Emotional intelligence and career success


Emotional intelligence or EQ is a measure of how people are able to regulate their own emotions and behaviours so they respond to others appropriately  Research shows a link between emotional intelligence and career success.  It’s not a natural talent as people quite often believe but it can be improved with practice.


5 signs of a high EQ


 1. You are self-aware

One of the key signs of high EQ is self-awareness. This is an understanding of your key drivers, the things that trigger your basic emotions and therefore biases. This ranges from understanding what makes us angry, sad, bored, excited, and motivated. You know your strengths and personal development needs and can set boundaries. This means you are able to admit what you don’t know and can call on support without feeling undermined. You can receive negative feedback and learn the lessons of your mistakes.  You empower and trust your team and delegate.

An external practices of someone who needs to work on their EQ is micro-management. Individuals with high emotional intelligence do not try to protect themselves by close supervision, blame others, catastrophise, make excuses or become stressed. They absorb feedback correctly, repair relationships, and focus on the future.

This is why empathy is one of the top characteristics of an inclusive leader.

signs of a high EQ


2. You are open, adaptable and curious.

A high level of self-awareness means you are emotionally intelligent open to new situations and ideas. You don’t reject ideas because you hadn’t thought of them yourself.  Curiosity has been dubbed the new soft skill of the future and can be nurtured and honed. When properly exercised it can expand not only your mind but increase your opportunities. Being curious opens up many new avenues, not only for personal development for its own sake, but for the endless possibilities that new experiences and learnings can support us in our careers.

3. You practice attentive listening

You are a present, engaged, and even audible listener.  Listening skills require focusing on information received via all our senses. You let people know you are there to hear them whether in person or online. This doesn’t mean that you will agree with everything they say, but they will feel that they have made their case. You are able to support people, without becoming enmeshed in their problems.

4. You are a constructive communicator

The fourth sign of a high EQ is identifying the emotional state of another person and being able to adapt accordingly so that your message is constructive. This doesn’t mean avoiding delivering tough news, but being able to communicate to that person neutrally so that they hear you. Above all, it means they understand what you are saying and are motivated to act.

signs of a high EQ

5. You look for win/win outcomes

You realise that life and work are not zero-sum games and one sign of a high EQ is you don’t try to win or prove you are right. You apologise when you are wrong. You make mistakes and view them as learning experiences and put them behind you.

One of the best ways of testing your EQ is to become self-aware in everyday situations and especially situations of stress. Observe your reactions and know your own communication style. 

Need help with your career path? Contact 3Plus now!


Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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