What’s Your V-EQ (Virtual Emotional Intelligence)?

Emotional Intelligence: Critical With Virtual Work


An Emotional Intelligence Definition…
A simple definition of emotional intelligence (often referred to as EQ) according to dictionary.com is:
‘skill in perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions and feelings’
Expanding on that definition is Oxford’s:

‘the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically’

We use EQ in the workplace and in everyday life.  

Emotional Intelligent Leadership

The Emotionally Intelligent Leader


Research in the field of EQ continues to expand and evolve.  One way to look at it is to consider the types of emotional intelligence.  The four main types (or skill areas) of emotional intelligence are:  self-awareness, self-management (or self-regulation), social awareness and relationship management.


An expanded examination of EQ looks at the five dimensions of emotional intelligence.  Although he didn’t originate the concept, Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence is often associated with this topic through his research and publications.  According to Goleman, there are five major elements to EQ:

Social and Emotional Intelligence

Build Better Relationships with Emotional Intelligence

  1. 1Self-Awareness – Know yourself well enough to recognize your emotions as they surface. The tricky part is the ability to do this when you’re emotionally “hi-jacked”. Being aware in the moment requires a degree of presence and consciousness. Goleman also includes in this element a sense of self-confidence, a foundation of valuing yourself and your abilities.
  2. 2Self-Regulation – It’s not enough to recognize your emotions, it’s important to be able to monitor and manage them (particularly in difficult times when your responses and reactions aren’t generating the outcomes you desire).  Mastering this element of emotional intelligence takes intention, diligence and forgiveness (forgiving yourself and asking for it from others when you go off the rails).  Self-regulating your emotions can be a lifelong practice for some of us.
  3. 3Motivation – As a leader in your current role, you have motivation. Here, Goleman is referring to also examine and understand how your drive to achieve, initiative, and commitment level interact with the goals you set.  Motivation also incorporates your overall level of optimism.  In other words, how do you respond to obstacles or setbacks when trying to achieve your goals – positively (push forward and look at the bright side) or negatively (stop, slow down, give up)?  Your internal dialogue has a significant impact on your response and on your momentum.  Getting in touch with this component of emotional intelligence is sometimes overlooked (or not dissected in the face of adversity) in order to adapt and move forward.
  4. 4Empathy – Recognizing how other people feel (though you may not agree or understand their feelings) is another key pillar of emotional intelligence.  It doesn’t mean that you have to sympathize with them (take on their feelings as your own), but having the wherewithal to notice how others are feeling goes a long way in building rapport and trust, both of which help foster positive relationships and fuel the next component.
  5. 5Social Skills – How we interact with others is a critical skill in the workplace (and in life). Leaders get their work done through others, so being facile with positive interpersonal skills is imperative to success.
Listening for Understanding

Emotional Intelligence - Being Present and Listening


What does it look like if someone is being emotionally intelligent?  A few things you’d see is that they pay attention.  They seem more engaged, are less reactive and more thoughtful before responding.  They have the ability to recognize emotions (their own and others) and they have the ability to understand the impact of those emotions.  Emotionally intelligent people seem to be socially skilled in many, most (perhaps all) situations.  Based on your own observations, what emotional intelligence examples have you seen?


Why is it important?  Does it matter more than IQ?  Studies have shown that IQ is important to success, butthe importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) can make the difference between good leaders and great leaders over the long term.  If you look at the people you admire (whether professionally or personally), would you say they have high emotional intelligence and if so, how does it show up and what are the impacts?


The answer is Yes!

Some were born with a high degree of emotional intelligence, yet most of us have to work at it.  We may be naturally better in some skills areas and less skilled in others.  The good news is that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be evaluated and assessed.  Developing emotional intelligencecan occur in a number of ways.


  • Have things been changing in your world as of late?
  • How are you adjusting to changes in your life?
  • Have stressors in your life increased?
  • How has stress impacted your life?
  • How are you coping?
  • And, how about your staff? How are they doing?

According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can have negative impacts on your health. 

Stress Tests Our Emotional Intelligence

Amygdala Hijack in Action


When we’re in a calm and relaxed state, we can have greater emotional awareness with the ability to manage our emotions.  It’s also easier to be emotionally intelligent with others.

But when stress hits our system, our focus becomes contracted and we move into survival mode (aka an amygdala hijack). The process is automatic – it’s hardwired into our DNA. We have less access to the logical, higher level thinking part of our brain as stress hormones take over. Our ability to be consciously present is overridden and our emotional intelligence evaporates… unless we learn how to step off that carousel. But how?

The first thing to know is that you’ve got to practice before game time. In other words, notice your emotions (positive and otherwise) before you’re confronted with a hugely stressful situation. Awareness of your emotions can happen in a few ways. You might notice it in your body first (e.g., increased heart rate, shorter breathing). You can notice your thoughts about the situation/experience. What is/was your internal dialogue that generated the response? Again, you can practice with positive and non-positive situations. Recognition is the first step.

Once you familiarize yourself with the array of emotions you experience, start practicing the management of them. Stop and make more empowering choices with how you respond. Start with the easier ones first, then work your way up to more challenging situations (or people!)

One thing to note is research indicates that once we recognize we’ve been “triggered”, taking a 20-minute break to step away from the situation, the conversation can help us regain emotional control and a sense of calm.

Learn ways to calm your stress with mindfulness.


For many of you and your staff, work has shifted to a virtual environment. And, many organizations are realizing that the need for a brick and mortar location may not be as necessary as once thought. Many employees can get their work done from home, from anywhere, and be just as effective as working in an office building.
That said, it poses an interesting challenge (opportunity) for leaders to stay connected to their employees, to support them, to be in conversation with them, to lead them. The physical distance can be a barrier to emotional intelligence in that: you may not communicate as much with your staff, you may not see them as much (even with video conferencing), relationships may be strained due to the distance.
V-EQ (Virtual Emotional Intelligence) is just that – emotional intelligence in a virtual work environment. It’s a heightened awareness across the spectrum of emotional intelligence skills.

Virtual Emotional Intelligence

Connecting with Virtual Emotional Intelligence