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7 Tell-Tale Signs That Your Team Members Are Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence is increasingly flagged as an essential quality of success and leadership. But how do you recognise its presence?
How can you tell if your team have high emotional intelligence or not?
There is no ‘EQ-meter’ to measure it. And, though there are several tests you can take to determine EQ levels, their accuracy is sometimes questioned; it’s not a case of putting a score on it, like with an IQ test.
It would be much easier if you were able to simply recognise some tell-tale signs of emotional intelligence. So that’s what I’ve put together below.
If you’re able to go through the following seven signs and nod with satisfaction, then you’re probably doing a great job at leadership in your organisation.
If you find yourself shaking your head, you may want to consider taking steps to raise the emotional intelligence of those entrusted to your Practice.
1. They invite feedback
High EQ people are confident enough in their own ability, their leadership qualities, and in their performance, to invite feedback – and not get offended if the feedback is sometimes negative.
They recognise that not everyone sees things in the same way as they do and they value the insights of others without feeling threatened.
Being overly protective of one’s ‘patch’ is a common trait of leaders who feel threatened by others. It causes people to bottle up their opinions (out of fear of speaking up) or go to HR and potentially create rifts. This should have no place in leadership claiming to be emotionally intelligent.
2. They appear calm and unflustered
Pressure situations often show a leader’s true colours. Those who are aware of their emotions and are able to manage them often fare better; they are able to make clearer decisions than those whose emotions are allowed to run unfettered.
If your team are self-aware enough and able to practice good emotional management, they are less likely to become angry, frustrated, or stressed; they are also less likely to make snap judgments and rash decisions.
Conversely, they are more likely to be the calming influence and shelter in the storm: an excellent quality to possess – and one that brings a sense of security to the team.
3. They’re great listeners
There is no quicker way to ‘lose’ an employee than leaving them with the feeling of being ignored.
You can’t pretend to understand other people; there’s no faking it. This makes listening an essential skill for leaders.
Yet thinking of a response before the other person has finished speaking is surprisingly common, even in leadership.
Listening actually involves several key aspects of communication: as well as the act of using one’s ear (and of not using one’s mouth too much!), meaningful conversations require a good understanding of body language and time management.
Communicating to employees that they have been heard is very important and demonstrates compassion for their feelings.
4. They rarely have relationship problems with team members
People with EQ tend to build strong relationships. This becomes a key component of leadership because, to get the best out of people, you need to understand, support, and inspire them – all key aspects of close relationships.
Emotionally intelligent people are aware of the emotions at play in team members and don’t expect them to be machines. They adjust their communication style accordingly; and they invest in the relationship, helping to navigate any troubled waters and steer clear of conflicts.
5. They take responsibility
A highy emotionally intelligent person takes responsibility for their own actions and is accountable. They don’t blame others, point fingers, or look for excuses.
When they make a mistake, they hold their hand up, aware enough to know that they are not perfect and that nobody expects them to be. Rather than being seen as a ‘weakness’, this can actually bring leaders closer to their team members.
6. They encourage expression of feelings
Old-style ‘sergeant-major’ type leadership where everybody is expected to toe the line and leave their emotions at the door when they come to work has little place in today’s successful organisations.
Keeping a ‘lid’ on emotions is old-school thinking. Strong leaders an team members know this is not possible and, instead, encourage recognition of the important role they play in our lives and in the decisions we make; and they promote management of emotions to produce better outcomes for all concerned.
Asking people how they feel about a particular topic can be eye-opening and is often far more beneficial than announcing a decision and just asking: “is everyone OK with that?”. It helps leadership better understand team members’ emotions.
7. They have a sense of humour
Do your team take themselves too seriously? If so, it may be damaging the workplace culture and its relationships.
Emotionally intelligent people understand that people’s lives don’t revolve around getting the job done. For eight or nine hours a day, that’s important; but, for the rest of the time in the day, they prefer to do the things they enjoy, spend time with people they love, and have fun.
A sense of humour and enjoying the ‘lighter’ side of life often comes from a sense of balance about what’s important in life.
Theodore Roosevelt said “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
This is very true. If your leaders and teams are taking steps to increase awareness and control over their emotions and to understand those of others, you are on the road to building an emotionally intelligent Practice.
If you’re not, now might be a good time to start taking Roosevelt’s comment more seriously.
Improve the emotional intelligence of your leadership.


Ush Dhanak 

Emotional Intelligence Expert

Speciality Coach for Momentum Management


If you would like to know more about how we can help you with EI in your dental practice please contact us

or contact the author of this post Ush Dhanak at

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