Emotional intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence. Research has shown that EQ led to 58% of success in all types of jobs and over 90% of the top work performers have high EQ. Based on those figures, it makes good sense to assess the levels of emotional intelligence of your employees and invest in the development of their EQ.
What is EQ? Many people equate it as being nice to others, but there’s a lot more to it. There are four components to emotional intelligence: 1) self-awareness 2) self-management 3) social awareness, and 4) relationship management.
Self-Awareness means having a comprehensive grasp of who you are as a person and a leader but also how you connect and show up in the world. If you don’t understand your motivations and behaviours, it’s nearly impossible to develop an understanding of others and reduces your ability to think rationally and apply technical capabilities. Without knowing yourself, you can’t master self-control, nor understand and successfully relate to others. You can’t rely on your gut feelings to guide you during difficult situations. Self-aware people know their strengths and weaknesses and how to manage them. They have a better understanding of emotions and how they affect behaviour and can recognise those emotions in others.
Self-management is your ability to control your reactions and impulses. It includes your emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, initiative, and optimism. This is essential during times of change or chaos when your ability to lead your team calmly is critical, like during a pandemic. Leaders who can control their emotions can think more clearly and think on their feet without letting fear hold them back.
Social awareness involves understanding what is happening for others and using empathy to connect. Socially aware people are considerate of other’s needs, concerns, perspectives, and emotions. They pick up non-verbal cues and interpret them, giving them the power to choose the appropriate response. Leaders who are aware of their impact on social situations modify their behaviour to bring about the result they want. Knowing yourself is the precursor of authenticity. When you’re self-aware, you act and interact in an authentic way, so people relate to you.
Relationship Management involves developing others, initiating and managing change, handling conflict, using the power of influence to achieve goals, and managing team dynamics. Social relationships hold teams together. Through careful building and management of relationships, leaders can influence team performance. This is how leaders inspire teams to support each other, resolve conflicts, and commit to a course of action.
There are several ways in which you can focus on improving your EQ. For instance, you can keep a diary to record and reflect on your experiences. Take an emotional check-up every day. Reflection is critical to developing greater self-awareness, which leads to greater self-management. Without an objective understanding of yourself, you won’t realise your strengths or find areas for self-improvement.
You can also actively invite feedback on your behaviour from people that you trust. Honest feedback helps you to identify and act on any of your blind spots. You can also work with a coach to set goals for improving your emotional intelligence and receive ongoing support as you progress.
If you think EQ is all about being ‘nice’, you’ll never achieve the quality of relationships, the level of influence and the quality of leadership you aspire to. Put simply, EQ can make you a better person and better leader. EQ will help you survive the challenges you face every day and come out stronger and in control. When you see the payoff, you’ll understand why your EQ is worth investing.
CIMP provides Emotional intelligence assessment and training for current and future managers.