EQ, TQ and your career in 2019

Dec 03, 2018
Emotional intelligence and a high trust quotient are important attributes that result in more effective leadership and career success. How can you use your EQ and TQ to further your career in the New Year?

A recent Harvard Business Review article, ‘What To Do If Your Career Is Stalled And You Don’t Know Why’, described how many talented executives careers stall or derail because of what they call ‘pandas’ – issues that may be perceived as innocent, but with powerful jaws that deliver a bite. The top three ‘pandas’ are executive presence, communication and peer-level relationships. Often, individuals are blissfully unaware of the existence of an issue that is blocking their progression. 

As we consider our career trajectories going into 2019, it is essential that we familiarise ourselves with the story others tell about us. Having a career goal with insufficient self-awareness is like having a destination without a map of the terrain.

Key areas to consider in this respect are emotional intelligence (EQ), our trust quotient (TQ) as well as our capacity to lead with agility. These concepts tie in with the most common pandas.

EQ, TQ and agility

Emotional intelligence relates to a set of competencies which impact how we engage with others (Table 1). There is a clear connection between these competencies and our levels of executive presence, communication skills and ability to build peer relationships. 


TQ is a less commonly known dimension. It is a measure of an individual’s personal trustworthiness; a key to building good relationships. Being trustworthy and ethical may be considered a given in a profession such as accounting, however TQ is slightly different. TQ refers to how trustworthy your team, your peers or your clients find you.  Do they find you credible and reliable? Can they feel safe in trusting you with personal, confidential information and how much do we have their interest at heart versus our own interests? The higher our self-orientation, the lower our TQ. 

The third element worth considering is leadership agility®. Leadership agility® is our ability to take wise and effective action amid complex, rapidly changing conditions. Many of us are trained to diagnose a situation and come up with the correct answer – that’s what experts are paid for! However, while expertise is highly valuable, sometimes we can rely on it too heavily and end up narrowing our field of vision and misdiagnosing an issue at hand. A black and white approach can lead to rigid thinking and peers, clients or team members may feel that their perspective is not considered or understood.

360 feedback

If EQ, TQ and leadership agility® are areas to be navigated before creating a plan to progress your career in 2019, how can you find out what others say about you in relation to these dimensions?

The most traditional way of getting such feedback is through a 360-feedback process. There are many 360 tools available in the market and all of them provide different information depending on the angle they take. 

Another option worth considering is to identify some trusted individuals who have your best interests at heart and ask them a few questions:

  • What do you consider to be my key strengths that I can use to build my career? 
  • What could hold me back?
  • If I were to pick one or two areas to develop, what should they be?
  • What role/project would be an interesting next move for me, considering my strengths and areas of development?

Career criteria

Once you have opened up the conversation about your development, discussions about the next steps in your career will inevitably result. It’s a good time to explore what is important to you right now and in the year to come. Such considerations often include financial reward, career progression, flexibility/balance, learning experiences or meaningful work. Whether we prefer clearly defined career goals or to be opportunistic, having clarity regarding the important criteria for our careers is helpful when going into a new year. 

In order for us to maximise our effectiveness and continued career success, it is important for us to understand the story others tell about us (including ‘pandas’) and reflect on the important criteria in our career. Once we have built this picture through conversations with others, we can establish the work we need to do to achieve our career aspirations through 2019 and beyond.Leadership Agility® is a registered trademark of ChangeWise.

Eadine Hickey is Founder and Director at Resonate Leadership.


  • As you consider your level of EQ and TQ, what do you believe are your strengths and what areas may require development?
  • Is there a risk that you over-use your ‘expert mindset’ in certain situations and would benefit from taking a broader perspective on issues?
  • Who could provide you with very constructive feedback on your strengths and development areas to support you in your career progression?
  • What criteria and values are important to you as you consider your career for 2019 and beyond?
  • Who could be of support to you in achieving your career goals (mentors, coaches, colleagues, friends)?