotion (usually negative)?  Think of the last time someone hurt you or disappointed you?  How much time did you spend in finger pointing and blaming?  Self-control goes out the window and responsiveness becomes reaction; optimism morphs into resistance.  In such a frame of mind, how could you possibly even try to understand where the other person is coming from, much less inspire the environment or promote collaboration?

On the other side, remember a time when you were more than a little mixed up in care-taking the feelings of another person?  Compassion turns to empathy which turns to enabling.  There is no managing the relationship or the environment because you have taken your eye off the bigger picture  to hone in on one person’s suffering.

In our Leadership Mastery Training and Coaching, we spend a lot of time unwinding the drama triangle to find out how we get stuck in these patterns; stuck in the glue of being human.  No wonder that concept alone becomes a leadership game changer.

Emotional Intelligence asks us to take a step back and take some deep breaths and understand that everyone is wired to have emotions. Emotions may pop up from anywhere; from any stimulus; from any trigger. The skill we are building is to see them, get to a neutral set point and make some choices about how we want to respond. This take practice and a lot of unwinding of old patterns and mindsets.

I believe EQ is the mindset miracle, leading to joy and satisfaction in our relationships and with ourselves.

How EQ-ready are you?  Here’s a 6-point path of transformation.

  1. I acknowledge I have emotions and sometimes I use them well and other times, not so well.
  2. I understand what triggers me and can physically and mentally realize I am triggered.
  3. I get that I have the wherewithal to choose how I express my emotions.
  4. I have compassion for you and the emotions you are feeling.
  5. I can get to a neutral set-point and coach myself and you into response, rather than reaction.
  6. I commit to the relationship, the organization or the culture and hold the view that we are better together when we are truly transparent about what is going on.

The only way to EQ readiness is to practice.  Be prepared to make some mistakes and use them as muscle building.  Your mastery of Emotional Intelligence makes you a unique and valued leader, creating emotional safety for those around you.  With emotional safety comes the desire to risk, be bold, be honest and achieve outstanding results.

world heart

Take the EQ Quiz:

If you want to find out about your own EQ skills, I’ve created a quiz for you.  Just click here to go to the What Is Your EQ Leadership assessment.  A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now.


Mary Pat Knight, CEO of Leaders Inspired, is a Transformation Strategist, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach committed to leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is known for cutting through corporate drama to create laser focus for powerful business and personal results for her clients. 

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Ever Wondered About your own Leadership EQ? Take the Quiz… 

Curious about your Emotional Intelligence skills, I’ve created a quiz for you. Don’t worry, no outside corporation will have your information. It’s just me and I’m a stickler for privacy. Click Here to go to the Do You Lead With Emotional Intelligence Quiz. A few short questions and you will receive your results and a little extra coaching by email to help elevate from where you are now.