The commercials on television today highlight treatments for low this and low that, but unfortunately, we don’t hear much about low Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Here are some symptoms: You know you’re brilliant, yet you find yourself reacting with impatience and anger with others who just don’t get it. Maybe your feedback to a teammate failed to come across the way you had intended. If as a leader at work, at home or in your community you have any of these symptoms, you’re possibly suffering from low Emotional Intelligence (or Low EQ).
As we know, the natural behaviors of each person are unique and specialized. The key to good Emotional Intelligence is awareness of our emotions and those of others.
“Until we become personally aware of and accountable for our own emotions, we’re clueless as to how to manage them as a leader.” [Tweet This]
Likewise, an awareness of the emotions of others helps us manage our response to facilitate the most effective interaction.
Let’s walk through the four steps of emotional intelligence.
1. Recognize your own emotions. You’re in a meeting and Bob says something that you “know” is absolutely wrong. Your first instinct is to publicly call him out and correct his error—but you’ve been down that road in the past. Fortunately, you recognize that you’re irritated and coach yourself to hold back on your response.
2. Manage your emotions. You’re a quick thinker and you remind yourself that Bob is a bright guy too. To show him respect, you could say something like, “Gee Bob, I had not thought of it like that before. Can you explain the logic of how that would work?” Of course, your tone of voice and body language are very critical because they reveal your true emotions. Once Bob gives his explanation, more than likely you will see that he’s just operating with a different perspective. In any case, you’ve managed your emotions and maintained your decorum—signs of good EQ.
3. Recognize the emotions of others. On the way back from the conference room, you run into a peer, Jen, who seems a bit down and overwhelmed. You’re depending on her to deliver the data that you need for the next step of your project and the deadline is tomorrow. Your immediate fear is that it’s not going to happen. Now that you’ve been working to raise your EQ, you mentally push back on your fear and consider what your teammate is up against and how her confidence and energy are sagging. It doesn’t take an EQ genius to realize that putting a guilt trip on her is probably not a good idea.
4. Respond appropriately/effectively to the emotions of others. Because you’re not fear-motivated, you focus on encouraging Jen. After all, she does good work and what she needs right now is an emotional boost. So you choose to show her some empathy and encouragement, telling her that you understand things are difficult right now and asking if there are ways that you and your team can help. You close out by reminding her that she is a great teammate, valuable in your company’s culture, and that you have confidence in her.
The Power of EQ
Having good EQ may sound somewhat soft, but it’s actually very powerful because it’s about being the most effective leaders possible. It begins with awareness of ourselves and our unique behavior and perspective. During leadership development training, we use a behavioral assessment like Leadership Behavior DNA to get a baseline for all team members and then coach them on how to relate and communicate with different behavioral types. The results are immediate and very effective!
“Developing a sharp EQ gets easier with practice, and it makes you the kind of leader that others want to follow.” [Tweet This]
Try it and see for yourself. Also, please comment on your experience and suggestions in the section below.
What Emotions Can Stall Your Leadership?
Knowing an individual’s natural leadership behaviors of your team is the smart way to lead. With this valuable information, you can determine the right fit for a particular job, evaluate timing for staff promotions, or train an entire team how to work better in unity, productivity, and performance.