Blog articles

Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ)

What is it, and how relevant is it in our role as Governance Professionals?

EI is now widely recognised as being far more important than IQ in determining success whether measured in career success, mental wellbeing, profit or sales, so it should be something we should know about.

There are a number of definitions of EI or EQ.  The one used by Salovey and Mayer who first devised the term EI is: “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feeling and emotions to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide ones thinking and actions”.  Daniel Goldman took concept a step further and developed a framework with five components:-

  1. Self-Awareness – knowing what one is feeling and understanding the impact on others. People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware and understand and keep their emotions in check. They also look at themselves honestly and can evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Self-Regulation – controlling or re-directing emotions, anticipating consequences, not acting on impulse.
  3. Motivation – utilising emotion to persevere and achieve goals.
  4. Empathy – sensing the emotions of others and understanding them. People who have a high sense of empathy do not stereotype or rush to judgement about others.
  5. Social Skills – the ability to talk to others and build and maintain relationships.

I always thought that Emotional Intelligence was one of my strength areas until I realised early in my Company Secretarial career that emotion management was part of EI and that I had a tendency to react defensively if I thought I was being criticised and to catastrophise when anything went wrong.  As a Company Secretary this was unhelpful because things do go wrong and there will always be times when people give you challenging feedback.  Once I realised this, I was able to make a conscious decision to work (with a coach) on these areas and change the way I reacted to a more considered, less emotionally draining way and become a better Governance Professional as a result.

SO… how Emotional Intelligent are you?  There are a number of products available to help you measure your emotional intelligence.  If you google “emotional intelligence” test, hundreds will come up.  You could choose one of the free ones and see what it tells you, bearing in mind that they are likely to be fairly crude but might give you a rough idea.  At the very least the questions may get you thinking a bit more deeply about how you measure up.  Alternatively there are paid for products developed by some of the leading researchers in the field of emotional intelligence e.g.  Emotional Competence Inventory360 but there are many others such as the Boston EI-Q questionnaire, a copy of which is in the “Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook” by Margaret Chapman in the Management Pocketbooks series.

It is widely acknowledged that Governance Professionals need EI to be successful in their roles, as illustrated by the report by Professor Andrew Kakabadse and ICSA (The Company Secretary Building Trust Through Governance

In next week’s blog I will talk about some things that you can do if you feel that this is an area to make some improvements in.

The Company Secretary – the HR Director’s best ally?

Being an HR Director can sometimes be a lonely business.  You are responsible for the people aspects of the organisations strategy, but in certain circumstances, such as the transformation of the Executive Team or senior talent management and succession planning, you may have to do this in a vacuum from your team.  Have you ever considered that the Company Secretary is in a similar position and building a good relationship with them could help you both to achieve your goals? (read more)

Can I fast track the development of soft skills required of a governance professional?

A series of blogs outlining how you can fast track the development of your soft skills required of you as a governance professional (read more)

A guiding hand
ICSA’s mentoring scheme offers bespoke, confidential support to help governance professionals fulfil their potential (read my article)
(article originally published in Governance and Compliance Magazine,

The Role of the Company Secretary – Reflections on the 2017 ICSA Conference (read more)
Having had time to reflect on the ICSA 2017 Conference a clear theme emerges for me – the Company Secretary role is much more than the glorified clerical role it can sometimes be seen as.  This statement will not be a surprise to any of my fellow Company Secretaries, but as we know, the role is still not widely understood and is often overlooked.

To illustrate this point here are some of the things the ICSA Conference speakers this year challenged Company Secretaries to do…

Free Mentoring via the ICSA (read more)
Being a Company Secretary can be both a rewarding and challenging experience and sometimes it can be helpful to speak confidentially to an independent third party to help you think things through.

Could company secretaries benefit from coaching? (read more)
In the following article I suggest that coaching is the ideal way of helping Company Secretaries build the skills required to realise their full potential, particularly in smaller organisations where there may only be one or two such roles.

Where was the company secretary? (read more)
It feels like every week there is a new corporate scandal, whether in the public, private or third sector. And every time a new one emerges, the first thing I think is: where was the company secretary?