As the world becomes more networked and the workplace becomes more collaborative, one of the most important professional skills to develop is emotional intelligence, also known as “EQ.”

EQ is associated with empathy, strength of character, and getting along well with others, whether on difficult projects, in virtual meetings, in brainstorming sessions, or in social situations. Speaker Jen Shirkani identifies emotional intelligence using her “Three R Method,” recognizing strengths and weaknesses, reading the room and the people in it, and responding appropriately and usefully to your circumstances.

This concept has been discussed since the 1990s, and has gained increasing prominence, with 71% of recruiters and hiring managers claiming to value EQ over raw intelligence (as measured by IQ).

It’s the “It” Factor

Because emotional intelligence is hard to quantify, it represents many of the “intangible” qualities sought by creative recruiters and hiring managers and is also highly valued by coworkers, clients, and collaborators. It manifests as empathy, charm, tact, or a “gift of gab” that allows you to bring people together, make others feel valued and understood, and build consensus around your ideas. Indeed, it’s one defining quality of work that cannot be automated or outsourced to AI, as technologies such as chatbots still struggle to replicate the behavior of emotionally intelligent humans. In meetings, client presentations, or job interviews, EQ can make all the difference.

It Can Be Cultivated and Improved

When you make an investment of time and attention, you can improve your own emotional intelligence. It takes patience, practice, and effort. And it’s well worth it!

Here are some areas in which emotional intelligence can bestow significant advantages, in life and at work.


Life is all about connecting with other people. Much of your professional success comes down to how well you work together with others to achieve mutually rewarding and satisfying outcomes. Emotional intelligence can help you build your network, work well with the right people, and build a career that survives setbacks and gains momentum over time.


Most of the work we do is about:

  • Mutual respect
  • Careful listening
  • Processing and incorporating feedback
  • Appreciating a diversity of perspectives, incentives, and contributions

Great collaborators are present, mindful, and thus more open to the ideas and experiences of others. Emotional intelligence emphasizes the skills of effective teamwork, understanding that they can always be improved and that collaboration is a process, not a product.


Being emotionally intelligent on the job can help you make more thoughtful decisions. You can better understand the facts of a situation, put them in context, and account for important hidden variables, such as how others may react emotionally to sudden changes.

As you become more well-regarded at work and gain a track record of trust, strong emotional intelligence can help you ascend to leadership roles.

It can also help you stand out in the hiring process, navigate job interviews, and make mutually beneficial decisions about what work to take on and what opportunities are right for you.

At Artisan Creative we help creative professionals and leaders get more from their lives and careers. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation. We hope you’ve enjoyed the 553rd issue of our weekly