The Happy Engineer Podcast

031: Increase Emotional Intelligence and Performance with Teresa Quinlan

What are the skills of emotional intelligence? How do you develop them to improve your performance at work?

Why does an executive coach with 25 years of leadership in the field start her zoom calls with… dancing?

In this episode, Teresa Quinlan is going to show you that exceptional performance is a direct result of knowing how to be personally responsible for using your attributes.

Your IQ, and most importantly, your EQ.

I love how Teresa takes complex ideas like “self-actualization” and makes it real, simple, and actionable.

Her passion is focused on creating thought-provoking experiences that go beyond the moment and instead, stay with the individual for days.

Moments that make you laugh, moments that lead to ‘ah ha’, and moments that trigger opportunities to challenge your status quo.

So press play and let’s chat… it is within these moments that the inevitable occurs, unleashing your greatest potential!


The Happy Engineer Podcast




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“I know.” 

This might be the most dangerous phrase engineering leaders use.  I hear it all the time when talking about promotions or interviews or career plans.  The ego inside that says, “I know this. I’ve already been through all this. Oh, I read emotional intelligence 2.0, I’m good to go.”

No, that is exactly the problem. 

Sure, you “know” it in your mind as a piece of knowledge.  But you’re not acting on it and you’re not implementing it for real results and value in your day to day life. 

Your EQ is not leveling up because your IQ is getting in the way. 

Let’s start by talking about dancing.

Ha!  Did you enjoy that part of the interview?  I loved it.

Like Teresa said in this amazing conversation, it’s not about the dancing. Some of you would not be caught dead dancing in front of a bunch of strangers on zoom. Believe me, I understand that, but it’s not about the dancing. 

It’s about being authentic and vulnerable. 

Dancing is a gateway, a hack if you will, to access an area of your own psychology.  A part directly related to wellbeing and authenticity. That part of you that doesn’t feel safe being yourself, that doesn’t feel empowered or willing to take a stand for who you are. 

That part of you that is not bringing authentic self-expression into the world and asserting yourself in ways you may need to. The part with power to establish boundaries and get results.

So it’s not about dancing, but what can you do?  Find something uncomfortable that’s going to break through the status quo and allow you to show up fully as yourself. AUTHENTICALLY. 

This is a powerful principle, and I would encourage you and challenge you to take action and do something that’s going to put you out of your comfort zone this week!

Let’s touch on one other topic from this episode, performance. 

The pandemic ended the argument that emotions impact performance. They do.

So make sure that you are being intentional to put time and energy into your own emotional intelligence development. If you’re not investing in yourself through training, coaching, and practice, then you’re missing the biggest lever for your continued growth at work!

Listen to the whole episode for actionable tips on how to strengthen the power of your mind, by regaining control of your emotions.

Take care of the simple things that are within your control. There is always an element of simple self care in the journey to our career goals. Take mindset practices like gratitude and journaling and get real value from them. Focus on the simple building blocks first. 

Choose one or two small, simple things. 

And please, take action!  If you need help, that’s what we’re here for.  Book a call, and let’s do this.

Previous Episode 30: Win Big Promotions by Communicating Your Value with Julie Schaller




Teresa Quinlan is an Executive coach, leadership specialist, master facilitator, and speaker, who builds Emotionally Intelligent Organizations. She is an advocate for exceptional performance that is a direct result of each individual knowing how to be personally responsible for using their attributes, their IQ, and most importantly, their EQ, in reaching their highest potential.

Having spent over 25 years cultivating a rich and diverse set of skills, facilitating leadership learning, and presenting to all sizes of groups, her passion is focused on creating thought-provoking experiences that go beyond the moment and instead, stay with the individual for days as they contemplate the moments that made them laugh, the moments that led to ‘ah ha’, and the moments that triggered opportunities to challenge one’s status quo. It is within these moments that the inevitable occurs; personal growth and development; unleashing your greatest potential.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Happy engineers. Welcome back. I am pumped for this conversation with Teresa Quinlan, Teresa, thank you so much for making time to be with us today. Your big smile and the energy you bring. It’s contagious. I love it. So thanks so much for being on the show!

[00:00:20] Teresa Quinlan: Thanks for asking me to come Zach. It’s a pleasure.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:23] Zach White: So I have to share the thing that right at the beginning made me say I have to have Theresa on the show, was when I heard, it was a mutual friend of ours say that you do dance parties in your zoom calls. And so I am a former dancer. Many of our listeners know that I have a ballroom and Latin dance background, and I have always wanted to do dance parties on zoom calls.

[00:00:51] so please tell me three. So what’s going on with the dance parties? 

[00:00:57] Teresa Quinlan: So when I run my challenge. Of course we’re talking about emotional wellbeing and music and dancing and movement and freedom to be authentic. And yourself is a big part of our state of wellness and achieving our state of wellness.

[00:01:13] And so I infuse it as a means of encouraging people to show up fully as they are. And you can see across the zoom squares. The mix of that level of comfort. Some people simply get straight in it with me because we’re on our chairs and people will stand up. Not many I’m usually standing and busting a move.

[00:01:39] Others just sort of bounce their head along and others stare blankly and this screen. And as we kind of go by. You see people Musen up just a little bit. So it’s both an expression of who I am into the space, so I’m authentic and they can see that. And it’s an invitation for them to be authentic as well.

[00:02:05] Zach White: This may seem like such a strange place to sit for awhile, but I actually am really intrigued. And I would love for you to share more around how this connects to emotional intelligence and what does it unlock for us as individuals when we begin to feel confident and free and authentic in that way. So the engineer in me pre dancer would have said, this is hokey.

[00:02:30] This is silly. This has nothing to do with the success I want in life. Like I don’t belong here. I don’t want to do this. What would be response to that to help somebody understand, like it’s not really about the dancing what is it about, why is it important? 

[00:02:47] Teresa Quinlan: You’re right. It’s not about the dancing.

[00:02:48] It’s about authenticity. So when we think about trust, whether trust for others, cause generally when we think of trust, we think of it in the context of trusting other people. But the first place we have to start with trust is do I trust myself? And when we consider our emotional states, many of them appear because we’re in some sort of disruption around trusting ourselves, whether we’re trusting our logic, we’re trusting our emotions.

[00:03:17] We’re trusting our intuition. So we’re either going to be questioning our IQ, our EEQ or the maybe more intangible, intuitive nature. That is really hard for us to put tangibility around. So if we just put it in the context of our logic, which is a lot easier for people to put it in the context of. Being authentic is one of these pillars around self-trust rigorous logic in using our intellect is another pillar around self-trust and even empathy.

[00:03:57] Having compassion for ourselves is another pillar. And this is kind of a dynamic trilogy in the work by Francis fray around how trust is actually created within organizations. But I like to look at it from the lens of what about trust forest? So if we excavate into the layers of our authenticity, we’re really looking at some key pillars in emotional intelligence and one of them, which is the foundation is our emotional self-awareness.

[00:04:24] So when we’re aware of why we are experiencing an emotion and how we create the experience of that emotion, then we start to pick apart and unlock who we actually are mindful. The package that was created by other people. Wow. Is that too deep 

[00:04:44] Zach White: for the beginning? Should we say can’t cannon ball with us into the deep end?

[00:04:49] Keep going. I really, I, I love where this track is taking us, please. So 

[00:04:55] Teresa Quinlan: for 

[00:04:55] example, I grew up being called a girl. So it was the label. And with that comes a package and I am a girl, but with that came associations of meaning, like I should have long hair and wear dresses and sit with my legs crossed and like to play with dolls.

[00:05:22] And then there was this whole package that was created from the external world. And that was very much in conflict with how I felt. So I preferred playing sports and I prefer being by myself and I preferred my hair short. I mean, anytime I mum left the house and I got my hands on the scissors, terrible things happened.

[00:05:49] So I preferred all of these things that were outside the package that other people were creating for me. And there was this conflict between individuality, authenticity and community belonging. And that’s a very difficult emotional space for us to wrestle with, especially when we’re young. And so we’ve learned quite quickly how to either float in one direction or the other, and the consequences of that.

[00:06:17] And hopefully at some point in our life, we learn how to balance the two, 

[00:06:22] Zach White: this core question. Do I trust myself? That’s a really interesting one. I’d love it. If you’d unpack for us, maybe how do we become more aware of how that question and the way we answer it might impact our behaviors or our life? I can kind of imagine some people saying, well, of course.

[00:06:46] Of course, I implicitly always trust myself. What do you mean? Why would I not trust myself? Maybe there’s other people listening to this who would say, oh yeah, I really connect with that. I, I, I never trust myself, but how do we become more in tune with, are we trusting ourselves? And what happens when we don’t like what’s going on in that.

[00:07:09] Teresa Quinlan: So there’s two skills within emotional intelligence. One is independence and that’s our ability to be autonomous. Self-directed complete our daily tasks. Decision-making on our own. And then interpersonal relationships how we create community and are part of a community. Sometimes these skills can be seen as you described them, like opposite ends of a polarity, but in essence, we need to use these skills all of the time.

[00:07:37] And in some instances throughout our day, we need to operate as an independent, we need to operate autonomously. We have to make decisions on our own, and this might seem silly, but just follow me through the course of the day. And I’m just going to do the morning time. Who decides when you get up in the morning, like that’s a decision.

[00:07:58] Sometimes we make independently and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes our community influences our decision that we make there. And in that decision making point, am I in balance? Meaning I’m doing for me and my community equally. And so I’m in balance or am I doing for my community to the sacrifice of myself.

[00:08:19] And now all of a sudden, emotionally, I might feel a little off-kilter. What am I doing it only for me to sacrifice my community again, to adjourn might feel a little emotionally off-kilter. Now, how do I know when I’m emotionally out of whack self-awareness is a practice skill the way we practice that is by paying attention to how we’re feeling now, you and I grew up in different families and different countries and with different rules and different everything, but something that is probably very similar, but between us is that we do know when we’re on and we know when we’re off.

[00:09:01] And if it is as simple as saying I’m on, so I’m balanced, I’m in wellness, I’m off. I’m not those things. Then we can start to say, well, what kind of box. So which emotions am I experiencing? Why am I experiencing those kinds of things? And does it have to do with this tug of war between independence, autonomy, and community and belonging?

[00:09:27] Am I in that space and myself sacrificing for others? If I am, it might be okay in the moment. I’m willing to make the sacrifice, but then I’m going to return to balance. Am I choosing myself over others? Yes I am right now. Is it to the detriment of other people? No, it isn’t. No, one’s not even going to notice that I chose cereal instead of toast for breakfast.

[00:09:47] Like it’s not a big deal. So when we’re thinking about our capacity to trust ourselves, it is that capacity to know which 1:00 AM I doing when I’m in balance, when I’m out of balance and why? So it’s the full exploration of. When I’m going to make a decision independently, do I trust that I can make that decision objectively and for myself and the greater good equally when I’m in those situations where I need to ask other people, it isn’t because I don’t trust myself.

[00:10:23] It’s because I want opinions of other people to assist in my decision-making because I need to consider the community in this moment because the impact of my decision is to the community. So I shouldn’t be making it alone. It should be asking other people, their thoughts, their feelings, their perspectives, their objectives.

[00:10:40] Hopefully my sense of independence is strong enough that I won’t let my personal opinion about something really objective from someone else. Sway me or dissuade me to making the decision that needs to be made. And we can see this pop up in our professional lives all the time. 

[00:11:02] Zach White: There’s a hundred things I want to ask you right now.

[00:11:04] This is really interesting. First, just a quick point of clarity around the example, and I love. Just clean and simple waking up in the morning as a decision plays out in this example of visit be independently, or how is my community influencing it? Can you just explain the distinction between, let’s say my spouse asks me, honey, would you be willing to wait?

[00:11:28] At 5:00 AM tomorrow for XYZ reason, versus maybe I have a puppy who wakes me up at 3:00 AM by barking and something totally external. Would you put those both in that category of, maybe the puppy is bad for, cause it’s not a human community, but nonetheless it could be a baby instead. Are those are the same and sense of being on that side versus the independent side?

[00:11:52] Or how would you distinguish those? 

[00:11:56] Teresa Quinlan: They’re both. Community-based one simply gave you a heads up so you could choose in advance and the other you’re responding to in the moment, 

[00:12:04] Zach White: the same. And so it’s not so much, was it under control or out of control so much as just simply the decision paradigm that’s happening, whether I’m conscious of it or not at that moment.

[00:12:20] And the challenge we’re asking is because. Becoming conscious of that balance. Is that my getting that close to correct? 

[00:12:26] Teresa Quinlan: Yeah. And I may even say both examples. My wife asks me my puppy inadvertently both are outside of our control. I can’t control my, what my spouse asks me or doesn’t ask me, I can control my response to it right of the bargain.

[00:12:43] I can control the context of your examples are really great context to be able to recognize. Nuances, maybe within the skills and how 

[00:12:55] Zach White: so then, while we’re in the deep end, I’m going to attempt to stay there. And I hope this question makes sense. Feel free to take it any direction you want.

[00:13:03] Teresa. There’s a sense of implied values in this idea of balance that the independent aspect of the decision and the community aspect of the decision. Deserve some sort of mutual consideration. And if someone exclusively decides on the basis of independence, what is good for me and what I want, that that will ultimately be to their detriment in this wellness balance we’re talking about.

[00:13:35] But I think some people might say, yeah, but isn’t that just my decision if I want to do that and that’s right for me, isn’t that? Okay. And so I’m curious, would you argue, or is there evidence. Look to be healthy emotionally, we must consider both. Or is it really up to me to decide how I want to weigh the scale and I can find emotional wellness regardless there.

[00:14:02] The second 

[00:14:02] Teresa Quinlan: part, the latter part of your, is it this, or is it that? So when we start to explore things like. Meaning fulfillment, a rich enjoyable, like self-actualizing and people start to ask, what is, I’m going to roll my eyes here. Work-life balance. What does life balance mean to you? So let’s stop making work something separate from life it’s part of.

[00:14:34] And so what is life about? Cheers? What is life balance? So oftentimes we’ll see this picture of, uh, the scales of justice. Sometimes there’s some sort of scale of the fulcrum in the middle, and we’ve got things on one side and things on the other side. And what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to get the teeter-totter to stay balanced.

[00:14:56] And so we make all of the circles on it, the exact same size, so it can balance. And then we label the circles. Family community, me volunteer health, and whatever’s important to you. And we labeled them. They’re all the same size. They’re only in the, in a row. And then we all try to fit in the box of what that picture looks like.

[00:15:17] And we find out that we can’t do. But I’m trying to follow the prescription for balance and wellness and happiness in our life well lived. And so-and-so wrote a book about it and drew this picture. And now I’m trying to achieve this picture and we wonder why we can’t achieve the picture. It’s because everyone’s picture looks different.

[00:15:37] And it’s up to us to figure, oh, what’s in the picture. So I did this exercise around self-actualization, which as an EQs skill is our willingness to consistently pursue what is meaningful and fulfilling for us that creates that richness and enjoyability in our life. And basically have people draw a circle in the middle of a page and write the word meat in it.

[00:16:06] And assume for a moment. They’re the center of their universe. Generally we all are anyways, and then dress spokes out from this circle with little circles on the end of them. And in those circles start to populate what is a rich and enjoyable life to you? What needs to be part of your life in order for it to be rich and enjoyable in order for there to be meaning and fulfillment.

[00:16:35] And it is amazing. Every single time I do this exercise that people look at me and go, is this right? They show me their picture. Is this right? Only if everything you wrote down is meaningful to you, but if you have a circle that you labeled, because it’s supposed to be there according to someone else, then it’s not quote unquote right.

[00:17:02] And you’ll consistently be unbalanced because you’re dedicating time, energy, and resources to something that’s not meaningful to you. And when we do that, we steal time from the other things that are. So this individuality of drawing my own circle and circles is me thinking about what is it for me?

[00:17:24] Cause then when I show up in a community as an individual who is self actualized, then chances are community is a bubble. It’s one of my circles. Other people will be included in that and I will be a contributor to their wellness. So when it’s time for me to be off balance on purpose, I’ll know how to do it too.

[00:17:52] How much I can do it before I have to return to balance and my own wellness. So I’ll know when to steal time from one thing to give to another. And I’ll know when to return that to it’s balance in work. We’re not in control of that sometimes. Right? The boss says, Hey, I need you to work late. Hey, I need to overload you with more projects, more time, more requests.

[00:18:15] And we go, oh God. And we think we have no control over it. So we have a response control over it and we have a community. That we can vent to that helps us to get it off of our head. And we have a manager that we can talk to and say, Hey, look, I could steal time from this, this and that for the next four days.

[00:18:36] But after that, I can’t give you any more than that. I have to return to balance, but that’s only if we know ourselves well enough as an individual, as part of the community, to be able to assert our needs to somebody else and stand firm to them. 

[00:18:52] Zach White: That line of conversation with a manager that you just articulated is one, I think a lot of engineering leaders listening to would say, wow, I I had the courage and the ability to go hold that boundary or assert that priority in my life in an intentional way.

[00:19:14] That’s really powerful. Theresa, can we zoom out for just a moment? I took us right into the deep end and here we’re talking about some really important ETQ words and skills,self-actualization and authenticity and wellness. In general, if I was going to just come back to the big picture and say, Theresa, could you make a case for the engineer in me and for the engineering leader, listening around why.

[00:19:40] E Q as a skillset and as an area of focus is so important, I think it’s kind of assumed anymore. Like, yeah, it’s a thing. Everybody knows. It’s a thing we all need to work on. It’s really important. But sometimes I don’t know that we actually understand that we just want to not look silly in front of our other colleagues.

[00:20:00] So can you make a case for us? What is it really about? Emotional intelligence and this body of work that’s so important. 

[00:20:08] Teresa Quinlan: one of the nicest things around the pandemic for emotional intelligence was it kind of ended the argument that our emotions impact performs. Is there was this argument about it?

[00:20:19] No, it doesn’t not really like, come on. And then the pandemic hit and so many things for so many people changed all at once and we were all over the place with our emotions and we noticed very quickly that our performance suffered. Now there’s a few scientific things. One is. When we are emotional, we lose our minds.

[00:20:47] That’s why we have the phrase I lost my mind. And this could be that we were elated and excited. It’s not just these quote unquote negative emotions that we label. Like I was furious and I lost my mind. Some people were like, I was so excited. I lost my mind. And the fun that comes out of that statement is that it’s so true that when we are emotionally hijacked, we have a very difficult time accessing our intellect, a rational logical brain, and we do things that don’t make any sense in the moment.

[00:21:23] So that’s one, that’s why ECU is so important. We have to be able to be aware of and manage our emotions, can access our intellect when we need it. So in the case of the pandemic, how did we see that? Like mass quantities of purchasing toilet paper was not rational nor logical because at some point in the evolution of human beings and we don’t have to go that far back because there was no such thing as toilet paper and we survived fine.

[00:21:54] And if our survival was dependent upon two other paper, we were in trouble. But the heightened state of Penn. Anxiety streps made people decision-wise make very irrational, illogical decisions. Now the second part is around threshold. So you and I could go to engineering school and learn all the things we need to know about engineering.

[00:22:23] And we come out and we learn how to do our job. 

[00:22:26] What we see in the workplace related to this is we see individuals who rub others the wrong way. And when they’ve been rubbed the wrong way, they don’t stick around to find out how smart you are. They don’t want to work with you. They don’t want you on their team. And so all of a sudden that person stops getting the high profile projects.

[00:22:49] If you’re listening and you happen to stop getting that high profile projects, it might be because you’re rubbing people the wrong way. And this is your EEQ. So it’s 60, it accounts for 67% of performance, 

[00:23:04] Zach White: 67%. It’s a big number. It’s a huge number. Yeah. That’s a huge number. I I’d love to sit on these two aspects for a moment and talk about what, where would someone begin, in building their IQ on these two domains?

[00:23:22] sort of going back to the idea of emotional hijacking, losing my mind. One of the things that pointed at her, had a beef with this is my soap box is when I hear people describe that reality, the truth of that. But it’s sometimes portrayed in a way that makes us feel like victims to our own emotional hijacking.

[00:23:41] Like there’s nothing you can do, but become more aware and attempt to manage it, you know, count to 10 before you talk or do you know, try to inject some little thing to just when you do flare up and get extremely angry, don’t make that really bad decision. Sometimes it’s like, well, what about the ways to minimize or mitigate that flare up in, in the first place?

[00:24:05] How do I build a level of new transformational mastery in my EQ. And is that even possible, would you address that a little bit? Like how do we move forward or improve in that area? Is it really just at the level of when it happens, have a strategy or is there something that can be done at.

[00:24:24] Base level in our IQ to potentially avoid those hijacking moments in the first place. 

[00:24:32] Teresa Quinlan: Both. And there are things we do in the moment that we need to practice because that’s how our emotional intelligence or emotional quotient actually grows. And then there are proactive things we do to heighten our awareness and put pen to paper, to start figuring out what needs to be different about our perspective, our point of view, our mindset.

[00:24:54] So when we think proactively it’s a number of these things that we kind of put in the self care bucket. Like sleep, right? Exercise, eat well, get the body to function well and healthy. And that starts to mitigate some of the emotional stressors that occur within our body that we are reactive to. And then we want to layer on the heavy hitters, like gratitude journaling.

[00:25:23] Self-discovery. Time invested to excavate. Who am I and how is it that I create my experiences? So when Jim who’s a trigger for me, comes in the room and says that thing that he says that makes me lose my mind. Why do I keep blaming Jim?

[00:25:46] It’s a really interesting question to get under because that’s when we throw our hands up and go, because Jim made me angry. everybody, you heard it here with SAC way and Teresa Quinlan, nobody makes you angry. Just like nobody makes you happy. Nobody makes you sad. You create the emotional experience. So you have to own it and claim it.

[00:26:10] As soon as you claim responsibility for, oh, I’m creating it. That means you can change it. And I don’t know about you, but as soon as I hear, like I, not that I have responsibility, but I have the power or control or the agency exists within me, then I’m free. So within it, my, as my freedom. From being this emotional disruption from being a puppet on the strings that when Jim does this thing, I’m just going to do that thing.

[00:26:42] And no. So Almost like a joke, count to 10 it’s impulse control as a skill and emotional intelligence. And it’s extremely powerful because it helps us to take the needle off the record, our habits, our default habits in our reactions is like having dropping a needle on the record and letting it play the song.

[00:27:03] We just let the song play. We have to learn how to pick the needle up off the record and stop the song from playing. Whatever that takes taking a deep breath, turning around in a circle, counting to 10 in the moment, those strategies are really powerful. What gets in our way is we fail to execute on them.

[00:27:20] We give ourselves egoic reasons not to. And that’s part of the pen to paper work is identifying your ego. What it sounds like, how it shows up and how it sabotages you into letting the needle drop and just play that song one more time. 

[00:27:37] Zach White: I have to repeat what you said a moment ago, because it’s so important.

[00:27:41] And it’s a source of a lot of controversial, challenging conversations in my coaching with engineers that you are both responsible for and able to change. Your emotions and the way that you feel when Jim says that thing, he always says, and I’ll even take it one step further that if, when Jim always says it, and you can predict that Jim will always say it, you absolutely have a responsibility and obligation to change yourself, not Jim.

[00:28:13] you can predict it’s going to happen again, but that is such an important point. And we don’t have enough time today to unpack all. The how to create that change, but engineer listening, just please take that to heart. And if you need help with us, reach out to Teresa, reach out to me.

[00:28:29] We’ll talk more, but I want to take that. So can we have this, this ability and responsibility? To manage these heightened states. And I love this metaphor taking the needle off the record as a picture. And what I’m hearing you say is honestly, it’s me getting in my own way. And my ego that prevents me from taking action on these simple needle off the record strategies really is that simple.

[00:28:57] The second dimension. I love that you talked about it because I think it’s so important for engineers to recognize that your IQ has the threshold. You, yes, you can go get a PhD and really push the needle all the way different needle. This isn’t the same record. Sorry, push the envelope all the way out to the edge of that area of knowledge and truly become the world’s greatest in one domain.

[00:29:20] But there’s only so many jobs for the world’s one greatest. Person in that space. So generally speaking, we all approach that upper bound to where in the eyes of our organization and the value they need us to create one person’s intelligence versus another is hardly distinguishable for value creation.

[00:29:38] And it’s EEQ that drives the difference. Would you just list for us, Teresa? What are the main EEQ differentiators? You outlined a couple of examples earlier, but where would an engineer want to focus for. And being able to take the IQ they have, but actually deploy it for value into their work-life or even their personal life, but career focused, maybe to begin.

[00:30:02] What are those, differentiators? 

[00:30:05] Teresa Quinlan: In my professional opinion, it would be empathy. So I’m going to make the distinction here. Empathy, not as a personality trait, because we know impacts, you know, and pass that are deep feeling sensitive, individuals, empathy and emotional intelligence is a skill we use, not a personality trait.

[00:30:29] We develop. So for everyone listening, that’s like, oh my God, I’m not going to cry in the corner. Hold hands, sing kumbaya. Good. Cause that’s not what I’m talking about. 

[00:30:39] Zach White: Yeah. Every, every engineer listening was just about to hit stop until, so 

[00:30:46] Teresa Quinlan: that’s probably the. Misconception about emotional intelligence is it means we get more sensitive and that’s not what it means at all.

[00:30:54] We get stuck in the first word and we forget about the second word, emotional intelligence. So it’s getting smarter about our emotions. That’s what we’re doing. And so that’s why it’s developmental skills. So empathy is our ability and willingness to understand someone else’s perspective. So when we have high levels of IQ, sometimes we get stuck in our own intellect.

[00:31:16] I know. It’s a really common phrase. And when I say, I know, guess how many people also want to be listening zero. So when we use empathy, it’s actually putting what we know aside just for a minute and making room beside us, not above us or below us, but beside us, for other people to share how they’re looking at the problem.

[00:31:44] So essentially empathy is a demonstration of our curiosity. How would you approach this problem? What form are they, would you use whose methodology would you want to tackle it with? What would it look like at the end result for you? What would you want the client to see the customers see the user to see whatever we just kind of dive in and go help me see the picture that’s in your head.

[00:32:05] And when we use empathy to the nth degree, what ends up happening is. Instead of us taking the first thing they said and filling in what, what we think that’s going to mean, which we’re never write about anyways. Cause it’s just our point of view. When we finally get all the words out of their head and see the full picture, oftentimes what they’re painting.

[00:32:28] Well, it looks kind of similar to what we’re going to paint anyways, but they just have a couple of different approaches here and there. And the end result we’re aiming for is quite similar. Or they’ve got something you’re like, where did you get that red spot in yours? I’ve never seen that before. That’s really interesting.

[00:32:43] And I wonder how we can combine your differences and uniqueness and mine and create something that’s actually very new because independently we can’t. Because our IQ threshold, but together we can create something different because we’ll have overlaps that look the same. And then we’ll have these bright spots that are very different from each other.

[00:33:04] So that skill in itself is exceptionally powerful to one stop rubbing people the wrong way. To stop leading with our intellect because usually that’s what rubs people the wrong way. And three allow our independence to shine after we allow our community to shine. So when I follow with assertiveness, that person has felt so seen and heard by my use of empathy that they’re now willing to listen to what my point of view is.

[00:33:42] When I start with assertiveness, if they’re not emotionally intelligent, then they won’t be listening to me. There’ll be preparing their defense 

[00:33:52] Zach White: argument. Yes. Yes. I hope the engineer listening backs this up a minute and listens to that again, because that was incredible. And. Theresa, just give us one specific example of what it looks like for empathy to show up in the workplace in a real scenario, because I love how you described empathy.

[00:34:18] Doesn’t mean when someone else is crying, that I must cry with them in the corner or that I become an empath as the emotional trait. It’s this intelligence around it. And so could you just give us one real world on the court example of empathy? Okay. 

[00:34:35] Teresa Quinlan: So we’re coming to a project meeting together and we’re discussing ideas of how we think it should go.

[00:34:40] And Jim let’s just use Jim because he’s been great. You know, Jim comes in and he shares an idea and I feel myself go, buddy, Jim, not again with that idea. So I noticed myself start to rise in temperature, just call it that. And I’m ready with my tongue. My mother used to call it my. But I’m ready to say something back.

[00:35:04] That’s just gonna slap them in the face. I’m going to put him in his place instead of doing the words. Tell me more, Jim, come out of your most. That is empathy and action. Three little words. Tell me more.

[00:35:23] Zach White: I love the simplicity. Easy to apply and end this word. Temperature, I think is a really beautiful. Picture, because that is what the experience of heightened emotion. I like to tell my clients one way to help build some awareness is to think of emotion, energy in motion. It has this real biological element to it.

[00:35:47] And you, some people might refer to vibrations in the body and these things I don’t want to get too. Woo, woo with it. But the point of you do feel some, some temperature rising, and to take that as a trigger for a new behavior. Tell me more. That is empathy and action. I think that’s a really beautiful, concise examples of thank you for that.

[00:36:09] What do you think is the reason then maybe it’s just ego it’s could be a simple answer, but why is it so hard for us to actually succeed at that particular example? You know, if someone hears that, like, yeah, people have told me that before, but I still. Telling Jim off, I keep going for the, for the kill, so to speak.

[00:36:30] What is it that is so difficult about making that shift first for humans 

[00:36:35] Teresa Quinlan: believing that I won’t be worth less,

[00:36:39] which is a whole other conversations 

[00:36:42] Zach White: we’re going to need another episode. Oh, that’s such a power fencer. Keep going. 

[00:36:47] Teresa Quinlan: Yeah. So what often will get in our way? When we’re going to reserve our intellect is. I attach a lot of my worthiness to my intellect and through so little fault of our own, because when we came out of the womb, it became the thing for a lot of us that was.

[00:37:12] Praised measured stack ranked, given gold stars for you name it. And so we’re, uh, many of us are very deeply connected to how smart we are equaling how worthy we are. And so if we can start to dismantle that, then using empathy will be super easy. 

[00:37:39] Zach White: Theresa, this hits home for me so much because academics and intellect and performance in school was the premier value in my household.

[00:37:53] And well-intended, you know, my mom was a teacher. My grandma was a teacher Able to get good grades. And so for my mom, it was, Hey, you can get straight A’s therefore go get them. And all of the rewards and recognition in the home was built around that. And I’m super thankful that I learned a lot.

[00:38:12] I was extremely smart. I was valedictorian. I got great grades. I went to Purdue. I had all these great things, but it absolutely. That circuitry, you just were talking about that. My ability to be smarter than or solve the problem through intelligence was my only strategy for success. And no doubt. I feel even to this day, that staying of unworthiness, try to take over.

[00:38:42] My heart and my state, uh, quality of my life is impacted in a big way. When I feel like I’m not smart enough to do something that really, really resonates. Thanks for challenging us with that. We’re going to need a whole nother conversation, Theresa, cause there’s so many places to go, but I feel like we’ve really put a lot on people’s hearts and minds.

[00:39:03] At least for me, I I’m in that place. So let’s land the. And I always finish in the same place. And I’m really excited to hear where you’ll take us with this, that, you know, great engineering and great coaching, and you are an amazing coach. So I know this will resonate for you. That questions. And answers follow.

[00:39:22] And if we ask poor questions, we’re going to get poor answers. And just to pay attention to the questions we ask ourselves. So for the engineering leader, who’s been listening to this conversation who wants to experience that success at work, but that happiness and fulfillment of meeting we’ve talked about, what would be the best question you would lead them with today?

[00:39:45] Teresa Quinlan: for me, it often comes back to helping unlock within each individual. What is the definition? So when someone wants to achieve life balance and they ask, how do I achieve life balance? My first question is what’s your definition of life balance. And many times they don’t know. So that’s the first exploration.

[00:40:12] And that means shedding a lot of layers, layers that other people have put on us that we’re walking around with. And sometimes we’re unaware that we’re walking around with these layers. So we have to get rid of them. And some of them were like, no, actually I really liked this one. Excellent. So keep it, cause that resonates with you.

[00:40:32] And I want to be happier. I want to be more fulfilled. Well, what’s your definition of happiness? I don’t know. Well, let’s work on that first because once you’re really clear and decisive of what your definition is of what it means to you, what it looks like to you feels like to smells like tea tastes like, do you experiences like it?

[00:40:50] Once you’re clear on what that is, then you can start things like visualizing it. And visualization is the most powerful tool for changing programming. But if you’re not clear on what it means to you and what its definition is to you, then what ends up happening is we end up chasing the obscure, neatly packaged things that are already out there.

[00:41:10] And we never, we never reach it. 

[00:41:15] Zach White: It’s beautiful. And I’m really encouraged by that. And I think any engineer listening will be that we like definitions. We like precision. And yet we often do not apply that exact principle into these areas of our life, where we. Feel unsatisfied. We do it at work all day long.

[00:41:33] Somebody uses a word, a term in a meeting that we don’t have mutual agreement on its definition, and we’ll debate about it for days. And then we have this area of our life that is incredibly important, and we don’t spend the energy to get clear on the definition. So Theresa, thank you for that. I know people are going to want to follow up with you and just discover more of your incredible work as a coach, as a leader and your, your specialty around IQ and everything that you’ve done, Theresa, where, where can people go to find out more connect with you if they want.

[00:42:06] Teresa Quinlan: So my website is a really good one-stop shop for that. And I have a formula it’s IQ plus E Q equals TQ. So my website is IQ IQ,, and LinkedIn is a great place to follow me. Snippets of content Monday to Friday video format, usually because I don’t like speaking to people as if I’m speaking to a friend and dishing out, like this is ETQ and this is EDI, and this is how you use it.

[00:42:37] Try it today. Have fun. So those are two places to find. 

[00:42:43] Zach White: I love it. And I can testify. You will not regret falling three. So on LinkedIn, her content is phenomenal. I learned from it every time I have an opportunity to watch one of your videos. I love it. So thank you again. So, so much for making time for us today and creating space to share your wisdom with our listeners.

[00:43:01] And I hope we can do this again sometime. 

[00:43:04] Teresa Quinlan: We need to part two would be fantastic. Yeah.