Leverage the Power of Emotional Intelligence to Turn up the Volume on Engagement

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is nothing more or less than a set of skills that supports us in making our way in a very complicated world. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify how people feel; to use emotions to help you think; to understand the causes of emotions, and to include and manage emotions in your decision making to select optimal choices in life (Stein & Book). At ADVISA we use the EQ-i® model, which identifies and measures 15 competencies that support the above definition.

Interestingly, there are strong connections between the ability to turn up the volume on engagement and emotional intelligence in the workplace. In the previous issue of our quarterly newsletter we asked questions about some of the competencies that are closely related to engagement. Below is a summary of some of what we heard:


Optimism is the ability to remain hopeful and resilient despite occasional setback. It’s an essential strength for leaders because it influences the emotional tenor of the workplace.

Where I work, most people are hopeful about the future. Almost 80% responded positively to this statement, while about 20% identified significant room for improvement. 

What is the level of optimism in your workplace? Here are three optimism hacks that you can use to begin to move the needle for yourself and others.

  • Identify positive individuals and intentionally spend time with them.
  • Make clear plans to share positive thoughts about the future with individuals and in other group settings at work.
  • At the end of each day, take a moment to capture positive experiences.


Self-Actualization is the ability to realize your potential and lead a meaningful rich and full life. While self-actualization is intrinsically motivated, opportunities for self-actualization are an essential driver of engagement, especially for Millennials and the incoming Generation Z.

Where I work, most people look for ways to improve themselvesWhile 63% responded positively to this statement, 37% identified significant room for improvement.

Do you see opportunities for self-actualization in your workplace? Here are three self-actualization hacks that you can use to begin to move the needle for yourself and others.

  • Share your interests with others – tell people what interests you, ask them about their interests.
  • Schedule a time each week explicitly for self-actualization pursuits. Share your plan and experiences with others.
  • Write a list of your strengths, identify how you can continue to build on them.


Empathy is the ability to recognize, understand, and appreciate that way others feel. The perception that others, especially managers, “care about me as a person” is an essential aspect of engagement. An oft-quoted saying sums this up as “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Where I work, most people understand and appreciate the way other people feelThis seems to be an area with the most significant opportunity for improvement, while 53% responded positively, 47% identified this as an area for improvement. 

Emotional Intelligence Quote


What is the general level of empathy in your workplace? Here are three empathy hacks that you can use to begin to move the needle for yourself and others.

  • Practice using active listening and paraphrasing.
  • Ask others how they feel.
  • Generate several questions that you can use during a meeting to further understand your team’s needs.

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Interested in other ways emotional intelligence and engagement can help you at work? Check out my other article Take Time to Make Time: Five Engagement Hacks To Turn up the Volume on Engagement.