Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is now an accepted phrase in business. A few decades ago, the mere mention of emotion would get you some strange looks around the office. Now, we hear about it over and over again. Why has this evolution happened is why should you care about Emotional Intelligence.

Because the biggest difference between an average performer and a star performer is your EQ, not your IQ. In other words, it is not what you know about how to do your job that matters. It is how you lead, interact, collaborate, disagree, and generally communicate with those while doing your job that makes the difference in your, and the organization’s, success.

At the most basic level, Emotional Intelligence means that you have self-awareness. You know your triggers, you know how to be responsive instead of reactive, and you know how to make good decisions. With self-awareness and self-control, you can be self-motivated, because self-motivation is all about overcoming obstacles when things don’t go your way. These three levels encompass mastery of your emotions. Only after you have achieved self-mastery can you focus on social mastery.

While IQ may be important for getting a job done, EQ will always take you further. It is worth taking the time to develop your EQ — especially if you are planning to rise in the ranks in your career.

Here are four tips to improve your EQ:

  1. Examine Your Reactions:
    How do you react to situations on a daily basis? The next time you feel yourself about to act rashly, try the simple practice of putting yourself in their shoes and seeing it from their perspective! At the end of the day, reflect on your action. You can use one of Marshall Goldsmith’s techniques of daily questions. Ask yourself, “Am I happy with how I handled things today? Or “What could I have done differently and what will I do differently next time?”
  2. Watch the Environment:
    Do you appreciate being noticed and acknowledged for a job well done? Do you wonder how your idea, work, or suggestion was received or fits into the bigger picture? Recognize that your needs may also exist in those around you. Take time to notice the accomplishments of your coworkers. Let them know when you’ve seen them act in a way you admire. Share with them how their ideas and contributions impacted your work. You’ll find that social mastery is appreciated and your EQ will rise.
  3. Take Responsibility:
    We all make mistakes, that’s human. When you mess up, take responsibility for those actions. No one expects perfection, but they do expect accountability. Own it, share what you learned and how you will adjust going forward. When you take ownership, no one else will find the need to point fingers or blame — they will simply appreciate, acknowledge, and move on.
  4. Respond, Don’t React:
    Response and reaction can feel like the same thing but they are not. A response warrants more time before being implemented whereas a reaction is typically emotional and off the cuff and often instantly regretted. To minimize the need to fix problems that emotional reactions cause, take a moment and ask yourself, “How can I be the person I want to be right now?” or “How will I feel about this response an hour from now?” Then choose to act in a way that the answers show your full EQ.

It is great that the concept of Emotional Intelligence is no longer taboo in the workplace. When we embrace and understand our inclinations, we can be proactive about bringing our best selves to situations where everyone can thrive. These are just a few methods that will help you along your path of discovering Emotional Intelligence. What will you do to improve your EQ?