In business today, it is a dog eat dog fight to win or retain your customers. Every company, leader, and employee should be looking for that edge that takes their organization or themselves to the next level of performance. One edge that researchers have found to make a difference is Emotional Intelligence. “Emotional Intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict,” (Segal, et. al, 2019). Being Emotionally Intelligent is not the same as being emotional. It is not nature-based skill, but rather a nurture-based skill that can be learned by anyone.
Four attributes of a person’s EQ:
- Social Awareness
- Relationship Management
Jack Welch said, “A leader’s intelligence has to have a strong emotional component. He has to have high levels of self-awareness, maturity, and self-control. She must be able to withstand the heat, handle setbacks and when those lucky moments arise, enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility. No doubt emotional intelligence is rarer than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.”
We can’t ignore EQ, and we shouldn’t in any aspect of our life since Emotional Intelligence can affect our performance at work, our physical and mental health, our social intelligence, and our relationships with others. Let’s learn a little more about what EQ really is and how we can improve our EQ.
Self-Awareness is the ability to understand your past experiences and how they influence you today. This doesn’t necessarily take time on a psychiatrist’s couch, but it does take you putting time aside to consider your past and how it relates to your behaviors today. Maybe you are quick to anger, or maybe you never get angry. What triggers a reaction? Understanding why you have those reactions provides you with self-awareness. More importantly, are you aware of how your behavior impacts others? Have you ever noticed how some people seem to be oblivious to how their behavior impacts others?
Self-Management can be described as using your emotions to make decisions about how you should behave in order to get better results. If a person is unaware of how his/her behavior impacts others, then that individual isn’t likely to invest the energy to change his/her behavior. However, those who do want better results will self-manage their behavior in order to get better results. These individuals will generally have a higher level of EQ than the person who is oblivious to how his/her behavior impacts others.
The next attribute of EQ is Social-Awareness. The key to this attribute is to not be in your own head or world but to fully participate when engaged with others. “Social awareness enables you to recognize and interpret the mainly nonverbal cues others are constantly using to communicate with you” (Segal, et. al, 2019). If you are in a conversation and thinking about that spreadsheet you have to complete for your boss, how do you expect to be able to recognize those nonverbal cues that the other person is giving you during this interaction? Be mindful of the other person and fully engaged in the conversation if you want to exhibit the attribute of social awareness. Social awareness also pertains to observing these nonverbal cues between others.
The fourth attribute of EQ is Relationship Management. This attribute is an ongoing practice of social awareness directed towards particular relationships. Consistently giving a person only 20% of your attention during conversations is not an effective way to build that relationship. Always giving 100% of your attention to a person will help you exercise social awareness with an individual consistently, which helps you build a high quality, lasting relationship. As a leader, you are better when you are able to facilitate relationship building between others as well.
Leaders think about implementing these four attributes of Emotional Intelligence. Can you envision how your employees, customers, peers, and even your boss may react more positively to what you say and how you lead? How would it benefit you and your company if you can lead with more EQ that contributes to others having more buy-in toward the company’s goals and objectives, more trust between employee and team leader, and ultimately increased employee performance? I hope you can see the benefits of leading with EQ because your future as a leader will be impacted by how you answer these questions.
Want to grow your emotional intelligence? We offer two excellent emotional intelligence assessments: The Social and Emotional Intelligence Profile and Six Seconds. For more information, call 916-788-1094.
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For more information, contact Switzer Associates Leadership Solutions at 916-788-1094 or email Dr. Switzer at Merlin@SwitzerOnLeadership.com.
For the Faith-based:
Leaders with high Emotional Intelligence understand their strengths and weaknesses. They also understand how their actions affect others. Truly effective leaders illustrate a high degree of Emotional Intelligence. In the Bible, Emotional Intelligence is ultimately discernment, i.e., Godly wisdom, and it is gained through spiritual maturation. Discernment is the ability to think biblically about all areas of life. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 teaches that Christians have a responsibility to be discerning: “Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
Our ultimate example of Emotional Intelligence is Jesus. We can see this in how he reacted to other people or even in His own circumstances. He possessed an eternal perspective. He lived a life aware of Himself and concern for others. Jesus also role-modeled Emotionally Intelligent leadership when he washed the feet of the disciples and told them, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them,” John 13:15-17. By humbling himself and being aware of the needs of others, through this example Jesus displays servant leadership. In developing your Emotional Intelligence and furthering your walk in servant leadership, take the time to reflect on Jesus’ actions and discern how you should apply this lesson in your life.
Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” When we fear the Lord and are led by the Spirit, we can obtain the Fruits of the Spirit which are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” (Galatians 5:22-23). You can’t have self-control without having self-awareness, and having self-awareness is one of the main attributes of Emotional Intelligence.
Segal, J., Smith, M., Robinson, L., & Shubin, J. (2019, October). Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Retrieved January 30, 2020, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/emotional-intelligence-eq.htm