Emotional Intelligence is a skill that every single one of us can improve upon. I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with the basic skills around Emotional Intelligence and wanted to spend some time discussing what Emotional Intelligence is and how you can improve your own skills.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Some intellectuals believe that you are born with Emotional Intelligence and cannot develop it, whereas others believe it’s a necessary skill that can be learned. I believe it’s the latter, and it’s an important opportunity for you, as a leader to develop a skill that can support and help your teams, projects and organisations. If you’re looking to learn where you are on the spectrum, you can do some form of EQ Testing. An example of this testing is here.
Emotional Intelligence can be defined within 4 areas: Self Management, Self Awareness, Social awareness, Relationship Management.
What does a lack of Emotional Intelligence look like?
It can appear in many different forms. I have seen poor EQ leaders having issues being empathic or showing compassion with their team members. It can also be how they manage their /their teams emotions. There was a case recently when a Project Manager would cry whenever they had a difficult meeting as they had no other way of communicating or negotiating their issues with others.
What can you do to improve your Emotional Intelligence?
I think that there are opportunities daily to improve your Emotional Intelligence. Think about every meeting or interaction that you have with your team. Are you using your soft skills to listen and evaluate each discussion.
There are a few simple habits that you can start using from today that may help with your Emotional Intelligence:
- Asking why. This helps you dig deeper into the issues, what is going on and understanding the root cause, it will help you work out the solution.
- Patience: Whilst some people go through everything at 1000miles an hour, it can help to pace yourself with all of your activities.
- Learn when to say: Enough is enough: It’s important to know when it’s time to say enough and to not invest energy in something that is not applicable or going to work.
- Honesty is the best policy: You need to be prepared for the honest answers and even if it’s hard to hear, you need to be accept and encourage that you’ll receive the honest answers from your team. This one is key for longer term team success and happiness.
- What’s in it for me? Always ask; what is someone’s motivations? why are they behaving in this way? It’s important to assess and make sure that you’re aware of others motivations and how this could impact your team/project or wider organisation.
- Be thankful: Being thankful is one of the most easy ways to show gratitude but also show emotional maturity. I was recently told by a team that my appreciation and formal gratitude of their great work was the first time they’d ever received something like that.
Emotional Intelligence is a vital skill that will ensure your success as a leader. What are your top skills that support Emotional Intelligence in your teams? If you want to increase your Soft Skills, please look at my Pluralsight course on improving your teamwork skills.