Emotional Intelligence: The Key to Successful Change

Lionel Grealou Talents 2 minutes

In the current context of globalization, people and organizations must react and try to anticipate increasingly rapid change:

  • People must plan for their own career development. Continuing Personal Development (CPD) is a ‘viral‘ process and, as Goldsmith (2007) stated, “what got you here won’t get you there”; new knowledge that can relate to concrete situations is most useful to progress up the ‘career ladder’ – but also up the ‘satisfaction ladder’. 
  • Organizations must perform, adapt, implement their growth strategy and manage change to sustain competitive advantage; highly engaged employees and high-performing teams are the obvious keys to sustainable success.

Hence the questions:

  • How to get people motivated, positively engaged, and better equipped to adapt positively to change?
  • How to manage (and most likely avoid in the first place) issues and conflicts?
  • How to help people know and manage their own emotions so that they recognize and understand other people’s emotions, and manage better relationships?

Emotional Intelligence – also referred as Emotional Quotient (EQ) – consists of a range of fundamental skills that can affect business values and outcomes. If well developed and put into practice, these skills can allow to confidently respond to people and changing situations. Reflecting on personal leadership and business change also includes (among other things) considerations of EQ (after Goleman, 1995; Boud and Walker, 1990).

Cognitive skill gets you in the door, but… Emotional skill helps you thrive once you are hired. 

Understanding one’s own feelings, empathy for the feelings of others and the regulation of emotion [can] enhances living.

EQ regroup 5 key leadership attributes which positively impact performance (both at work and in life) (adapted from Lynn, 2004):

  1. Self-awareness and self-control: know own’s emotions, assess accurately own emotional state and triggers, and ‘control your emotions so that they don’t control you‘.
  2. Social competence: recognize (awareness) and understand other people’s emotions, from a cognitive and emotional perspective, build genuine relationships, manage conflicts and difficult conversations.
  3. Personal influence: lead and inspire others.
  4. Self-motivation and empathy: manage owns emotions and motivate yourself, understand how others perceive situations.
  5. Mastery of purpose and vision: set clear personal direction and goals based on a strong personal philosophy.

Intellectual Capability – also referred as Intellectual Quotient (IQ) – focuses cognitive aspects such as memory and problem solving. IQ in the form of expertise and competence is most probably a pre-requisite to success; however EQ can be developed to demonstrate the ability to handle oneself and others, the ability to adapt and change, align with different cultures, as well as persistence in difficult situations and sociable ability.

EQ explains why despite equal intellectual capacity, training, or experience, some people excel while others of the same calibre lag behind. 

What are your thoughts?


  • Boud D, Walker D (1990) Studies in continuing education, 12: 61–80
  • Goleman D (1995) Emotional intelligence: Why it matters more than IQ. New York: Bantum Books
  • Goldsmith M, Reiter M (2007) What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Hyperion
  • Lynn A (2004) The EQ difference: a powerful plan for putting emotional intelligence to work, Amacon NY

This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 9 May 2015.

About the Author

Lionel Grealou


Lionel Grealou, a.k.a. Lio, helps original equipment manufacturers transform, develop, and implement their digital transformation strategies—driving organizational change, data continuity and process improvement, managing the lifecycle of things across enterprise platforms, from PDM to PLM, ERP, MES, PIM, CRM, or BIM. Beyond consulting roles, Lio held leadership positions across industries, with both established OEMs and start-ups, covering the extended innovation lifecycle scope, from research and development, to engineering, discrete and process manufacturing, procurement, finance, supply chain, operations, program management, quality, compliance, marketing, etc.

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