TitanTalks: Strengthening Our Emotional Intelligence

Bjorn Bonholzer

Over the past few weeks, the BitTitan team has been hard at work on specific learning and development initiatives to support our four core company values: Customer Service, Professional Excellence, Constant Learning, and Positive Results. To that end, our Learning & Development Business Partner, Bjorn Bonholzer, launched a new initiative this month called TitanTalks.

TitanTalks is an employee-focused speaking series empowering individuals to share their passions, talents, and stories across the organization. Like its close cousin the TEDTalk, this series will cover a wide range of topics, ideas, and viewpoints, all in an effort to improve how we manage ourselves, the people around us, and our business as a whole.

Bjorn kicked off April’s session with a closer look at Emotional Intelligence (EQ): how we manage behaviors, social complexities, and ultimately provide clarity around what drives us to make decisions. Personally, EQ is the foundation for critical skills we use on a daily basis, impacting nearly everything we say or do. Professionally, EQ has been found to account for 58% of performance across job types and is the single best predictor of job performance (Reference: Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry, 2009).

While TitanTalks are designed specifically for BitTitan employees, EQ holds a takeaway or two for everyone. Here’s a snapshot of what we covered in that first session.


Meet the Godfather: Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman (Wikimedia Commons)

The Marlon Brando of EQ, Goleman is widely credited as the face of the concept and the author of its dictionary definition: “the ability to identify, assess, and control one’s own emotions, and the emotions of others, and that of groups.”

Bjorn was kind enough to share his own journey to better understand and demonstrate EQ. He had four key learnings of his own:

  • It’s not about me, it’s about them – it’s about you.
  • It’s about adjusting my communication to meet the needs of the recipient.
  • It’s about adjusting my personal agenda to positively impact others.
  • It’s about understanding how my actions impact the emotions of others.


Quick Disclaimer: IQ ≠ EQ

You can be the smartest person in the room at all times but lack an ounce of EQ, and vice versa. Whereas your IQ is predefined and goes relatively unchanged over the course of life, one’s EQ is constantly evolving. It responds to practice and attention.  This ability to be improved creates an opportunity for everyone to continually learn, and ultimately, grow.



Four Pillars to Build On

For those seeking to sharpen their EQ skills, look to divide it into two segments: personal and social competence.

Personal competence is our ability to stay aware of our own emotions and manage both behavior and tendencies. Two things factor into this:

  • Self-awareness: can you quickly identify and make sense of your emotions?
  • Self-management: what happens when you act – or don’t act? This is your ability to press “pause” before acting on impulse.

On the other side of the coin, social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behaviors, and motives to improve the quality of your relationships. Two more factors here:

  • Social awareness: do you look outward to learn about and appreciate others? We do this each day by taking in what’s going on around us, (whether it be in office meetings, sports arenas, or coffee shops.)
  • Relationship management: This is your ability to tie the three factors above to create and maintain healthy relationships, personally and professionally. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we are human after all and emotion is our purest commonality.

Practice Makes Perfect

So, if EQ really can be learned, where is a good starting point? How can we put this knowledge to use?

Bjorn has a few suggestions:

  • Begin with self-reflection. Take time to truly understand what is driving your emotions and reactions.
  • Pinpoint what’s bothering you. Self-awareness is the foundation here, and everything else will follow.
  • Analyze past decisions. Don’t get stuck there but think about how you would react differently to a past conflict, conversation, or a time when you were at crossroads.

For the next installment of TitanTalks, we’ll be hearing from Tilak Paija Pun, a software design engineer, who embarked on an incredible journey to compete with 30,000 other young men to become one of the 100 world-renowned Gurkha recruits in the Singapore Gurkha Contingent. It should be quite the tale.

About the author

Grady Gausman

Grady Gausman is a staff writer for the Bits & Bytes blog.

Leave a Reply

2 Comments on "TitanTalks: Strengthening Our Emotional Intelligence"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

[…] May speaker for our new TitanTalks series, Tilak Paija Pun, has traveled one of the more remarkable roads to BitTitan. Raised in a remote […]


[…] Launching TitanTalks with emotional intelligence in April and BitTitan Academy with effective communication was no accident. […]