With more and more of us becoming aware of the principles of Emotional Intelligence, it is more important than ever for leaders to challenge their own levels to develop this important interpersonal skill.
We’ve all worked with that colleague who is brilliant in their specialised subject but who is also socially and emotionally clumsy. Traditionally, IQ (Intelligence Quotient) has been the accepted measure of intelligence, however this narrow view ignores the core elements of measuring our actions and behaviours.
“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”
Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, was originally developed in the 1970’s and 80’s by encompassing two aspects of intelligence:
- Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses and behaviours
- Understanding others and their feelings
However it wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that it became a significant behavioural model that focused on essential behavioural and character elements, and has progressed to become one of the most important interpersonal skills to develop. Daniel Goleman identified a range of ‘domains’ of Emotional Intelligence:
Knowing your emotions
The key here is self-awareness, which means you know how your emotions and actions impact you and others around you, and as a leader understand your strengths and weaknesses.
Take Time – when you feel a strong emotion, like anger for example, stop and examine why. Reflect on the situation and what actions triggered your feelings. Remember you are in control of your own actions no matter what the situation.
Managing your own emotions
Once we know our emotions the next step is to take control and manage them so they are appropriate. This means keeping calm, and implement strategies that help to control our anxiety or anger. Becoming masters of our own emotions encourages us to become more resilient and allows us to recover from setbacks and failures.
Take accountability – admit your mistakes, don’t try to blame others or make excuses. Take responsibility for your actions or behaviours; you’ll find others will respect you much more in the future.
Employ calming techniques – having a high EQ means that you are not reactive and that you control your feeling and thoughts before taking action. Therefore explore different techniques that can help you to do this:
- Take a breath and count to 10
- Take a break – go for a walk or grab a drink
- Write down what you would like to say, then rip it up and throw it away
Part two has now been released, where we focus on the importance of being able to motivate yourself, recognise emotions in others and manage relationships.