Emotional Intelligence: a step by step guide
Emotional Quotient (EQ) or Emotional Intelligence (EI) or was popularised in 1995 by Daniel Goldman. It refers to the ability to recognize and understand emotions, both in yourself and in others. Being emotionally intelligent helps us to analyze emotions, reduce acting impulsively and guide how we respond to situations.
Understanding and improving how we recognize and respond to emotions can help increase EI, and in turn have positive impacts on workplace relationships and assignments.
Goldman’s prior belief that EI/EQ was most important for effective leadership could be challenged by a more holistic approach – encompassing both intellectual (IQ) and political (PQ) elements. Whilst successful leaders need to display high EI/EQ to first encourage employees to follow and support them, but solely increasing EI/EQ appears in part to produce temporary leadership improvements. To build long lasting effective leadership there needs to be a balance with high IQ and PQ – EQ builds companies and motivates employees, IQ builds products and drives innovative thoughts and PQ helps navigate work politics, difficult conversations and combative environments.
Bill Campbell, referred to as the “Trillion Dollar Coach”, helped coach and build some of the most well-known Silicon Valley companies, once said “If you’re a great manager, your people will make you a leader. They acclaim that, not you.”
Link to the book on Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trillion-Dollar-Coach-Leadership-Playbook/dp/0062839268
Increasing Emotional Intelligence and its importance in the workplace
Being emotionally intelligent is highly important in the workplace, it enables effective communication, improves workplace relationships and enables efficient conflict resolution. This can be particularly important for interim assignments, where the interim is often expected to make a quick impact, build rapport with existing teams and sometimes deliver tough messages in times of change and transformation.
There are a few methods for increasing EI, we have listed some of these below:
Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation
By identifying emotions, we can learn to influence and control them – think about:
- How emotions impact behaviours, in turn how does this impact your interactions with others in the workplace?
- In which situations are you most anxious/focused/calm?
- What are your stress triggers?
- Understand what your emotional strengths and weaknesses are.
It is also important to identify the physical responses to emotions – are your hands/jaw clenched, shoulders tense, are you maintaining eye contact, are you using defensive body language?
Practicing breathing techniques can help combat stress/anxiety – further information on these can be found here. It is important to avoid making rash and impulsive decisions based on your emotions – take a step back, assess and make an informed decision.
Empathy can be a powerful tool in the workplace. Use this to understand why people feel a certain way and acknowledge that they may feel and respond differently to you.
By seeking to understand the emotional trigger points of others, you may be able to anticipate if a particular piece of work or timeframe will need adjusting/monitoring depending on the colleague undertaking it.
Emotions are contagious – a negative mood can bring team morale down, whilst a positive attitude, be this an encouraging word, positive email or praise on work well done, can improve motivation and the moods of others.
Also think about what motivates you – is it to complete a project, develop others, fix a problem? We are often most motivated about things we are passionate about.
Those with high EI are often able to communicate effectively with others, display active listening and build stronger rapport with others – all of which are key skills for interim assignments.
Look for the verbal and non-verbal displays of emotions in your team and take the time to understand how best to deliver work requirements, or feedback.