4 Reasons Why High EQ is A Lawyer’s Best Strategic Move


We live in interesting times. The future of work is changing. By 2020, forty percent of the US workforce will be independent workers, including attorneys and other professionals who are shifting to project-based work over traditional employment models.

It’s fair to say that either you will be working as an independent worker or working with one in the very near future. These new working arrangements require you to have a high level of emotional intelligence to navigate when the rules don’t quite apply.

What is EQ?

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and use that information to guide one’s thinking and action.”  Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer Salovey and Mayer were the early pioneers in developing the field of research known as emotional intelligence or EQ. While IQ measures your intelligence, and is a static measurement, EQ skills can be taught and naturally increase as you age.

EQ has been proven to be a key factor in professional and financial success as well as happiness.

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence at Work, who popularized emotional intelligence in the 90s, identified four pillars of EQ:

  • Self-Awareness: knowing your emotions, your strengths, limits and abilities

  • Self-Management: managing your emotions, adapting to change, taking the initiative

  • Empathy and social awareness-sensing: the feelings of others, reading a social situation and anticipating needs

  • Relationship management: managing conflict, fostering collaboration, inspiring others

Be EQ Strong

Good attorneys are trained in law school to ignore distracting emotion in favor of logic. Think like a lawyer. Be detached.

Effective attorneys understand that having high emotional intelligence enables them to better serve their clients and enjoy greater financial success. Because of their transparency and empathy, they are about to gain the trust of their clients and influence better decision-making. You can reap the benefits of emotional intelligence too.

YOU STRESS LESS. WORK IS EASIER. When you have high EQ, you are more able to adapt to change and tolerate the ambiguity that can be part of working remotely. You can let go of issues or mistakes because you tend to be positive. You have the communication and social skills as well as the confidence need to speak up for yourself and set boundaries when necessary.

YOU CONNECT MORE. WORK IS HAPPIER. When you have high EQ, you are an intentional listener and more empathetic. You’re better able to identify commonalities and tactfully handle difficult topics, which builds trust. People are drawn to you because they feel heard and acknowledged.

YOU HAVE A GROWTH MINDSET. WORK IS MORE FUN. When you have high EQ, you are eager to try new things. You recognize that failure is part of growth and you aren’t afraid of being wrong or challenged. You have the resilience to try new areas and gain new marketable skills.

YOU KNOW YOUR VALUE. WORK IS MORE LUCRATIVE. When you have high EQ, you know your strengths and their value. You understand how your role impacts others and you have the confidence and the communication skills to convey your value to others.

Not sure about your EQ?

Determining your personal EQ is a good idea. You know the benefits of high EQ; there are also disadvantages to working with low EQ.

Low EQ is a problem in business. Low EQ is linked to lower performance, lower productivity, and lower earnings, per a study by Cherniss, another EQ researcher. As you might imagine, people with low EQ are more likely to change jobs.

You might have low EQ if you are experiencing any of the six below as true for you.

6 signs your EQ may be low:

  1. You have a tough time accepting or making change.

  2. You struggle to work in a team setting

  3. You have a hot temper

  4. You don’t know or care what others think

  5. You tend to be negative

  6. You don’t like to try new things

The best way to determine your capacity is to take an assessment such as the one found at TalentSmart. Travis Bradbury, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, offers a free test with the purchase of his book.

Take the test. No matter how emotionally smart you are there is always room for improvement. This is personal development work that should be part of your life-long learning.

I recently took the TalentSmart Assessment after being a conflict expert for 20 years. I was pleased with my score and agreed with both the areas for improvement and the suggestions.

Mastering EQ is a strategic move that can only bring good things into your life and practice. If you want to be ready for the changes to come and ensure that your work life to be easier, happier and more lucrative then I invite you to explore and enhance your emotional intelligence.

All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.  ~ James Thurber

Dina Eisenberg, JD, is known as the Work Lifeguard and is a speaker, author and mentor.

20 years ago, Dina leveraged her experience gleaned from a career in law to create her own successful consulting/training business. Now she helps experts and professionals to transform outsourcing from an expense to profit center.  Dina's work was featured by Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines. A dynamic speaker and educator, Dina had the honor of guest lecturing at Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Dina shares her Digital Guides and courses at http://OutsourceEasier.com