Emotional Intelligence is no longer just in the category of “soft-skills”. Disposable touchy-feely training that gets cut as soon as budgets are tight. These days, if your HR department doesn’t have some kind of EQ training on hand they’re off the mark, behind the times and not in the know! “Emotional Intelligence” is as much a part of the zeitgeist as “Innovation” and “Disruption”.
Per the Harvard Business Review: “thousands of academic studies have demonstrated the predictive power of scientific EQ assessments vis-à-vis job performance, leadership potential, entrepreneurship, and employability. Moreover, the importance of EQ has been highlighted beyond work-related settings, as higher scores have been associated with relationship success, mental and physical health, and happiness." So why is EQ not a part of every team’s monthly Lunch and Learn, team strategy meeting and quarterly pow wow? Beats me.
Until your company offers structured coaching around the insights into better EQ that can turn a good working environment into a great one, here are some reminders of ways you can alter, improve and adjust your behavior and increase your emotional intelligence quotient through practice and attention.
1. Quit fooling yourself.
If you were to ask the people in your life, boss, peers, direct reports kids and spouse/ partner to describe your core personality traits what’s the likelihood that they would A) all choose similar traits and B) that those traits would be how you self-describe? If the thought of all those people chiming in at once sends you into a panic you may have fractured your identity (how you see yourself) and reputation (how others see you). Self-awareness is about having a realistic view of both your strengths and your weaknesses. To help mend the break between these 2 elements you need accurate feedback from data-based assessments, (personality tests, 360-assessments, professional EQ coaching). Most people are too polite to tell you if you’re a self-aggrandizing jerk. A coach using a 360 survey however, will get that information and help you plot a way forward that will address your behavior and replace negative actions with positive habits geared to the success of your team.
2. Raise your head.
Look around and acknowledge those around you. It can be difficult to see things from others’ perspectives, particularly if you don’t agree with someone or feel that you know better than they do. Take time to recognize that each person, however challenging to you in your work environment, has someone who loves them in their life. Each individual has friends who agree with them and support them, beliefs, likes and dislikes and an emotional life outside of your interactions with them. Taking the time for short conversations to get to know something about a person can create opportunities for collaboration, appreciation & teamwork as well as an acknowledgement of that person’s inherent validity.
3. Take a knee.
Passion is inspiring, temper tantrums are not. If you tend to show the world exactly how you feel in stressful and charged situations it’s time to do some work on breathing and taking time away before sharing your feedback with a group. This process takes dedication and practice. You won’t change your emotional makeup overnight but you can start today. Even when you explode you can immediately apologize as you get the hang of emotional control. Being aware of how your emotions impact those around you is a crucial step to being a person who is trustworthy and respected not someone who is feared and avoided.
4. Give a little.
You want your team to see you as cooperative, friendly, trusting, and unselfish. These behaviors makes you a much more rewarding person for those around you to align with. If you’re perceived as guarded, argumentative, pessimistic, or confrontational you’re not going to get the kind of dedication and “buy in” that you need for long term success and high performance team success. Getting to know your team and sharing what you care about, what you believe in or how you are improving yourself allows for a personal connection and greater sense of team cohesiveness. Ask for help, share knowledge and resources freely and watch your team change their perception of you from a manager to a LEADER.
5. Be humble (no humblebragging).
Be careful of your inner monologue, it often sneaks out of your mouth. If you think to yourself, “these people are idiots, I’m the only one who knows what to do in this company”, then it’s likely that you’re saying that. If not in so many words, then in attitude, arrogance and dismissive actions. Believing in your talents is crucial to success, by all means believe in yourself! Healthy self confidence does not rest on derogation of those around you. Saying thank you even when a team member “should” have done what they did is one simple way of acknowledging others. If you truly believe you’re better than everyone else then learn to adopt humble behaviors that will serve you as a leader and business person. Those behaviors of humility will create the environment you want to foster success, teamwork and financial gain.