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What the 5 key elements of EQ (emotional intelligence) look like in practice and actions you can take to level-up your EQ.

1. Self-Awareness

In order to out the best in your team8tes, you first need to bring out the best in yourself.

2. Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and strive for a positive outcome despite setbacks.

3. Motivation

Leaders with high emotional intelligence are good at motivating themselves without external input.

4. Empathy

Empathy describes your abilities to recognise others' emotions.

5. Social Skills

Leaders with good social skills are great communicators.



In order to bring out the best in your team8tes, you first need to bring out the best in yourself.

Self-awareness is the ability to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and to recognise your emotions and the effect they have on you and your team8tes’ performance. 

Most people think they are self-aware – but few actually are.

Actions you can take:

  • One easy way to assess your self-awareness is by completing 360-degree feedback, in which you evaluate your performance and then match it up against the opinions of your boss, peers, and direct reports. Through this process, you’ll gain insights into your own behaviour and discover how you’re perceived in the workplace.

  • Notice how you react to different situations across the day. Being aware that you feel irritated every time a meeting runs over or if your tools are in the wrong spot is useful information to help you fix what really annoys you and help improve your decision making. 

  • Identify your emotional strengths and weaknesses – maybe you are hot-headed, or perhaps you are always cool, calm and collected – which can appear to others as if you are disinterested or disengaged.

  • If you have a strong reaction to something, take a minute on your own to slow down and figure out what is going on. Often it is either:

    • Frustration / irritation 

    • Worry / nervousness 

    • Anger / aggravation 

    • Dislike 

    • Disappointment / unhappiness 

  • It’s a good idea to also reflect on your interactions with others. At the end of each conversation check in and ask yourself "Did I leave that person in a better place than before? "


Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions – particularly in stressful situations – and strive for a positive outcome despite setbacks.

Reactions are often automatic. As a leader with high self-regulation you rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise your values.

Self-regulation is all about staying in control.

Leaders high in self-regulation excel in managing conflict, are flexible, adapt well to change, and are more likely to take responsibility.

Actions you can take:

  • Know your values – do you know what values are most important to you? Do you know where you will absolutely not compromise?

  • Hold yourself accountable – if you tend to blame others when something goes wrong – stop. Make a commitment to consider your own role, admit to any mistakes you have made, and face the consequences. This will earn the respect of others around you. Learn more about accountability in the supervisor’s toolbox.

  • Practice being calm – be aware of how you behave when you are stressed – for example, do you raise your voice? Take a minute to express your emotions to yourself (on paper is best) to make sure they are fair before speaking them aloud with the rest of the team.

  • Give yourself time to think and plan before making decisions-especially big decisions.

  • Find techniques that help you de-stress. Hobbies, exercise, volunteering, getting outside, listening to music or lying about in a hammock for some quiet time.


Leaders with high EQ  are good at motivating themselves without external input.  

As a highly motivated leader, you set goals and motivate yourself to reach them -  you also often have extremely high standards for the quality of your work.

You also have a great ability to motivate team8tes by understanding what motivates them on an individual level.

Leaders who are strong in this area tend to be action-oriented, tend to be very committed and are good at taking initiative.

Actions you can take:

  • Re-examine why you are doing something – make sure the activity reflects the right goals. This is true for both you and your team8tes.

  • Know where you stand – how motivated are you to lead? Do you need to work on increasing your motivation before motivating your team8tes?

  • Look for the good – as a motivated leader, you are usually optimistic. In each challenge you face find something positive. This can be small, like an important lesson learned, or a new contact.

  • Focus on the parts of your job you enjoy. Introduce challenges to keep things interesting, and focus on setting small, measurable goals. Everyone loves to cross something off a to-do list.

  • Avoid overusing rewards to motivate your team8tes – it has been shown they only motivate in the short term.  Find out more about how to give recognition with impact in the supervisor’s toolbox.


Empathy describes your abilities to recognise others’ emotions and the dynamics in play within your workplace.

For leaders, empathy is the secret weapon to creating stress-free, safe and high performing teams.

As a leader with high empathy you understand others’ feelings and perspectives, effectively putting yourself in someone else’s situation. This makes you more effective when communicating and collaborating.

Empathy is often ranked as the #1 leadership skill.

Those with high levels of empathy have been shown to perform 40% higher in coaching, engaging others, and in decision making than their peers. By using empathy you can better support your team8tes and improve your own performance.

Actions you can take:

  • Put yourself in a workm8tes' position – it is easy to support your own point of view. Take the time to look at situations from other workm8tes' perspectives.

  • Read the (body) signs – pay attention to body language – both yours and others. Crossed arms and fidgeting are indicators that the interaction is not positive.

  • Respond to feelings. For example, if you ask a team8te to stay back, and they agree, but sound disappointed, acknowledge that it is frustrating to work late and that you appreciate them being willing to do so.

Social Skills

Leaders with good social skills are great communicators. They have the ability to influence, coach, mentor others and resolve conflict effectively.

As a leaders with good social skills you are just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and are an expert at getting your team8tes onside.

You are good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically, setting an example with your own behaviour.

No one likes conflict, but it is important to properly address issues as they arise – good leaders do this. Research shows that every unaddressed conflict can waste around 8 hours of company time in gossip and other unproductive activities, putting a drain on resources and morale.

It’s important have those tough conversations for your team8tes' wellbeing. Respectful treatment of all workers at all levels is the top factor in job satisfaction.

Actions you can take:

Want to know more about your EQ?

Take the quiz to see where your EQ strengths are and identify areas for development?



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