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ATD Blog

EQ and CQ: The Unique Super Power of Effective Government Professionals

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Technical skills and academic knowledge are both respected and valued. Our ability to calculate and reason will reign supreme as our world continues to evolve at astonishing speeds. With these advancements, we may wonder how our connections to one another will evolve.

No matter how much technology is introduced into our connections, there are some things that seem to remain the same. Relationships, culture, emotions, and connections are both complex and important. The emerging new genius is the person who can master the heart and wherever else empathy, compassion, and understanding reside.

Do you want to increase your happiness? Do you want to be more effective? Do you want others to listen to you? Do you want be influential? Are you interested in being powerful?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, I have some news. You have no choice. The positive or negative side of these characteristics is constantly affecting you. If you are not deliberately effective, you are likely unconsciously ineffective.

Everything you could ever imagine accomplishing can be done by developing two core skills: emotional and cultural intelligence. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is considered to be the ability to perceive, access, and generate emotions so as to assist thought and to understand emotions and emotional knowledge. It is also the ability to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth. Cultural intelligence (CQ) is described by Mayer and Salovey in Harvard Business Review as “an outsider’s seemingly natural ability to interpret someone’s unfamiliar and ambiguous gestures the way that person’s compatriots would.”

These two intelligences refer to your ability to be present in the moment by utilizing the skills to listen, observe, value and engage. The knowledge you gain from this process increases your genius and effectiveness in everything you do.


Here is a preview of five things you can do to build your emotional and cultural intelligence and to hone your personal “people genius”:

1. Understand your emotional world, triggers, and choices.

2. Listen and observe others with the intent of learning and observing rather than judging.


3. Improve CQ by asking questions and making only one assumption: That there is a lot that you likely do not know. Knowing that you do not know everything is key to cultural intelligence.

4. Reflect on your values, principles, and your reactions to certain topics. Challenge yourself to re-evaluate whether or not these are still what you believe, are thinking, and are still committed through habitual reactions to circumstances.

5. Find and connect with one or two people each week that are very different from you. Ask them questions and learn something new. We are often drawn to people who share our views and values. These natural connections, over time, can shrink our world and experiences. Try to learn more about something you have expressed in the past that you do not like.

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About the Author

Talia Fox is an internationally known leadership strategist who has designed hundreds of training curricula and experiences across diverse industries and countries. She holds a master’s degree in Education and graduated from Harvard University's Leadership Fellowship Program in 2015. She is also a certified EQi-2.0 (Emotional Intelligence) Coach with over 10 years of executive coaching experience.

Fox has been developing leaders since 2000, and with Federal leaders for the last 12 years. She has helped government agencies and public sector leaders cultivate skills to emerge as global visionaries. She led key diversity initiatives at Harvard University and has been a leadership development consultant and keynote at both the Women of Color Conference and the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference (BEYA). Each year, Fox supports and develops over 60 strategic leadership seminars for high ranking military personal, executive military leaders, high performing engineers, and a host of other innovative leaders that are responsible for some of the largest and complex missions, systems, and designs in the United States.

Fox has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Medium, Fox Soul, Authority Magazine and multiple new outlets. Her book, Conscious Connections, will be published later this year.