“All learning has an emotional base.” –Plato
If you’re a leader, you’ve probably heard the “Emotional Intelligence” term time and time again. If you’re asking yourself what exactly does that mean, you’re might not be alone. Lucky for you we will endeavor to help you understand the term, why it should be important to you and offer a few strategies to get you a higher level of emotional intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence (EI/EQ)?
Simply stated, EI refers to a person’s capacity to perceive, control, evaluate and express emotions, as well as handle interpersonal relationships empathetically. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they’re feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people. This is particularly important for business leaders who, in order to lead effectively, must keep their cool at all times.
Why do I need to be emotionally intelligent?
Emotions have a direct impact on behaviour and people, both positively and negatively. And because leaders are in a position of influence and set the tone for the culture of the organisation, their level of emotional intelligence is of particular importance to maintain a productive and motivated staff. Learning how to manage your emotions will come in handy when dealing with high-pressure situations such as difficult performance discussions, tight deadlines and other office crises.
What can I do to develop my Emotional Intelligence?
Look in the proverbial mirror—Practice self-awareness as often as you can. Slow down to recognise how you’re feeling and catch yourself before making a rushed decision based on emotions alone. Remember that your behaviour has a direct effect on those you lead.
Keep calm and stay motivated—Leaders are also motivators, who, in the face of challenges and chaos remain optimistic and find the silver lining in every situation because they know there is always a lesson to be learned. Remaining calm also sets the tone for the culture of your team and you will find that people will spend more time finding solutions to problems than complaining about them.
Empathize—To successfully manage a team, leaders must exercise empathy. Putting yourself in the shoes of your team members will gain you trust, loyalty and respect. Show them you care by challenging those who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it.
Set an example with your behaviour–In other words, work on your social skills. We’re not suggesting that you take your entire team out for drinks or socialise outside of work. In fact, in the absence of true leadership, this tactic rarely yields true results. People want leaders who are excellent communicators, manage conflicts diplomatically and know when to praise others. Your team will always follow your lead.
How do I assess my EQ?
Similar to your IQ, there are tests you can take to determine your EQ and professionals who can help you analyse the results and create an action plan to achieve a higher level of emotional intelligence. Contact us to find out more about where you rank and gain tools and strategies specifically tailored to you.
Join the conversation! Tell us how you’ve reached a higher level of emotional intelligence by leaving a comment below.