Why is emotional intelligence – or EQ as – important as IQ intellectual intelligence in the workplace?
I have a fairly common problem which sends my team into a spin. But the other day I was taught a key strategy by someone I respect that is helping. He taught me to focus on raising the emotional tone in my office. The idea is to leave work colleagues (or your partner or your kids!) in a higher more positive emotional tone than when you first started the communication. So if they are say at a five when you start talking to them, you leave them at a seven. Nice idea to spread positivity and leave people on a high.
At first thought, I jumped to the conclusion I do this naturally – I’ve been around long enough and you know I am one of those ‘’always up’’ people. And I’m familiar with that whole energy sucker v energy giver thing that we’ve all learnt – the ability to light up a room with positive energy. But now I am more conscious about how I leave people and though I don’t get it right all the time, and it’s pretty hard if you are dealing with unexpected stresses, it is an effective and happy strategy as a leader.
Recognise yourself? For me, I’m one of those big picture thinkers. I wake up most mornings bursting to grab the day with new ideas. And although I think I am good with the detail there is a big risk of me sending everyone into a spin when I walk in the office because I’m usually excited, mostly animated and always focused. I don’t see obstacles, I see things to do. The trouble is that while as a leader we are excited and our tone is up, how we leave our teams to then execute, when they’ve already got their job lists, is important to consider – before it can have critical results.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wide range of business mentors over the years on the premise there is not much point trudging through stuff when someone else has the answers and short cuts. I’ve been reminded recently by some particularly great people around the topic of emotional intelligence and the importance of EQ v IQ.
The reactions are mixed when canvassing my peers. “Raising emotional tone? Forget that! There’s no time to worry about people’s emotional well-being – particularly in this climate – they’re paid to do their job,” was one retort. ‘’If they’re miserable, get another job’’ was one response. “You’re a business manager not a nursemaid” another quoted. On the flip side, one colleague quoted a boss who literally would shout at everyone in the office and bang furniture on the way through – a reputation that would make the strongest team members cower.
So what is emotional intelligence?
“It is the ability to identify, assess and control the emotions of oneself, others and groups. Emotion tends to come from basing decision criteria on past experiences. Emotional intelligence if developed in a positive and mature way can make for a healthier and more efficient workplace”
If we care about each other, surely the work place should be more constructive? If at executive level, leaders have a healthy EQ as high as their IQ, won’t the environments be a better, happier place?
Daniel Coleman says emotional intelligence is made up of self awareness, self management, empathy, social skills and motivation. Just briefly:
• Self-awareness – This shows that the employee is confident in their own ability; they understand their strengths and weaknesses. They have a clear understanding of their own emotions, are able to control them and manage a decision accordingly to give the most positive outcome
• Self-management- Employee’s ability to take initiative in tasks; follow through with commitments as they undertake the emotional frustration when commitments aren’t lived up to (past experience). They can control impulses.
• Empathy- This makes for a healthier workplace, as this enables people to understand others emotions and pick up on emotional cues, they also recognize power dynamics
• Social skills- Able to engage with others, generate rapport, communicate emotions, whether it be positive or negative, it is taken out in the correct manner when necessary.
• Motivation- Can you work towards goals even when confronted with setbacks
The five attributes of emotional intelligence form the basis of an individual’s success eg How do they perform under pressure? When things go wrong? How do they manage conflict? Do they work well with other executives? Will they take responsibility for their own actions?
Raising one’s emotional tone can go a long way to understand and work with the social complexities of the workplace, to lead effectively and motivate others.
So when was the last time you raised the emotional tone in your office. When you get it right let me know.