The Emotionally Intelligent Employee: Preparing for the Human Skills of the Future

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Whether you call yourself a TiQi Leader (trauma-informed, quantum informed), a Superconscious Leader, a Higher Mind Leader, etc, we all know that as the nature of work is evolving, emotional intelligence (EI) is increasingly more and more vital for professional success.

EI is often depicted in four key quadrants: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. This model provides a solid foundation, but preparing for the future of work requires a more nuanced approach.

The McKinsey Global Institute identified 56 DELTAs (Distinct Elements of Talent and Attitude) that can equip individuals to thrive in tomorrow’s workplace. McKinsey’s research involved 18,000 people in 15 countries and they “…identified 56 distinct elements of talent (DELTAs) that fall within these skills groups. We call them DELTAs, rather than skills, because they are a mix of skills and attitudes. ‘Adaptability’”’ and ‘coping with uncertainty’ are attitudes, for example.”

I noticed that many DELTAs map directly to EI competencies. This post considers the four classic EI quadrants and demonstrates where the DELTAs fit in (in my view). We’ll also explore how trauma-informed and Internal Family Systems approaches can further develop emotional maturity. By honing specific DELTAs within the four core EI quadrants, professionals can become more self-aware, open, socially tuned-in, connected to something bigger than ourselves and better able to handle workplace interactions in our fast-changing world.

Here are my suggestions for when TiQi leaders could introduce and focus on each of the 4 emotional intelligence quadrants, mapped to the 5 example stages on the map above:

  • Self-Awareness: Introduce in Safety stage – Once team is less reactive, focus on building self-awareness skills like identifying emotions, triggers, strengths/weaknesses.
  • Self-Management: Introduce in Openness stage – After establishing self-awareness, team can work on managing emotions and adapting behaviors.
  • Social Awareness: Introduce in Connection stage – With team cohesion, shift to understanding others’ needs and perspectives.
  • Relationship Management: Introduce in Connection and Transcendence stages – With alignment and flow, team can collaborate seamlessly through strong communication, coaching, and conflict management.

In summary:

  • Survival: Focus on stabilization
  • Safety: Build self-awareness
  • Openness: Develop self-Management; introduce IFS and the concept of Self/Self Energy
  • Connection: Foster social awareness, enhance relationship management
  • Transcendence: enhance relationship management

This allows each EQ competency to be introduced at the appropriate stage when the team is developmentally ready. Next we will look at what each quadrant is all about, with an eye towards the future of work!


Note the lowercase s, which is used in EI/EQ. We reserve the uppercase S for Self / Self Energy (per IFS, Internal Family Systems).

self-awareness, is all about understanding your own emotions, drivers, and reactions:

  • self-reflection
  • Awareness of: Strengths/weaknesses; risk taking, self-motivation, wellness, decisiveness, persistence, innovation, perspective-taking, competence, self-confidence, ethics, digital ethics, coping with uncertainty, passion, energy, optimism, integrity, humility, etc (see above sketch)
  • Understanding own emotions and triggers
  • Recognizing how trauma may drive reactions and triggers
  • Approaching oneself with patience, compassion, and curiousity
  • Identifying different parts (managers, firefighters, exiles per IFS) that drive emotions and reactions; Understanding each part’s role and approach with curiosity
  • Recognizing how different polyvagal states (ventral vagal, sympathetic, dorsal vagal) affect your own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors; Learn to shift from unduly stressed to calm states


Managing your emotional reactions and behaviors:

  • Impulse control
  • Stress management
  • self-discipline
  • Adaptability
  • self-control and regulation
  • Coping with uncertainty
  • Flexibility
  • Achievement orientation
  • Understanding strong reactions may be a trauma response
  • Focusing on safety, stabilization, and empowerment (establishing polyvagal GREEN as a home base)
  • Welcoming and conversing with helpful/”helpful” protective parts (all parts have helpful intent… the outcome isn’t always truly helpful, hence “helpful”)
  • Unburdening parts (parts often take on extreme roles to help/”help” the system)
  • More and more unobscuring of Self; having more Self Energy (Self leading parts)
  • Building capacity to regulate emotions and behaviors by managing polyvagal state shifts. Moving from fight, flight, or freeze responses to grounded, centered presence
  • Remaining true to values and ethics (even if unpopular)
  • Managing bias
  • self coaching / Self led: Applying and fostering a growth mindset, learned optimism (Is a part coaching you, or are you being led by Self/Self Energy?)

Social Awareness

Understanding others’ perspectives and emotions:

  • Empathy
  • Organizational awareness
  • Diversity appreciation
  • Active Listening
  • Recognizing others’ behaviors through a trauma lens, while assessing personality/behavioral style, e.g. DiSC
  • Suspending judgement and listen openly; We move from judgment –> nonjudgment –> welcoming
  • Perceiving others’ parts and dynamics with compassion
  • Addressing protective parts kindly
  • Perceiving cues in others that signal their internal polyvagal state, whether stressed/threatened or open/engaged; Having compassion

Relationship Management

Handling interpersonal interactions effectively

The Shortcut to EQ is SQ

Let me ask you… How much shorter does this list get when we have high SQ?  SQ shining through, we have:

  • Connection
  • Compassion
  • Curiosity
  • Understanding
  • Generosity
  • Kindness

We have connectedness that does not require tactics and tools to build X, Y, Z. We have integrity without having to learn what it means to have integrity and without the need to learn tools to demonstrate integrity. We literally are BEING LOVE. So, what is important is Getting to GREEN, amplifying love.

Of course, there will be things that are still worth learning. But a lot of the deltas I wrote in on those prior graphics get minimized down to: suitstuff, suitstuff, suitstuff. (As in, our true essence is the Quantum Self. The Quantum Self is projected through a biological spacesuit. This biological spacesuit is only ever helpful/”helpful.” Rather than show up with a biological spacesuit in YELLOW and try to force rules into the brain that we can follow, we can make shifts and show up in GREEN, more connected, and with our ‘smarty pants brain’ getting more oxygenated blood flow to boot! With more Self Energy in our systems we are naturally — effortlessly — showing up with more: compassion, curiosity, clarity, creativity, calm, confidence, courage, and connectedness.) Research on the science of Oneness has shown that individuals who’ve had such experiences often display increased prosocial behaviors—think compassion, empathy, and altruism. When you’re operating from a space of Oneness, you’re naturally in sync with yourself and others. Prosocial behaviors are EQ competencies in disguise, and they come as second nature (really the 1 true nature) when you’re tuned into SQ.

When my Quantum Self is shining through. I can show up as love. I can show up kind. I can show up intuitive. I have all the C’s that IFS lists and I can’t even get rid of them if I tried. It’s effortless.

Versus a more suitstuff focus of: “Hey, we have to learn the 5 keys to trust and then the 8 dimensions of integrity, and then the 6 step formula to optimism, and then the collaboration toolkit, and the course on confidence…”

When we show up in GREEN (polyvagal) there is relational trust between us. We are also more connected to our Quantum Self (or simply Self as IFS would say). Is that a coincidence? I don’t believe so. 😉