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The Coaching Corner with Michael Riegel: EQ Takes the Lead

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EQ Takes the Lead

I get tired of the stereotypes of construction professionals. For many, everyone in the industry dons a hard hat and entered the industry by some accident or lack of choices. We all know that the range of professionals in the construction environment includes attorneys, accountants, project managers, marketing and BD workers, and many others who never need to understand which end of a hammer is needed. In my career, I have worked with some of the smartest professionals who never graduated high school. Too often, people conflate level of education with intelligence. I also know some people with advanced degrees but no common sense or ability to communicate effectively. Success is a function of having both IQ and EQ – even if many assume a general lack of EQ among construction professionals.

EQ or emotional intelligence is really just an ability to recognize and understand emotions while integrating that understanding to make decisions, solve problems, and communicate with others. In thinking about your job, do you make decisions, solve problems, and communicate with others? The vast majority of us probably answer yes to all three. Yet, many are averse to acknowledge the emotional component of performance and success.

Many employers value EQ over IQ, particularly as industries and technical tasks become increasingly automated. Consequently, enhancing your personal EQ will make you more valuable and more promotable. Talking about EQ does not mean we ignore the science – we want to work with it to understand what’s happening. For example, there are seven emotions that can be measured chemically: Love, Joy, Hope, Sadness, Envy, Anger, and Fear. EQ lets us figure out how these emotions guide our actions. Emotions are data. They are bits of information that reveal what we value, what we enjoy, what we dislike.

Take stock of how you are feeling. This can be challenging for any professional. Some recommend journaling or guided meditation but there are other approaches which might feel more concrete or structured. How do your emotions show up at work - beyond the seven we identified. They could include disappointment, excitement, anxiety, concern and the list is virtually endless.

Triggers are a crucial part of self-awareness. If we can’t identify and understand how a particular emotion is triggered – for good and bad – then it becomes increasingly difficult to regulate our response. Recognizing a trigger early and past responses that were not beneficial, you can begin to change your reactions. Create distance between when an emotion is triggered and your reaction or decision.

We may work in a technical environment but that does not mean that it is also sterile and devoid of emotion. I have seen too many foremen dismiss EQ and then blow their stack on a job site. Boosting your EQ by looking inward, you can be a better colleague, team member, manager and more valuable and marketable. Acknowledge your emotions and watch for the triggers that guide your reaction.


You can reach me at

Michael Riegel


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