Emotional Intelligence

“It’s not how smart you are, it’s how you are smart”

If you haven’t considered developing you and your employees’ emotional intelligence, perhaps you’ll find this point interesting. Experts report that a high degree of emotional intelligence (EQ), the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as source of human energy, information, trust, creativity and influence, is a critical for outstanding achievement, influencing others, making sound decisions and enhancing creativity.

Consider these facts.

When the ratio of technical skills, IQ and emotional intelligence (EQ) were studied as ingredients of excellent performance, emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all levels.

Surveys measuring leadership effectiveness that I’ve conducted as a trainer and consultant to businesses throughout the US reveal that 90% of the actions employees wished their managers would improve upon were EQ-related. Demonstrating behaviors of trust and respect, showing empathy, being fair, acknowledging unique contribution and developing a sense of connection were repetitively mentioned. Not surprisingly, the main complaints managers had of their employees were also EQ-related such as gossiping, not being responsible, inflexibility, unwillingness to embrace new ideas and a lack of compassionate customer-care responsiveness.

If, developing your EQ is essential to professional success as the studies suggest,
then how might you begin?

Map your EQ

You can bring the fuzzy concept of emotions into a framework that can be managed to affect business outcomes by assessing and mapping your EQ. There are several assessments available to help you understand the components of EQ and discover the many facets that make up your personal emotional intelligence and its relationship to your performance, creativity and success.

At one of my public programs arranged for entrepreneurs, we discussed how important authenticity and enthusiasm is in selling your service or product. In follow up discussions, attendees related that the EQ assessment helped them see patterns of behavior that either moved them toward or away from optimal performance and their ability to relate to their customers.

Realize the power of emotions

Brain science helps us to understand the power of emotional intelligence. We have a rational brain (neo-cortex) and an emotional brain (limbic system). The emotional brain processes stimuli 80,000 times faster than the rational brain. That means we instantaneously “read” others and decide if we want to do business or not. This fact supports the data that 93% of communication is transferred through intangibles such as body language and the tone and pitch of our voice. It also supports the experience you’ve had when, on a rational level someone appears to respond appropriately, but on an intuitive level, you don’t trust them. As you recognize how and why emotions influence performance, you may well become convinced that incorporating EQ strategies into your life are worth the investment in focus and time.

Increase your awareness of the emotional terrain

Self-awareness is at the core of emotional intelligence and at the pivotal point of building a relationship as a leader, team player and family member. Our emotions are a sieve through which we sort input. Your ability to read and interpret your inner signals in response to the cues you receive from others will help you sort what’s truth and what’s not. When you are able to get to the heart of what people feel and what is meaningful to them, you will have come a long way in identifying keys to why people buy, how they are influenced and on what terms they will give their commitment to support an idea or direction.

Build your emotional vocabulary

I often run across folks paralyzed by strong feelings. This has some interesting effects. Stuffed feelings create a time bomb ready to go off or they create shut down and apathy. Neither response is healthy for building relationships and getting things done. What helps is to identify you’re feeling ‘something’; expand your vocabulary to express accurately a specific feeling; then connect it specifically to a source, issue, or concern. For instance, you say, ‘I am angry at you’. You could mean,‘ I am frustrated, hurt, ignored, embarrassed’. Each of those feelings carries a different interpretation. When you use specific emotional language, people understand what you feel, need and want more clearly. You lessen their frustration and irritation and your own.

The definition of emotion in Latin is “the spirit that moves us”. Emotions do move us. You can buy people’s back and hands, but you cannot buy their spirit, they choose to give it. It is their power–and it is yours. As business leaders, you have a hard sell in a market punctuated with constant shifting of people and resources, tight purse strings and technological advances that keep us in contact, but out of connection. The EQ terrain offers a new landscape of possibility and potential as you bring the heart and head together to harness spirit for creativity, connection and influence.