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A Guide To Expanding Your Emotional Intelligence

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One study found that emotional intelligence accounts for nearly 90% of what moves people up the corporate ladder.


Some people energize us, while others drain us. What makes the difference? Usually, the people that energize us have high emotional intelligence or high EQ. When we’re with them, we feel safe to be ourselves, and we can even feel better about ourselves after a conversation. When we’re around people with low EQ, we tend to feel our energy drain and we often feel worse than we did before.

Which one can you identify with? Do co-workers look forward to their encounters with you? Do you think you have high EQ?

One study found that emotional intelligence accounts for nearly 90% of what moves people up the corporate ladder. Employers are actively looking to hire or promote candidates with high EQ, so it’s important to your growth — and definitely worth exploring. EQ is something you can develop and improve if you don’t feel like you have it.

Let’s dive in and uncover the basics of emotional intelligence:

  1. What is EQ?
  2. Why is EQ important?
  3. How can I expand my EQ?

What is EQ?

EQ is similar to IQ, but it measures a different set of skills:

  • IQ measures your competence and intelligence
  • EQ measures your ability to understand, manage, and express emotions

If you have high EQ, you are focused on social and emotional abilities, you are observant and sensitive to both your own feelings, and the feelings of others.

  • You listen to understand, not just to respond
  • You’re open to change but are focused on how everyone is responding to that change
  • You’re genuinely interested in other people and the values that matter to them
  • You manage your emotions, expressing them honestly and appropriately in a way that shows respect for others
  • You know how to influence people toward a common goal

If you have low EQ, you focus on expressing your words and ideas clearly and quickly without paying attention to the needs and reactions of others.

Why is EQ Important?

People are generally hired because of their skills, experience, and intelligence, but their longterm success comes from their ability to relate to others through EQ. It’s how you build trust in relationships which is your most critical resource for getting things done.

Research shows that high EQ is your greatest competitive advantage in the workplace:

  • 90% of top performers have high EQ 1
  • Employees who believe their leaders treat them with respect are 55% more engaged, 63% more satisfied, and 58% more focused on their jobs 2
  • EQ is responsible for over 60% of people’s personal and professional achievements 3

If you’re part of a team that treats each other with profound respect, your ability to make a meaningful contribution grows exponentially. It can have a significant impact on individual and organizational success.

How Can I Expand My EQ?

Recognize that developing greater EQ is possible, but you can’t rush it. You can’t simply read a book or take a workshop and have it mastered. Developing emotional intelligence is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

  • Change your paradigm where you develop a genuine care for others, rather than using techniques or gimmicks to make them like you
  • Take time to reflect on your own behavior and get a mentor who will be open and honest with you about your behavior and blind spots
  • Explore the range of workshops we offer in our catalog and put into practice the skills you discover

Developing emotional intelligence (EQ) is a lifelong journey that requires continuous self-reflection and improvement, beginning with an honest examination of one’s areas of potential growth.

EQ in Action

We can enhance our interpersonal skills by practicing high EQ responses in different situations.

Taking the time to put EQ skills into action is crucial for improving interpersonal relationships, reducing workplace conflicts, and enhancing overall productivity. One effective way to cultivate EQ is to review different scenarios and your responses to them.

If you use mostly low EQ responses, try experimenting and replacing them with the high EQ examples provided. Through consistent practice and reflection, individuals can cultivate a more positive and productive work environment by improving their approach to communication and emotional awareness. Let’s give it a try!

“Late Assignments” Scenario

Your team is approaching an important deadline, and one team member has been consistently late with their assignments.

Low EQ Response

“ Look, you’ve been late on every part of this project so far. Now we’re up against the deadline — and if you don’t get this last section done on time, the whole project will be late.”

High EQ Response

“ I’ve noticed that you’ve had trouble meeting deadlines the past few weeks, I want to understand what’s going on. While this project and meeting our deadlines are important, what’s more important is that you’re OK and we want you to be successful. How can I help you going forward to ensure we are setting you up for success and don’t miss important deadlines?”

High EQ Insight

You’re responsible for getting results, but also for developing your people and helping them do their best. Choose words that do both. Blaming, criticizing, or using guilt will cause resentment, fear, and even worse performance.

“Overlooked” Scenario

At work, you continue to get looked over for major projects and promotions.

Low EQ Response

Share with a trusted colleague — “I’m only doing the bare minimum from now on because they don’t acknowledge my contributions.”

High EQ Response

Share with your manager — “Can you provide me with constructive feedback on areas where I can improve my skills, so that I can be better equipped for the future? I am eager to create a personalized development plan to enhance my performance and be successful in this role.”

High EQ Insight

Take the initiative to meet with your manager to understand what qualities and skills they are looking for to fill roles that you’re interested in. Express your interest in a career development path within your team and the company. Be willing to listen, act, and position yourself as an asset to increase your chances of success.

“Missed Goal” Scenario

The numbers are in, and your team missed their goal.

Low EQ Response

“ I can’t believe you all didn’t pull this off. Didn’t you know how important this was? Now I have to talk to the executives about why we missed our goal — and they’re going to blame me. We’re going to be working a lot harder this next quarter because of this.”

High EQ Response

“ I know we are all disappointed and frustrated that we missed our goal. Let’s take a minute to calm our emotions so we can have a clear mind to help us identify areas of improvement in our process. I’d also like to know your thoughts on areas that I, as your leader, can help to get us over the finish line.”

High EQ Insight

When a goal is not met, it can be frustrating for everyone impacted. Instead of criticizing and showing disappointment in your team, support and encourage them. Don’t blame the team for poor results (focusing solely on how it affects you). Make it about “us,” not “me.”

“Missed Deadline” Scenario

Your boss put you in charge of a team for a major project and you missed the deadline for completion. Your boss blames you because the project didn’t get completed as planned.

Low EQ Response

“ It’s not my fault that we didn’t complete the project on time. My team didn’t do their part properly and caused the delay.”

High EQ Response

“ I take full responsibility for not meeting the deadline. This project had its challenges, but I am identifying where I fell short and putting solutions in place so that next time, we have a better chance to pivot quickly when challenges arise.”

High EQ Insight

In situations where something goes wrong, it’s tempting to blame others. However, the best thing to do is take ownership — nothing builds trust faster than taking accountability. Acknowledge your role and responsibility, no matter who caused it, admit that you didn’t achieve the outcome, and that you’re now working to remediate the issue. Remember it is not about being perfect but being a solution-oriented leader.

“Abrasive & Evasive” Scenario

A coworker sends an abrasive email about a project and doesn’t answer the questions that you had asked.

Low EQ Response

“ I’m going to ignore that email; I never know what they are talking about anyway, they never provide helpful insight.”

High EQ Response

“ I wanted to ask for some clarification on the project so that we can communicate clearly together. It’s important to me that we are on the same page and working towards the same goals. I want to make sure that I am taking your thoughts and ideas into consideration.”

High EQ Insight

Be patient, flexible, and recognize that we all have different ways of communicating. Adapting your communication style to find common ground increases your EQ. Listen actively and attentively while expressing your own needs and preferences clearly and respectfully. Find ways to adapt to get the information you need to proceed and have empathy and patience with different approaches.

“Their Viewpoint” Scenario

In a meeting, a coworker raises their voice to express a contrary viewpoint to the one you presented.

Low EQ Response

“ Why would we do that? We should go with my idea; it’s more thought out and will be better.”

High EQ Response

“ I appreciate your perspective and the points you’ve made. Let’s work together to find a solution that takes into account both of our ideas and benefits everyone involved.”

High EQ Insight

Remain calm, composed, and actively listen to other’s viewpoints and perspectives. If you take things personally and become confrontational, others will lose respect for you and won’t be willing to contribute in the future. Instead, respond with empathy and respect, acknowledging their input, and try to find where you can create a compromise. By responding with emotional intelligence, you create a productive and collaborative work environment.

“People Pleaser” Scenario

The boss’ leadership style seems to focus primarily on pleasing others and providing praise, rather than offering constructive feedback that can help individuals grow and improve their skills.

Low EQ Response

Share with a trusted colleague — “This approach feels insincere and is preventing me from receiving the guidance I need to develop and excel in my role. Our boss does not know how to lead us.”

High EQ Response

Share with your manager — “I wanted to have a conversation with you about my growth and development. I am invested in improving my skills and abilities, and I believe that constructive feedback from you would be incredibly helpful.”

High EQ Insight

Practice honest, respectful collaboration to address the issue. A boss who only flatters and won’t invest in the growth of their people causes stagnation and frustration. They avoid conflict — so craft an approach that’s affirming as well as challenging. It’s better to speak up than to add tension to your work environment. By showing that you value their leadership and are invested in your own growth and development, you can create a more collaborative and productive work environment.

“Credit Taker” Scenario

You work on a project team; however, the leader takes all the credit for your contributions.

Low EQ Response

Share with a trusted colleague — “I am feeling unmotivated to continue working on this project because the leader is taking all the credit, and it’s discouraging.”

High EQ Response

Share with your manager — “A lot of time and energy was spent working on this project and when credit was taken for my work, it was very discouraging to not only me but the rest of the team. Can we discuss a way to ensure that credit is given fairly and recognized among the team in the future?”

High EQ Insight

Rather than resigning yourself to the situation and bottling up your grievances, it is advisable to voice your concerns and strive towards finding a resolution. Share your frustrations with the leader privately, using a composed, calm, and non-accusatory manner. Emphasize the effects that not receiving credit for your work has on both you and the team. Additionally, you could ask the project leader how you can work together to ensure that credit is appropriately given to all team members for their contributions.

Next Steps to Grow your EQ

To develop high EQ, it is essential to improve your self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills. One way to achieve this is by being objective, recognizing your emotions, and seeking feedback from others. Exploring various coping mechanisms and pausing before responding to challenging situations can also help. By focusing on these areas, you can gain a better understanding of yourself and can work towards personal growth and improvement.

At New Horizons, we believe that expanding your EQ is an ongoing process that involves learning and growing from various experiences and challenges. With our guidance and resources, you can broaden your understanding of emotional intelligence, increase your self-awareness, and unlock new opportunities for personal and professional success and satisfaction. These are just some of the benefits that investing in your EQ will bring as you start your lifelong pursuit of self-improvement.

We encourage you to take the first step by enrolling in our Expanding Your Emotional Intelligence workshop.

View all Professional development courses


Highlighted Courses


Expanding Your Emotional Intelligence

At the core of the success of every organization, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is central to a well-functioning team. A strong grasp of this crucial skillset is essential to effective collaboration, productivity, and accomplishment. This course does much more than cover the theory of EI. Incorporating powerful tools and classroom activities, you will practice and hone your skills, mastering the strategies learned to effectively communicate, connect with, and support others through healthy and productive interactions.

Incorporating powerful tools and classroom activities, students will practice and hone their skills, mastering the strategies learned to effectively communicate, connect with, and support others through healthy and productive interactions.


Personal Development, Leader of Teams/Projects, Leader of Managers/Departments, Leader of Organizational Strategy

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, students will know how to:

  • Identify the key competencies of emotional intelligence
  • Develop a learning path to enrich your EI
  • Gain better control over your behavior under duress
  • Enhance your communication skills and competencies
  • Learn to thrive under stress
  • Develop gratitude and strength of character
  • Build a meaningful life balance and your authentic self

Those desiring to achieve and apply emotional self-awareness and management to enhance their professional careers as well as realize their personal goals.

View dates

3 day course Normally runs 14:00 to 22:00 Live Online Can be run in person.
Contact us for details.

Building Successful Work Relationships

Individuals bring their unique talents, strengths, experiences, and outlooks to the workplace. Operating collaboratively, these diverse perspectives and styles deliver highly successful outcomes and create high-performing teams. In this course, you will learn how to build cooperative trust-based relationships that enable you to work productively with other professionals, clearly communicating and respectfully harnessing your distinctive contributions.


Personal Development, Leader of Teams/Projects, Leader of Managers/Departments

  • Describe the importance of effective work relationships
  • Demonstrate professionalism through your behavior
  • Identify the interdependencies between you and your colleagues
  • Communicate effectively to create rapport and connect with others
  • Build and maintain your network of professional relationships
  • Use quality dialogue to focus discussion toward mutual outcomes
  • Develop collaborative working relationships that achieve results

Professionals desiring to improve working relationships and maximize cooperation and productivity.

View dates

3 day course Normally runs 14:00 to 22:00 Live Online Can be run in person.
Contact us for details.

  1. “Emotional Intelligence Training, Coaching, & Assessment.” TalentSmartEQ, 30 Jan. 2023,
  2. Baruffati, Alexandra. “Emotional Intelligence Statistics And Current Trends for 2023.” Gitnux Blog, 1 Mar. 2023, text=90%25%20of%20top%20performers%20have,according%20to%20Passive%20Secrets%20information.
  3. “Emotional Intelligence.” Mentorprise, 5 Aug. 2019,
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