Emotional Intelligence – EQ – why it’s critical to professional & personal success + 12 phrases Emotionally Intelligent people won’t use

Workplace performance and career success, and even employee health, which were once thought to be a function of someone’s IQ – or intelligence quotient – are, in fact, tied in with EQ – or your emotional intelligence.

If you’re unfamiliar with EQ – it’s each person’s ability to recognise, understand, and manage their emotions and those of others. The emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) is the measure of that ability.

Developing and improving your EQ will not only help your personal relationships and life but will also dramatically improve your professional life as well.  

Emotional Intelligence has Charles Darwin origins

Emotional intelligence takes root in Charles Darwin’s work, which states that emotional expression is prerequisite for one’s survival.

It’s been expanded on and researched more since Darwin, by others. 

The term “emotional intelligence” was created by two researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer in their article “Emotional Intelligence” in the journal Imagination, Cognition and Personality back in 1980. 

EQ or Emotional Intelligence was later popularised by Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence in 1996.  

Emotional intelligence involves a mix of several competencies that help us become aware, and have control of, our emotions and behaviour.  

This explains why the most successful people in the workplace are those with high emotional intelligence.

‍Core Competencies of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence – EQ is founded on two broad competenciespersonal competence and social competence. Combined, these broad competencies provide the required skill set for managing ourselves and others effectively.

‍Personal Competencies

Personal competencies equip us as individuals with the skills to ourselves.   These skills include self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-motivation.


Self-awareness is one of the pillars of emotional intelligence.

Being able to identify our own (and others’) strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and intuitions gives a sense of clarity, ensures good decision-making, and provides each of us with our own individual sense of worth.

Regardless of your academic degrees or fund of knowledge on  all things veterinary in your clinic, a poor sense of self-awareness will impair your ability to thrive and succeed in your clinic. 

Accurate recognition of your emotions and thought processes forms a strong basis for building on your strengths and capabilities to make smart decisions


Self-regulation is also a by-product of self-awareness.

Self-regulation is a skill that helps you manage your disruptive emotions (like anger and frustration), manage stress appropriately, become more adaptable and flexible, and open to innovative thoughts and approaches.

In other words, self-regulation is your ability to influence your thoughts and emotions to become more efficient and productive.

People who are better at self-regulating are better equipped emotionally to handle stressful situations.

You’ll be better at accepting failure and moving forward. You’ll also be able to hold off a reflex emotional response to a stressor until later.   In other words, you’ll be able to hold your anger or frustration in one hand and get on with doing the job with the other.

This is completely different to buryingpeople with high EQs don’t bury – they manage appropriately.

Their ability to restrain comes from understanding that immediate response to a stressor is often negative and irrational, and inhibiting a reflex reaction at that time, often allows them to rethink and express their response in a mature and positive manner.

People who respond to situations like kids have yet to master the art of self-regulation.


Self-motivation is one of the key principles of EQ.

Self-motivation is the force that keeps pushing you to go on – it’s your internal drive to achieve, produce, develop, and keep moving forward.  When you think you’re ready to quit something, or you just don’t know how to start, your self-motivation is what pushes you to continue. 

An intrinsic drive to achieve your goals is a critical factor in workplace success.

If you’re intrinsically motivated, you do something without any obvious external rewards. You do it because it’s enjoyable and interesting, rather than because of an outside incentive or pressure, such as a reward or deadline.

If you’re intrinsically motivated you’re more likely to be optimistic about your success, more committed to individual and shared goals, better able to recognise and use opportunities, and more likely to take initiatives and make smart decisions in reaching goals.

People with those competencies sound like great people to have on your team!

Social Competencies

Social competence means having the skills that help you manage your relationships effectively.  

Being socially competent is critical to professional success.  Employees with high EQ are better able to create a productive work environment.

These social skills include intuition, empathy, and social responsibility.


Intuition refers to the ability to understand others’ feelings and perspectives.

It’s your ability to pick emotional cues of others and to recognise the basis for someone else’s behaviour. 

If your intuition is well developed, you’re better equipped to understand and you’re your clients’ and colleagues needs, help others recognise and boost their strengths, and create a better work environment by leveraging diversity.


Empathy is a clear sign of emotional intelligence.  

This is a corollary to self worth and being intuitive. 

Valuing yourself and recognising your sense of worth reflects on how you value others.

The saying “in order to love someone else you must first love yourself” comes into play here.

Recognising and valuing other people’s needs and concerns is fundamental to creating a thriving veterinary clinic environment, 

When you have a well developed sense of your own worth, you’re more likely to promote mutual respect and compassion towards your colleagues and encourage their individual and professional growth.

Social Responsibility

If you have a strong sense of social responsibility you’ll be one of those people who help create an adeptness to motivate others to have desirable behaviours as well.

When you have this skill, you’ll have influencing tactics to inspire others to want to be and perform better. 

You’ll be one of those individuals where people on your team are self motivated to always want to step up around you. 

At your clinic you’ll be seen as a change catalyst: someone who inspires and motivates others to be the best they can be.

People who are like this are also better able to handle and resolve conflicts involving themselves or between others.

Because of their commitment to the shared vision, emotionally intelligent people build bonds and foster collaboration between co-workers, supporting and inspiring everyone to achieve common goals.

If this is you, you’ll likely be more open to other people’s ideas and less likely to be bossy.

Staff Selection

When it comes to staff selection, most clinics I work with tend to use a job applicant’s educational attainment, work experience, and knowledge base as their selection criteria during recruitment, with little consideration for how the individual relates with others or how they handle stress and failure, for instance.

Whilst qualifications – especially in the veterinary sector are critical – so too is having well developed emotional intelligence. 

If you don’t factor EQ into your selection process, I’d like to encourage you to do so.  As there are studies confirming the link between high EQ and excellent work performance.

A Fortune 500 company had prioritised personality assessment tests for selecting candidates for many years, despite the high-turnover in the sales department.

After incorporating emotional intelligence-based criteria to the recruitment process and emotional intelligence training for staff, it recorded an increase in annual profit by about $32 million, with 67 percent retention of staff in the first year.

This is because high EQ work environments usually have highly engaged employees. Low EQ environments, on the other hand, breed employee burnout, reduced productivity and high churn – staff turnover.

One study conducted by a company in Dallas to compare the productivity levels between employees with low EQs and those with high EQs discovered that workers with high emotional intelligence were 20 times more productive than those with low scores.

Emotional Leadership – Engaged Leadership

If you’re interested in enhancing and developing your emotional intelligence, the University of Auckland has a two-day online course entitled “Emotional Leadership – Engaged Leadership” – because emotional intelligence helps leaders become ‘people smart’ and to use practical tools to inspire better results at all levels.

The programme is two one-day virtual workshops held approximately one week apart.   They’re taking expressions of interest. 

Emotional intelligence is touted as the single, best predictor of the success of an organisation across all levels.

Regardless of the academic portfolio of prospective employees, chances are that without a high EQ, their performances will stall and negatively impact the bottom line.

Principals, HR and Practice Managers should therefore – I believe – rethink their recruitment and workplace culture, and start looking for team members that have the necessary academic qualifications but also those with high EQ to optimise results and help improve your clinic’s bottom line.

12 phrases emotionally intelligent people don’t use


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