EMOTIONAL intelligence (EQ) addresses competencies for recognising and managing our own and others’ emotions. These competencies are vital for anyone who is engaged in social activities because emotions serve as the “social lubricant” for interactions between individuals.

Salovey and Mayer, the researchers who coined the term “emotional intelligence”, define it as “a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one’s thinking and actions”.

There is an intelligence based on emotion, and people who have this capacity are less depressed, healthier, more employable, and have better relationships.

The ability of service employees to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of positive energy, information, creativity and influence helps to develop their resilience to serve more effectively in challenging times.

Resilience is the ability to thrive in difficult situations, and to achieve customer satisfaction and service fulfilment at work despite the challenges at hand.

Having high levels of resilience in service during turbulent times offers you a different way of looking at difficult service situations and helps you to emerge with greater emotional strength and maturity.

The links between EQ, resilience and performance are powerful. High EQ correlates with higher resilience and greater effectiveness in service delivery.

Resilient service employees are pragmatic. They know that they can control challenging customer situations and the choices they make in response to these situations.

They set service goals and avoid brooding or complaining. They are resourceful and find creative ways to deliver service excellence.

An emotionally intelligent service employee will shift his attention from what has happened to him in the service encounter to what he is going to do. He is guided by thoughts, emotions and actions which are all carefully considered.

This approach is very useful in managing difficult customers and ultimately paves the way for service employees to fulfil their delivery goals.

Service objectives form the “big picture” in dealing with customers. This big picture serves as a unifying force, making it easier for service employees to integrate thoughts and feelings to serve more effectively.

In the process, they sharpen their self-awareness and management skills, and become better at customer-relationship building, effective problem-solving, adaptability and excellent service delivery.

A strong EQ quotient and a deep understanding of service activities provide the foundation for resilient service delivery.

Once this foundation is established, the service employee can use an action plan for solving problems at work.

Make the right choices


Use emotional intelligence to not only understand and identify your own emotions, but also to understand and identify the emotions that others might be feeling in the same situation.


Analyse what might be the emotional triggers in a variety of challenging situations.


Take time to consider the consequences of the emotions that you might be feeling and your actions.

Use consequential thinking to focus on problems with certain and uncertain outcomes and determine which outcome is the most powerful.

For example, what might happen if you suppress your anger? Are there ways to express your anger in such a way that your concerns are heard in a positive light?


After identifying the potential futures of various options, select the option that will yield the best outcome for you and your customer.


Once you know what it takes to offer value-add to others and yourself in the service encounter, do it and serve well.