The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in DEI

Sacha Thompson (she/her)
2 min readMar 29, 2022


DEI After 5 — Season 1 — Episode 1

Photo of Farah Harris wearing an orange shirt with turquoise necklace smiling at the camera

If you have followed me for a while, you have heard me say emotional intelligence is one of the cornerstones of diversity, equity, and inclusion work.

So what is emotional intelligence, or EQ?

The Institute for Health and Human Potential defines emotional intelligence as ‘the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.’

When I decided to start with this topic, I knew no one else I wanted to talk to about EQ other than Farah Harris, founder of Working Well Daily and the author of the upcoming book — The Color of Emotional Intelligence. Farah is a Workplace and Belonging Specialist and speaks about emotional intelligence’s importance in DEI. When we met a few years ago, we connected out of mutual respect for each other’s work and became fast friends. So, when I started to think about who I wanted to be a part of DEI After 5, she was one of the first people I called because she would set the foundation for what practitioners need to know as they begin to connect EQ with DEI.

According to Farah, emotional intelligence consists of 4 core elements:

Self-awareness– Having the ability to tune in with yourself and how you are feeling in the moment.

Self-management — Having the ability to identify what you are feeling.

Self-control– Being able to control and manage your feelings

Social awareness — Being able to read the room. This is also where we can lean into being empathetic to others’ feelings.

Once we can identify our emotions, we also need to be able to regulate them. Farah uses the analogy of Cesar Millan and walking the dog to discuss self-awareness and self-management. When we think about our emotions, we need to ask ourselves — are we in control? Are our emotions in front of us, leading us and guiding our decisions like a dog pulling us all over the place, or are they behind us, where we have no insight into what is happening or if the dog is still even there? When we are in tune with our emotions, we learn to walk with and engage them for what they are in the moment.

Well, how can you start engaging with your emotions?

Listen to the full episode here to find out more



Sacha Thompson (she/her)

Inclusive Culture Curator| Psychological Safety at Work | Host of DEI After 5 |Featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Business Insider | Seen on MSNBC & Fox Soul