Episode 2

Published on:

13th Apr 2023

Importance of Emotional Intelligence in our Careers with Ammar Farishta

This week we are talking about the importance of Emotional Intelligence in our careers, and Tazmin is joined by an industry expert in this area, Ammar Farishta.

About Ammar:

Ammar Farishta is an experienced facilitator, mediator and trainer with experience of dental practices and other businesses design and deliver solutions tailored to their needs. He has a background in Learning and Development and is a skilled, intuitive facilitator of groups, meetings, conferences etc. Prior to facilitation, he developed managerial experience in the retail sector setting up a successful international ice-cream franchise and running it for a number of years. In terms of qualifications and further training, Ammar holds a BA in Business Administration, is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, a trained Mediator, a trained Mental Health First Aid Trainer and is accredited to use Psychological Type as a psychometric tool by The Type Academy. He has also undergone training in using the Egan Skilled Helper Model as a Mentor and holds a FdA in Business Management.

Where to find Ammar:

Ammar's Website

@fitrustraining on Instagram

Ammar's Facebook page

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Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us for another episode of the SEO Mindset podcast. This is a slightly poor lead has been here this week and we are going to be talking about the importance of EQ in our careers. And I'm joined by an industry expert in this area Ammar Farishta. Ammar works with organisations on how to increase her EQ and more importantly, why it's important. He's an experienced facilitator, mediator and trainer. In fact, I've been trained by him on mental health and he has podcast of his own, EQ Squared, which hopefully he'll talk a little bit about as well. So before we get into this week's episode, a quick remind on how you can support the podcast. If you enjoy listening to us and finding the content useful, then head over to our page, the Seomysetpodcast Co UK, and head over to the Buymere Coffee page. There's a link in our show notes, but here you can give us a one off donation to support us. Another way is by spreading the word. The more people that are listening to us, the more guests we can get on and the more value we can deliver. So, right, let's get on with this week's podcast. Ammar, thank you so much for coming on to the show today. How are you?


Yes, I'm very well. Thank you for asking. I'd ask how you are, but I think it's quite clear that you're not at 100% today, are you?


Yeah, we forget about COVID and that it exists, but it's okay. In a way, I can carry on working because we are where we are, with remote working. So at least it keeps me going. In this way, I don't feel like I'm on my own, even though I am isolating.


Fair enough, fair enough.


So the topic today, the importance of EQ in your career, if you can talk us a little bit about what is EQ?


Great question. So I'm a big believer that emotional intelligence, or EQ for short, is the world's best kept secret. I think it is a fundamental aspect of our personal lives, our careers, our role as parents. If you're a parent, there's so many ways in which EQ can be utilised, but in order to sort of understand its relevance, I think it's important to get a definition to start with. So emotional intelligence, or EQ, is essentially the understanding of one's emotions. How to be able to then control those emotions and then utilise those emotions to be able to have an impact on your wider relationships. So that's what essentially emotional intelligence is. It is the utilisation of our emotions in order to be able to get the best possible result, not only for ourselves, but in our relationships as well. Regardless of whether those relationships are in the workplace or in your personal lives. I think EQ can be used in a variety of different ways.


I hear what you're saying. It does sound like almost like a given that this is something we would know how to do and it would be more talked about. Why do you feel it's important?


Well, I think that EQ is one of those metrics which is well, first of all, it's difficult to measure, right? It can be a challenge to actually measure it in the first place. But I find EQ is a really good way of understanding the difference between someone who is good and someone who is great. So to give you a career example, for instance, you have, let's say, a good doctor and a great doctor, right? And whilst both of them, in terms of their knowledge, in terms of their IQ, in terms of their expertise, they might both be identical and exactly the same, the difference between the pair of them might just be their bedside manners, right? That one has a way to be able to connect a little bit deeper with their patients, to understand what their patients are feeling on an emotional level, to understand how their team are also feeling as well, and to be able to connect better with their team. And so that is fundamentally the difference between a good and a great doctor, for instance, that one just simply has better ability to be able to connect deeper with their patients, with their team and ultimately that leads to better results. Right. What you'll find is when it comes to very specific studies around emotional intelligence and around what are sort of known as quote unquote, soft skills, I'm not a fan of that particular terminology. I find it very making it feel irrelevant and making it feel not as tangible. Whereas the reality is it is quite tangible and it's something that is really important. But there's a lot of studies that talk about the relevance and the importance of EQ. And one such study found that in a legal instance for instance, right, if you look at the legal field, those lawyers who were successful or those barristers who were successful in defending their client, the ones who had higher success rates in terms of defence were those who are able to make the audience or those who are casting the judgement to be able to feel a certain way towards their client. Right? So EQ is a really good way of trying to get people to change the way that they feel and ultimately have an impact on the results as opposed to just purely focusing on the results. So that's why I think EQ is such a fundamental aspect of so much that we do and I think it can really raise the bar in terms of not only our careers but our personal lives as well.


I hear what you say about soft skills and the term soft skills on this podcast. A lot of what we talk about are those skills, but I also have a problem with that terminology. Do you have an alternative that you prefer?


Yeah, I would class them as essential skills, to be very frank with you. That's what I would call them because ultimately these types of skills are vital for us to be better, right? So to give a really good example, right, we have emotional intelligence, we also have the art of communicating and to be able to communicate in a way that is coherent, that is relevant, that is succinct and in ways that people that it will land with certain individuals. And so that method or the art of being able to communicate across your message is what I would call a fundamental skill set, right? It's something that you absolutely need. It's an essential skill set and that is the same in other areas. Whether you think about things like active listening, if you look at things like empathy, if you look at emotional intelligence, if you look at conflict resolution. These are all sort of skills within that repertoire which I would define as essential skills because they really are essential.


Skills and they pan throughout all life, not just career, not just relationship, but throughout every their daily skills that we if we are better at those skills, then life becomes better 100%.


And I love this that when I do sort of emotional intelligence workshops with my clients, the impact that I find is, whilst I'm doing it specifically from a career perspective, to be able to enhance themselves as individual team members. What I find is later on down the line, the feedback that they give to me is that this wasn't just relevant for me in the workplace, this has leaked out into my marriage, this has leaked out into my relationships, my personal relationships, this has leaked out and made me a better parent. And I think that's the wonderful thing about this stuff, that it's not just relevant in one specific aspect. And I find that these essential skills are almost like a Swiss Army knife. You can use them in any context you wish. So regardless of where it is that you want to do in your life, EQ specifically can be used in a vast number of areas. And you'll find actually that emotional intelligence actually comes naturally to us, right? We all have a degree of EQ, we have a degree of understanding what our emotions are and utilising those emotions in order to influence relationships. And it starts from childhood, right? You see that in children as young as six to eight months old, where you'll see parents will recognise whether the child genuinely wants something or is trying to manipulate, to use that term, for lack of a better term. Their emotions in order to try and get something just purely by the shout in their voice or the scream in their voice and the tone that they're using. They'll change that up subtly, right? And it's very interesting you'll find that from childhood. So the way that I see it is that EQ is hardwired into us. It's just about learning to be able to tap into that and to be able to utilise that, to enhance our relationships in a better way. And I also see this as a tool, right? So a tool can be used, but it can also be misused, it can be abused as well. And so we have to be really mindful as individuals, just to be very clear that we are utilising this to make things better and not to manipulate, if that makes sense.


So it's a skill that can be very powerful, but it can be misused. You said something there that we all have a level of EQ. We're born with it. It's hardwired, babies have it. I never even thought about it that way. And on this programme, we're talking about how to improve and how to get better. What happens in between us being babies and tapping into it, to us stopping tapping into it.


So I think this goes there's a number of factors that I think has caused sort of EQ to sort of fall by the wayside. And I think there's two that I'd like to highlight on specifically. I think one is around parenting and parenting styles. Our greatest influence when it comes to our personal beliefs, when it comes to our emotional intelligence, when it comes to the way that we see the world happens between zero and seven years old and children are like sponges. They will just take in absolutely everything you feed them. Right? And so it's at the parenting, the early parenting years where there is a significant influence on whether a child is able to be able to develop their emotional intelligence to that degree or not. So I think that is one factor that's really important to bear in mind, I think, when it does come to parenting, if you think of the idea of different genders right? And we'll talk about this as a secondary thing as well, because I think environment is the other factor I want to discuss as well. But from a gender perspective, right. The way that parents traditionally will bring up a girl versus the way they will bring up a boy usually is different. Right. And as a consequence of that, I think the way that our environment has shaped boys to express emotion and the way for girls to express emotion is very different. Right. And I just find that when it comes to parenting, in particular, specifically with boys, there can be a lot of challenges when it comes to try and sort of instil in boys this idea of emotional intelligence, because there is a concept that men should simply just bottle up their emotions and power on through. Right. And that's what makes a great man. That's what society deems, right? Just in general, I don't believe that, but that's what society deems to be the definition of a man. Someone who is just bottling up their emotions and powering through no matter what. And as a consequence of that, when you're teaching this type of toxic masculinity to boys at such a young age, what then starts to happen is that you'll have problems in later life, right? And there are so many issues in the world which I think can be laid squarely on toxic masculinity, can be laid on the doorstep of certain men. And I think that's a discussion for another day. But when it comes to EQ, specifically, I think this is one factor to bear in mind, which is parenting. The other thing is environmental factors, right? And I think I just want to link this idea again to the example of men and women. There is a big misunderstanding, in my opinion, that men don't express emotions. I feel that society in general has this understanding that men simply do not express emotions as much as women. Now, I would argue that the experience of emotions, right? I e what you are experiencing within you will be the same for a man and a woman, okay? So for argument's sake, just to give, let's say, a marital example, you find that let's say a traditional sort of marriage, a husband and wife, and you have both of them who are experiencing a disagreement with the pair of them, right? And they're arguing amongst each other, right? The way both of them will feel, they may feel angry, hurt, resentful, disappointed, frustrated. They could be feeling sadness, a whole concoction of different emotions. I would argue they're both feeling that, but the way both of them are expressing it are very different. Right. And I also find that the reason why that is happening today, now more than ever, is because there simply isn't that safe space for men to be able to express that emotion. Because society deems the expression of emotion by men to be a failure. They deem it to be something that is not the definition of a man, which I fundamentally disagree with. And just to give you an example here around, how is it possible that we can create an environment? I would say that there are many people who would oppose that and say, you know, Ammar, I don't disagree with that. I think there is men simply don't express emotions. Full stop it's. It's just hardwired to them. It's got nothing to do with environment. My counterargument to that would be go on a Saturday afternoon or go on a Sunday afternoon to a football stadium, right? And have a look at the vast majority of those people who are there in the stadium are men, right? And you see the expression of emotion on their faces, right? They are chanting, they are screaming, they are singing. Some of them might even be crying. You'll have a variety of different emotions that's taking place in a stadium 40, 50, 60,000 people, vast majority of men, and they are expressing their emotions, right? Very much so some of them could be positive, some could be negative, but the point is that they are expressing those emotions. Why? Because it's an acceptable environment to be able to express those emotions. Right? And that's what we need to change this there. I went on a little bit of a run there, sorry, but I hope that answered the question.


It's very interesting and I'd never thought of it like that, that both men and women would be expressing feeling the same emotions in a dispute, but how they express it are very different or actually not being able to express it and the impact that then has. But yeah, that was super useful. We're going to take a short break now and then when we come back, turn the conversation more into how we can get better EQ, especially in our professional lives, because I think that would be really insightful to all of our listeners.




So welcome back to everyone. We've been talking to Ammar in this podcast about the amazingly deep discussion on EQ. And before the break, we talked about EQ in general and how it impacts our lives. Hugely fascinating. Thank you so much for that, Ammar.


No worries.


Let's talk a little bit about EQ on careers. What is the impact that it has on careers? How can having a lower, if that's the way you say, a lower EQ or a higher Q has on day to day working life?


Yeah, great question. Just to get an idea. So ideally, the higher the person's EQ, the better in terms of the way that it can impact your career. I was having to think about this. So I think it can be impactful, I think, in three ways. So, first of all, when we think about actually recruitment in the first place, so what you'll find is when you want to try and have success, whether that is success from a career perspective, a success from a relationship perspective, a success from a parenting perspective. What you'll find is that you got to try and make sure that you are focusing on the way that people are feeling as opposed to the actual outcome. So a really good example of this in the world of sort of technology, for instance, just to give one example, right, is Apple. So emotional intelligence is not just purely on relationships when it comes to direct relationships, right, whether that be from a manager to an employee or any other way, it's also between a company and its customer, right? And the way that your customer will feel is actually thinking about emotional intelligence in a very different way. So I find, for instance, and I'll circle back to the point that I was going to make, but just to give an example here with Apple, what you'll find is that their products are aesthetically beautiful, right? And I distinctly remember actually, this must have been around ten years ago when I ordered an iPad for the very first time. And I opened up the box and it comes in this sort of really white, nicely wrapped a box. And I opened it and the packaging sort of almost fell apart like a flower petal, right? And it opened up like that. I thought, oh wow, this is stunning. I mean, just fabulous attention to detail, right? And it made me feel a certain way to say, you know, actually this feels really special. These guys have taken the time out to make this look beautiful. This package is really nicely. It makes me feel like I've got something really sort of chunky on my hands and it's great, and it made me feel wonderful. So that's a really good example of how a company can make their customers feel a certain way to actually go back to buying from them again and again, right? So it's about how to actually make the other person feel. Now, when it comes to a career perspective, when you think about recruitment, for instance, okay, if you're at an interview stage, interviews are 70% about how you're making. So if you're sitting there as someone who is looking to get the job, 70% of it is about how you're making the interviewer feel, and 30% is your actual knowledge. Right? I'm not saying that the knowledge is not important. It is, and it's obviously something that you need to demonstrate. But the way that you demonstrate it is you're doing it in such a way that when it lands with the interviewer, it sits in such a way that it makes them feel a certain way that this person feels like and it looks like this person is knowledgeable, has got expertise, has got relevant examples, has got stories. And you're utilising these in order to be able to get the job that you want. And ultimately, that's really what drives through success rates when it comes to interviews. It's how the interviewer was actually made to feel, because a lot of it, when it comes to and I sit here as someone who's also been in a position of the head of HR at a company, and it would be my role to be recruiting candidates, and a lot of the times it would be based on gut instinct. It's not necessarily just based on the hard facts on the ground. You have to go with your gut. And that ultimately comes to how the interviewer performed in terms of how they made me feel as an interviewer. So I think that's one way in which EQ can be really useful for careers. I think the second way is progression, right? So actually wanting to move up the career ladder and to move from one place to another, or to be able to sort of progress in your role, one of the best ways to be able to do this is to be able to enhance the relationship that you have with your manager, right? And part of that comes down to what's known as resiliency. So there is a very big push at the moment for managers, people who work in the HR space, people who are in positions of power or leadership within a company to try and ensure that their employees or people who work with them or members of their team are able to take on sort of more tasks and are able to do more and more. And part of that now, whilst I think that's important from a business perspective, I think what we need to be really mindful of is that this can have an impact on the team's well being and the team's sort of welfare. And so the difference between someone who is able to sort of progress further in their career, ie. Take on that additional workload. Impress to be able to then utilise some of that negotiation skill, to be able to be affirmative enough to say that now that I've done all of this work and I've proven myself, why? Don't we now have a discussion around maybe moving my role? Or to have a different role where I could be remunerated more for what I'm doing? Those conversations only happen once you're actually resilient enough to be able to take on that role. And I think that's the difference between the two that you'll have one team member who will take it on, begrudgingly, might get quite annoyed and ultimately leave the position. The other one will take it on to say hey, this is actually here designed to help grow me, to help nurture me, to help I could learn a new skill set while I'm at it. And fundamentally I'll use this as leverage to be able to get a better position in the future. So that mindset difference is fundamentally what emotional intelligence is all about. So I think that's where it can be useful as well. So one is recruitment, one is progress. I think the final one is also around conflict, right? So in any relationship conflict is inevitable. It's going to happen. I think what we need to learn is that conflict is not just something that is to be avoided or something that we want to try and reduce. That's not the aim of the game here. The aim of the game is to try and learn how to fight, right? So to actually have the tools to be able to have a thorough, robust conversation with whoever it is, another team member or your manager or whoever it is that it might be there, to be able to get over that conflict in a way that is a win for you, is a win for them. And ultimately you come out with something that is tangible, right, and something that is useful. So having the emotional intelligence to understand that you know what, in the midst of this conflict, they are entrenched in a certain position, I'm entrenched in a certain position. Now I'm feeling a certain way, but I need to just park that to one side and just try and understand what their perspective is and try and get them to understand what my perspective is so that we could meet somewhere in the middle without allowing our emotions to actually drive our decision making or to actually allow them to take the driving seat and just be reactive. What we want to try and do is be responsive instead, right? So if someone is saying something to us, try to try and understand why is it that they've actually said that in the first place?


That's a tough for you though, that last one, because I'm not sure what happened there. Part of the EQ is tapping into your emotions, tapping into how you're feeling about something, but in that moment you have to park it and try and understand how they're feeling. That's a skill that if you can master that skill, that paves itself forward for you in all elements of life. So you've talked about the importance of EQ and how it can help you in your career when you're not in a leadership position. What about if you are in a leadership position? What would your thoughts on that be?


So from a leadership perspective, I think one of the most. So there are so many different modes of leadership, there are so many ways in which someone can lead, right, and there's been so many research papers done on different styles of leadership and utilising very famous leaders and understanding their case studies. But I think one of the most impactful ways that one can lead when it comes to having a high EQ is what's known as vulnerable leadership, right? So what I mean by vulnerable leadership and what's really interesting is this term vulnerability I think is associated with weakness, right? I remember a really interesting story that during lockdown my wife and I, we started doing crosswords, right, during lockdown and we picked up this particular crossword and it said eight across and the clue was vulnerability. And I went yeah, well vulnerability, eight letters, the answer is strength, right? Because there's strength, there's power in vulnerability. And she looked at it and went well Marno, that doesn't make sense because then this letter won't line up and this letter won't line up and that doesn't make sense but the word weakness is also eight letters across that will put it in there. And I was quite shocked actually and I went oh yeah, actually you're right, but hold on a minute, the clue vulnerability is associated with the word weakness, right? And that's how society in general sort of sees that. And it's really interesting because when you see the word vulnerability it is generally associated with someone being weak. Oh, you want to target that person's vulnerability. This is where they're vulnerable. You want to try and attack that point. Right? The reality is that vulnerability in and of itself is a strength, right? But vulnerability has to come with boundaries and I'll try and showcase this in a leadership perspective, because that was the question. When it comes to yourself as a leader, where vulnerability, I think, can be really helpful is you are actually creating an environment where team members can actually have the courage to come up to you and say, you know what, I'm actually struggling with this. I need some help, I need some support, can you please guide me? Right, or you're creating an environment where someone may have a knowledge gap and just put up their hand to say, hey, I'm not really sure about this particular task or this particular project. Is there a way that I can get some support around this? And you can only do that when you start to showcase some of the issues that you might be experiencing. We have this concept when it comes to human psychology, which is known as mirroring, right? And it's this idea that when we as individuals want to try and showcase to the other person that we're listening, one of the ways that we do so is by actually mirroring their body language, right? So the moment that, for instance, I was to tilt my head to one side and the other person was to also tilt their head to one side, I start to recognise that they are potentially listening to me. Why? Because they are mirroring my body language. It's something that we do subconsciously. And what you'll find here is, with mirroring, it doesn't just occur when it comes to body language, it comes to our deep subconscious as well. So when we open up a window to our own soul and to our own vulnerability, other people will do the same in your team. So when you as a leader, in the morning stand up, for instance, are saying that, you know what, actually, just to make you guys aware, I've actually had a really rubbish morning. I've slept horribly at night, my kids have kept me awake, I've come out of the house, I've not had my morning coffee, I've had to rush. I'm not in a great place right now, I'll be very frank with you, but I'm going to be here to try and support you as best as I can. But that is the position that I'm in right now and I just thought I'd be very upfront about it. And that leads team members to then start to mirror that and to later on have the safe space to say, hey, actually, you know what, boss? Just to make you aware, I'm also struggling with this particular thing. How can we actually go about and make it better? What have you sort of managed to do in your life to help with the problem that I'm facing? Have you come across it before? Or if not, can you refer me to someone who's actually come across it? And what you're doing there is. Not only are you creating a safe space, but ultimately, by solving the issue and by helping your team member to be able to do it together as a leader, you're demonstrating your leadership capability, your leadership capacity, and on top of all that, your team members are going to remain loyal to you, right? They're going to stick around for a long, long time because they know that ultimately this manager or this leader cares. They care and they're making me feel a certain way, which ultimately is what EQ is all about. That's what we've been talking about so far, right? About it's how you make people feel. And the moment you make them feel that way, they're going to stick with you for a long time. So you're not then wasting time, money, resources on having to develop or train new members of staff because your team members or staff members are going out the door every three, six months. Instead, you're focusing on growing your team in a better way because you've got loyal staff and you've got people who are going to go the extra mile for you and ultimately help you to grow your business. So that's really where I think EQ can be so valuable as a leader.


Am I 100% buy into what you're saying? I agree with you. I guess the challenge for somebody who doesn't quite feel the same way is this conception that vulnerability is a weakness and to be able to bridge that. So you've taught us a lot about what it is and why it's important. Can you give us some tips on how can we get better in our own EQ?


That's a great question. So again, I would break this down into three different ways. So first of all, I think we need to be a lot better at labelling our emotions more accurately. So when it comes to our emotional vocabulary, I think a lot of us would struggle to be able to identify exactly what emotion it is that we're feeling. So usually when someone asks how you're doing, it might be, I'm happy, I'm sad, I'm angry, I'm fearful, I'm frustrated, whatever the case might be, right? It may be just that. But if you take anger, for instance, as an emotion in and of itself, right? Anger has got various different levels to it, right? It might be frustration, it might be anger, it might be rage, it might be a sense of injustice. Right? There are all sorts of different emotions which go far beyond anger, right? Anger is just one level. There's so many different levels. So first of all, we need to get better at being able to label our emotions. Now, there are two ways in which we could raise our awareness, right? So one is via feedback, okay? So that's other people telling us or telling us about our blind spots, that's one way. The other way is through self reflection. I find that when it comes to emotional intelligence and being able to actually identify our emotions and label them. The best person to be able to label your emotions is you, right? There's no one else who is able to label it better than you, because you're the one experiencing it. Right. It's like someone asking you, what is it like to be a parent? And if I was to ask you that question in the context of this recording, now I'm on the cusp of becoming a dad for the very first time, whereas someone like yourself has been an experienced parent for many years, right. And you've transitioned through to children who are now married and going to have kids of their own. So your understanding of parenting and mine will be completely different. So the moment that you can say, oh, parenting is like this, and you're describing it, I won't actually be able to understand that until I've experienced it myself. Once I'm in the trenches to say, actually, you know what? Yeah, now I get it. I understand it because I've experienced it. So when it comes to feedback, I think it's challenging for that to happen when it comes to emotions. So self reflection is the best way to do this. So what I would advise is, for those who are looking to improve their emotional vocabulary, one of the best ways is actually just to be able to reflect at the end of the day for five minutes, no longer than that five minutes, and think about a part of the day that was emotionally charged. Now, emotionally charged can be both extreme elation, or it could be extreme sadness, or it could be extreme frustration. It could be anyway, right. But there is a moment where you are emotionally charged at some stage, right. Try and understand what were the exact emotions that you were feeling at that time. So rewind that event in your head and just go through what took place and how was it that it made you feel, right? And try and get down to the nitty gritty of it and to try and to be able to label that more accurately. And you can only do so via this concept of self reflection. So I think that's one thing that I would give in terms of improving EQ. The other thing would be around regulating your emotions, right? So now that you've got a better understanding of what it is that you're feeling, how are you actually going to now regulate that and not allow that to be able to take control? So regulating your emotions, one of the best systems that I've come across is what's known as the traffic light system. Okay? So in your mind, you have red, amber, and green for our traffic light system. So the moment that you have, let's say someone has told you something really upsetting, has given you a piece of feedback that you just didn't like at all, just to give you maybe a work example. You performed awfully on this particular project, right? You did not meet your deadlines whatsoever. Right? I felt that you just simply did not do enough. Right? And that might make you feel hurt, it might make you feel embarrassed, it might make you feel a little bit resentful. So it might make you feel a bunch of different things. But rather than actually reacting to it, what we want to do is respond to it. And before we respond, we have this traffic light system in our head. So first of all, it's stop. It's red, right? We're now processing to say, right, this is how I'm feeling. Why is it that I'm feeling this way? Did I genuinely mess up in this project? Could I have actually done more? Is what this person is saying to me. Is it coming from a place where they want to grow me or are they trying to put me down? What is actually going on here? So you're processing that first, which is where your Amber is taking place. So you're now processing that and you then come up with a response which comes from a place of curiosity rather than a place of defensiveness and criticism, right? And that's where your green comes into place. So you're then going to ask a number of questions to try and get a little bit more out of this, right? So you told me that. So fair enough. Fine. Thank you for telling me that. So what made you think that I didn't do enough on this particular project? Or how is it that you think I have not given enough when it comes to this particular project and ask those open ended questions from a point of curiosity just to try and get more out of them, right? So that's where that traffic light system, I think, can really help to try and regulate those emotions that you're feeling. And I think the last thing in terms of empathy is the last bit, which is this ability to try and understand how another person is feeling and to put yourself in their shoes. I think one of the best ways to actually do this is to actually actively listen, right? And active listening involves three things. It involves your ears, it involves your eyes, but it also involves your heart. It involves these three areas. And you're using your ears in order to be present and to take in everything that they're saying. You're utilising your eyes in order to try and see their body language and to try and observe the person whilst they are speaking, because that also gives you information. As they say. Body language leaks. But the last thing is that you're using your heart to be present in that particular moment, right? You are switching off everything that is going on in your mind. You're keeping all your judgments to one side and you're simply listening to the person based on who they are without necessarily passing any judgement. And what you want to be trying to do at that moment in time is just to try and understand their perspective and to ask them open ended questions so that you can understand their perspective a little bit more. So by doing that, I think you can raise your empathy levels, you can try and understand the other person's vantage point and ultimately to try and come to a place where you're both winning and you're both compromising in certain aspects so that you can get the best out of that particular relationship. So I think these three things could be really useful in trying to get someone's emotional intelligence just to raise the bar and get it to the next level.


Ammar, I could talk to you all day, but unfortunately we're going to have to wrap this up soon. If you wanted the listeners to leave with one piece of information, one nugget, what would you want that to be?


There's so much I could say on this, actually, but I'll boil it down to one thing. The fundamental difference between someone with low EQ and someone with higher EQ is the length of time that it takes for them to respond to a difficult conversation. Okay, so the person with a lower EQ or someone who is struggling when it comes to their emotional intelligence is the person who will react immediately. Right. They will react in a heartbeat without thinking things through. Right. The higher emotional intelligent person actually takes a pause, takes a moment to be able to understand what the other person is saying before giving some sort of response. And that is the critical difference. So in all of this, the best litmus test to try and understand not only your own emotional intelligence levels, but maybe even other people's emotional intelligence levels, is just how much they are reacting as opposed to responding, and you can very clearly see the difference there. It's a very good litmus test to understand how good your own emotional intelligence levels are.


That's actually a brilliant nugget to leave us with. Thank you. If people want to reach out to you and find out more about this amazing topic, what's the best way for them to do that?


So there's a number of places that you can reach out to me on. If you want to have more of a conversation about this or if you'd like some support, I'd be more than happy to help. The best place to get in touch with me is via Instagram, actually. So social media is a very powerful tool these days and I'm very much on it. So my Instagram handle at Fitterstraining, I suppose you'll have it in the description right, of today's podcast. That's fine. I'll put all my links in there and let people sort of reach out to me via but Instagram is the best place to do so.


Wonderful. Yeah. And as Ammar said, all of the links will be in the Show Notes. So thank you again, Ammar, for a wonderful discussion and I know I definitely will be reaching out to you to talk more about this. And thank you to everyone else for tuning into another episode of the SEO Mindset podcast. As I said at the beginning, if you'd like to support us, then head over to the Buy Me a Coffee link. Again, that's also in the Show notes. We give us one off donation and also, again, help us spread the word. Talk about the podcast to your work colleagues friends and share the episode link with them again. That would be super amazing. So until next time everyone, take care.

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About the Podcast

The SEO Mindset Podcast
Personal growth tips to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms!
The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that gives you actionable, personal growth and development tips, guidance and advice, to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms.

The podcast is dedicated to talking about important topics that aren't often spoken about in the industry such as imposter syndrome, burnout, anxiety, self awareness etc. Sarah and Tazmin, along with their special guests highlight important topics, share own experiences as well as giving actionable solutions. Basically we have open, honest and frank conversations to help others in the industry.

Each week we cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics. We will help you to not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Your hosts are Mindset Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years experience working in the industry.
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About your hosts

Sarah McDowell

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I've been in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for around 10 years, currently working as the SEO Manager at Captivate (part of Global), the world's only growth-orientated podcast host. I am a self-confessed SEO nerd (I find the industry fascinated and love learning how search engines like Google work) and a bit of a podcast addict (with this being the fourth podcast I have hosted). I am also a speaker and trainer. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Tazmin Suleman

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I am a Life Coach, helping people grow and thrive, however my background has included careers in Development, Data Integrity and SEO. Through coaching, mentoring and teaching I help people build happier more fulfilling professional and personal lives by changing their mindset and habits. I teach courses on these topics and have incorporated a lot of the teachings in this podcast. I hope you find it useful.