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  • Writer's pictureTaChelle Lawson

DEI Needs Emotional Intelligence

Updated: 4 days ago

Business, bulls #*t, strategy, profitability, culture, crisis communications, virtue signaling, engagement, motivation, #GSD, etc. are languages every leader should speak. 

Woman in deep thought building her emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the root of sound decisions and good leadership. We need more EQ in DEI.

However, regardless of how many languages and dialects you master, the most successful leaders have higher degrees of emotional intelligence (EQ) than normal. In fact, several studies suggest that about 90% of top performers have higher EQ than normal. 

Not to be confused with being “emotional.”

The power of EQ is knowing yourself. Leaders with high EQ are better at self-motivating, self-regulating and managing difficulties while making it look easy despite requiring hard work and discipline. High-EQ leaders also know when to engage and when to hold off. The foundation is everything. 

Let's look at it from a DEI perspective. At the height of 2021, a few were silent when nearly every American corporation shouted from the rooftops about the importance of diversity, posting fists and black boxes on Instagram and announcing their new Black hires in press releases.

Were they silent because they didn’t care about diversity? would I argue that most of those who remained silent saw through the fear, pandering, race-baiting, virtue-signaling, anger, and general wokeness and knew that nothing good comes from highly emotional or charged decisions.

Some still haven’t spoken out, and it's 2024!

Businesses need to have EQ as well. 

Look at the damage ignorant leaders have caused in the name of “DEI.” Not understanding the difference between wokeness and DEI has contributed to significant disinvestment in an area designed to help, not hurt, businesses.  

How do you build business EQ? Respect and Regulate.

Build a culture based on RESPECT. Not race or gender. If you’re hiring or promoting to tick boxes, you disrespect the candidate, other employees and the organization's overall mission. STOP.

Normalizing accountability can regulate negative emotions and toxic behavior. With the woke narrative of “belonging” and “authenticity,” it can be perceived as negative for establishing healthy boundaries, but it must be done. 

We're all allowed to have bad days. But that doesn't mean we tolerate negative attitudes that affect the performance of others or constantly have “bad days” (i.e., toxic behavior) and call it “authenticity.” It is also not ok to bring up subjects or make comments that result in division or isolation. Meet regulation.

Establish a space where individuals are shown respect and encouraged to express themselves (within professional reason) and know what is and isn’t acceptable. 

Content and behavior vary by environment and audience because you’re probably not dropping F-bombs at a child or expecting them to cook breakfast. Work is one of those environments where not all content and behavior are appropriate, and it is 100% within a leader's authority (and responsibility) to regulate it.  

Remember that less than 35% of Americans acquire emotional intelligence, so there’s a significant chance that you are working for (or with) very few individuals with high EQ. This leaves us to deduce that those with it need to pick up the slack of those without it. Supporting the importance of enforcing respect and regulation. 

If you experience discomfort addressing individuals of a different race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual identity, etc., it proves you have awareness, as that is a legitimate concern. Outside counsel can provide unbiased and powerful perspectives. Just be sure you look for someone who aligns with your business goals, mission and values.

DEI needs emotional intelligence. It also needs strength and integrity, so choose partners and employees wisely. Contact TaChelle for guidance.

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