Why EQ Is Important At Work (And In SEO)

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Emotional intelligence (EQ) plays a crucial role in both our professional and personal spheres. It empowers us to navigate and resolve conflicts adeptly, while fostering empathy to support others, thereby nurturing stronger interpersonal connections.

Moreover, EQ equips us with the ability to receive and provide constructive criticism gracefully, and to assertively decline when necessary—skills essential for thriving in the workplace.

But how does EQ intersect with SEO?

Given the diverse backgrounds and cultures of the individuals we collaborate with remotely across various time zones, meeting the objectives outlined by different stakeholders can pose a formidable challenge.

In the realm of SEO, collaboration across different disciplines is common, often involving coordination with designers and developers. Each team typically operates with distinct key performance indicators (KPIs), necessitating negotiation and alignment.

Understanding the perspectives of others and communicating effectively are paramount for steering efforts toward shared objectives. Emotional intelligence serves as a cornerstone for fostering productive communication and teamwork.

Moreover, the ability to assertively decline requests is invaluable in the SEO landscape. Particularly in scenarios where you might be the sole SEO specialist within a company, there’s a risk of being inundated with diverse responsibilities—from technical support to content creation, strategy development, and even expertise in tools like GA4. Managing such expectations is essential to avoid burnout and ensure focus on achieving KPIs.

What Is EQ?

Emotional intelligence (EQ), coined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer in 1990, refers to our capacity to navigate our own emotions and understand those of others.

EQ encompasses the ability to comprehend, utilize, and regulate our emotions constructively, facilitating stress reduction, effective communication, empathy, resilience in the face of challenges, and conflict resolution.

Key components of EQ include:

  1. Perception of emotions.
  2. Emotional reasoning.
  3. Comprehension of emotions.
  4. Emotional management.

Daniel Goleman transformed our perception of intelligence with his groundbreaking work. He introduced the notion that emotional intelligence surpasses IQ in significance.

Before the publication of his renowned book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” in 1995, IQ held precedence.

The book enjoyed a year and a half as a bestseller and has since been translated into 40 languages.

There Are 5 Elements Of EQ

  • Self-awareness.
  • Self-regulation.
  • Motivation.
  • Empathy.
  • Social Skills.


This entails being attuned to and comprehending one’s own emotions while acknowledging their influence on oneself and others.

It involves recognizing both personal strengths and limitations. When individuals can discern and comprehend their own emotional landscape, they gain insight into the emotions of others.

When applied to the realm of SEO, this means being able to identify areas of expertise and areas that require further support.

For instance, if an SEO director lacks proficiency in technical SEO and fails to acknowledge this need for assistance, they might become defensive when interacting with the development team.

Instead, they should humbly request the development team to explain technical issues in simpler terms, enabling them to learn and grow from the exchange.

Failure to do so could strain the relationship between the SEO director and the development team, potentially leading to delays in implementing technical changes.


Self-regulation encompasses the mastery of controlling one’s behavior and emotions. It requires the ability to pause between experiencing a feeling and taking action.

This skill entails taking a moment to reflect, strategize, exercise patience, and then proceed with intention. While these behaviors are commonly associated with challenges in children, it’s noteworthy that many adults also grapple with them.


This skill involves the capacity to internally motivate oneself without relying on external commendation or rewards.

Individuals with high levels of motivation are driven by intrinsic satisfaction and are often more dedicated and goal-oriented compared to those who seek constant external validation.

In a work setting, some team members may only feel motivated when their manager praises their efforts. If different teams collaborate on a project and the key performance indicators (KPIs) don’t align with what their manager has emphasized, they may be less inclined to engage in that task.

Recognizing such dynamics within the team can facilitate addressing these issues and establishing shared KPIs that motivate all team members equally.


Empathy embodies the qualities of attentive listening and withholding judgment.

Individuals with empathy demonstrate a reduced inclination toward self-centeredness. They possess the ability to perceive and comprehend the emotions of others, considering these emotions before reacting in social contexts.

Moreover, empathy enables an individual to grasp the intricacies that shape relationships, whether personal or within professional settings.

In the realm of leadership, empathy stands out as one of the most vital skills.

When assembling and managing a team, particularly in fields like SEO where diverse roles such as developers, content creators, SEO specialists, and UX designers collaborate, dedicating time for one-on-one discussions to address employees’ emotional well-being is essential.

Questions like whether they feel valued, heard, confused about search updates, or adequately supported are pivotal. Empathy also plays a pivotal role in the hiring process, particularly in remote settings, and in fostering collaboration within remote teams.

Social Skills

Individuals possessing exceptional social skills excel in collaborating with others effortlessly, often assuming leadership roles. Their adeptness lies in their ability to navigate and manage the emotions of those around them, fostering rapport and meaningful connections through emotional intelligence. With acute sensitivity to nonverbal cues and a penchant for active listening, they establish effective channels of communication, further enhancing their capacity to engage and interact harmoniously with others.

The (EI) Model

Daniel Goleman breaks down the aforementioned traits into 12 essential competencies within his Emotional Intelligence (EI) Model. This framework, pioneered by Goleman, aids individuals in honing their abilities to become better versions of themselves, outstanding leaders, and facilitators of high-performance teams. Delve deeper into the intricacies of Daniel Goleman’s framework to gain a comprehensive understanding of its principles and applications.

Why Is EQ Important?

Several compelling reasons underscore the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ):

  1. Employer Preference: A CareerBuilder survey reveals that 71% of employers prioritize emotional intelligence over IQ, recognizing its significance in the workplace.
  2. Enhanced Well-being: EQ contributes to both physical and psychological well-being, fostering improved academic and business performance among individuals.
  3. Long-term Advantages: Research by Bar-On (1997) indicates that individuals with higher EI tend to outperform those with lower EI throughout their lives, suggesting lifelong benefits associated with emotional intelligence.
  4. Interpersonal Relationships: EQ plays a pivotal role in the formation and nurturing of meaningful human connections. Studies by Schutte et al. (2001) underscore its importance in fostering impactful relationships.
  5. Health Impacts: Apart from its interpersonal benefits, EQ also influences one’s physical and mental health, highlighting its multifaceted significance in overall well-being.

Physical Health

Elevated stress levels can trigger a cascade of adverse effects on health. Increased stress often correlates with elevated blood pressure, which, in turn, compromises the immune system. This weakened immune response heightens susceptibility to illnesses such as colds, leaving individuals feeling run down.

Furthermore, a compromised immune system raises the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks. Stress also intersects with infertility, amplifying the challenges individuals face in conceiving. Additionally, the aging process accelerates under prolonged stress, while mental health may suffer due to its detrimental effects.

Mental Health

Unregulated emotions and chronic stress exert significant impacts on mental well-being, often culminating in conditions like anxiety and depression. These mental health challenges hinder individuals from forming meaningful relationships, fostering feelings of loneliness and isolation. Such social disconnection further exacerbates the strain on mental health, creating a detrimental cycle that can significantly affect overall well-being.

Why Is EQ Important For SEO?

When striving to elevate a brand’s visibility, engaging with journalists is paramount. Establishing connections through outreach, fostering dialogue about the brand, and cultivating relationships are essential steps in this process.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) plays a pivotal role in relationship-building, as people are naturally inclined to collaborate with those they like and trust. Empathy, a cornerstone of EQ, involves empathizing with others’ perspectives and understanding their needs.

In the context of pitching SEO strategies to the C-Suite, empathy is crucial. Many executives may not grasp the intricacies of SEO and might prioritize revenue figures above all else. Therefore, it becomes imperative to align with the board’s key performance indicators (KPIs), present data tailored to their interests, and articulate how SEO initiatives directly impact the bottom line.

Without EQ, discerning the board’s priorities becomes challenging, potentially hindering efforts to secure buy-in for crucial SEO projects. Emotional intelligence empowers professionals to navigate interpersonal dynamics effectively, fostering collaboration and driving strategic initiatives forward.

Difference Between Low EQ And High EQ

Ever noticed how certain bosses (or colleagues) react strongly when things don’t go precisely as they expect? Or perhaps they become irritated if you don’t respond to them concisely.

These individuals haven’t quite mastered emotional control.

Below is a comparison highlighting the contrast between those with low emotional intelligence (EQ) and those with high EQ.

Those With Low EQ

  • Become upset easily.
  • Emotional outbursts (overwhelmed by emotions).
  • Do not listen to others.
  • Blame others for their problems.
  • Behave insensitively.
  • Feel misunderstood.
  • Struggle to make long-term relationships (have few close friends).
  • Have problems being assertive.

Those With High EQ

  • Remain calm and composed even during stressful situations.
  • Can handle difficult people with tact.
  • Forgive and forget (do not hold a grudge).
  • Influence others towards a common goal (even if not a leader).
  • Great team player (you want to work with them).
  • Understand the links between their emotions and how they behave.
  • Help others.

Test Your Own EQ

Understanding one’s own emotional intelligence (EQ) is crucial; it lays the foundation for self-awareness and personal growth.

By recognizing our emotions, we gain insight into others’ feelings and can navigate work and social interactions more effectively.

Emotional intelligence correlates positively with success, both on an individual level and within teams, such as in the workplace.

These websites provide free EQ tests:

  • Psychology Today

While this post can’t delve into the specifics of each test, you can explore a variety of paid tests on this site for a more in-depth understanding of EQ.

I strongly suggest that all SEO teams encourage their members to take the EQ test and discuss insights and revelations in a subsequent team meeting. During one-on-one sessions, share results only if you’re comfortable, then consider aligning your personal development plan accordingly.

How To Improve One’s EQ

Below are some methods for enhancing emotional intelligence, although I want to clarify that I’m not a psychologist. These tips stem from my readings and personal experiences.

Self-Aware And Self-Control

Recognizing and understanding our own feelings is crucial. Once we grasp our own emotions, we become better equipped to identify them in others.

Take the time to listen to yourself, especially in stressful situations. What emotions arise? How do you typically react, and how might you respond more effectively?

Often, we’re too caught up in our busy lives to pause and acknowledge our feelings.

Keeping a journal can be a valuable tool for comprehending your emotions. Make a habit of recording your feelings daily.


To enhance your emotional intelligence (EQ), try stepping into others’ shoes and considering their perspectives and feelings (note: this differs from sympathy).

Especially as a team leader, make an effort to uncover any significant issues within your team and inquire about their objectives.

Gain insight into your relational dynamics by soliciting 180-degree feedback and engaging in meaningful conversations with key colleagues, moving beyond surface inquiries like “How was your week?”

For instance, if you’re a team leader or manager, demonstrate genuine concern for your employees by asking thoughtful, probing questions such as:

“How was your week? I understand there were some significant SEO updates and clients had many inquiries. Let’s sit down and strategize for the client meeting on Monday.”

This approach conveys your sincere interest in supporting your team members with their tasks and challenges.


To cultivate this skill, immerse yourself fully in the present moment—avoid distractions like taking photos or posting on social media. Embrace the moment.

Avoid dwelling on the past or fretting about the future. Some find solace in meditation and breathing exercises.

If the above seems overwhelming, I suggest beginning with active listening during your next work interaction:

Active Listening Tips

Pay attention to the balance of speaking time in conversations, ensuring everyone has a chance to contribute.
Observe the unspoken cues, especially in team and client meetings.
Engage actively when someone else is speaking; communication is a two-way street.
Resist the urge to interject with your own thoughts; allow others to express themselves fully.
Take note of vocal tones, body language, and emotional cues. For instance, how does the client react to the quarterly results presentation?
Are you fostering the other person’s confidence by delving into deeper inquiries? Are you validating their statements?
Stay mentally present; avoid simply pushing your own agenda.
Are you participating actively, or are you merely waiting for the meeting to end?
Don’t let emotions overwhelm you; acknowledge them, then regulate and handle them appropriately.

Enhance your communication skills by striving to comprehend others’ viewpoints and becoming a more effective collaborator.

These practices contribute to nurturing enduring relationships, both professionally and personally.

Original news from SearchEngineJournal