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Is there a place for emotional skills at work?

Léa Grillon
21 / 06 / 2018

“It’s not just IQ that accounts for performance” (Wechsler 1940).  What about your EQ? Your EQ, or emotional quotient, is your ability to manage and interpret emotions. Emotional competence is your ability to control your emotions, to adapt them according to the circumstances and make use of them for a given professional context.

But how can I interact well with my teams by making my EQ a strength and not a weakness? Every one of us feels emotions differently depending on many factors that are unique to each of us. Developing these skills requires listening and learning, but you should know that managing these emotions effectively is key to successful management!

So, are you ready to master the poker face?

Information flow tested by EQ

Transmitting information involves sending a message to a specific recipient. If communication seems simple up to that point, it is nevertheless fraught with pitfalls.

In addition to the simple sending of messages, there are a number of factors related to interpretation, context, non-verbal communication, listening skills and the recipient’s interest in the message.

The expression of our emotions influences our communication (our posture, the tone we use, facial expressions, etc.). There is just one step between your thoughts and your behaviour and so much room left for the message to be distorted. Everybody's emotions can be interpreted differently depending on the person in front of us, thus distorting the sending of certain messages (sent verbally or not).   The more developed your EQ is, the more likely you are to be able to control this distortion.

Emotions in the workplace: No more taboos!

Yes, even at work your emotions are legitimate and are not confined to the bubble of your personal life. We have all been confronted with professional situations that we find stressful, a struggle or stimulating.

Expressing emotions helps us to share, listen and exchange with others. Accepting their presence in a professional environment means demonstrating kindness and empathy. Pay attention to those around you and get to know them as individuals. Understanding other people's emotions will help you to improve team cohesion.

In a professional context, your emotional competence will enable you to analyse situations and react strategically. By seeing the emotion expressed by one of your employees, you will be able to understand them and adapt your message to ensure that they receive it as intended.

Develop your emotional skills at work:

  • Improve your self-esteem and take care of yourself and others!
  • Listen to others and try to understand how they are feeling
  • Be optimistic whatever the situation
  • Improve your rapport

How do you calculate EQ?

How do you evaluate EQ? Several psychometric tests can reveal an individual’s emotional strengths and weaknesses in any situation.

While a high EQ indicates a natural emotional intelligence, be aware that, conversely, a lower EQ is not set in stone. As a manager, it is your responsibility to work on this area for improvement for better interaction with your teams.

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Emotions: a tool for measuring performance

Emotions can be used as a performance indicator. Studies have shown that emotions can influence certain managerial decisions. For Daniel Goleman, EQ is an important indicator when it comes to assessing professional skills. According to his research, emotional quotient is “twice as important as other quotients for jobs at all levels” and mostly concerns senior positions where professional skills are important.

According to Karine Conxicoeur, emotional performance has 4 essential components:

  • Creativity: Express yourself and your emotions, break new ground!
  • Taking risks: Don’t be afraid to make decisions and step out of your comfort zone.
  • Interconnectivity: Communicate with your colleagues!
  • Leadership (or leadershine): Inspire others!

Learn how to manage your emotions at work

Identify your emotions and know how to be firm or relaxed depending on the situation. As Lisa Bellingshausen would say, “We must channel emotions positively.” Use your emotional skills to measure the impact on your teams!

Do you struggle to channel your emotions and act impulsively? Be careful, you risk harming the motivation of some of your colleagues. On the other hand, if you behave optimistically and choose your words carefully, you will appear concerned, convey enthusiasm, and your employees will feel encouraged and therefore more innovative.

It’s the intensity of the emotion that we need to be able to calibrate and regulate. Focus on the benefits of emotions. Accept and control your reactions! Don't lie to yourself, you must stay in tune with yourself and talk about it when something is wrong. Without honesty, how can you encourage your teams to be more involved and perform well?

Our tips to help you manage your emotions:

  • Keep cool: control your negative thoughts
  • Take a step back: Trust yourself
  • Encourage yourself: Remind yourself of past experiences
  • Keep calm: Take a walk
  • Be the master of your emotions: Take long and deep breaths

Company managers must give their teams extensive support to ensure that their quality of work and performance don’t suffer. You need to be able to demonstrate empathy towards your colleagues and regulate your emotions. You will see your personal and organisational performance reach record heights!


Centre national de la recherche scientifique (The French National Center for Scientific Research), Lisa Bellinghausen Les compétences émotionnelles au cœur de la performance individuelle et collective [Emotional skills at the heart of individual and collective performance]

Tanja Wranik, doctor of psychology “Soyez positifs, mais pas trop.

Les émotions au cœur de la performance et du bien-être. [Be positive, but not too much. Emotions at the heart of performance and well-being] Lisa Bellinghausen

Émotions, organisation et management : une réflexion critique sur la notion d’intelligence émotionnelle [Emotions, organisation and management: a critical reflection on the concept of emotional intelligence] Jean-François Chanlat

Les compétences émotionnelles [Emotional skills] by Moïra Mikolajczak, Jordi Quoidbach, Ilios Kotsou, Delphine Nelis

La performance émotionnelle [Emotional performance], Karine Conxicoeur


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