Your Emotional Intelligence Toolkit. A insight into EQ in practice and when a high EQ can get in the way.
You may be familiar with author Yuval Noah Harari. In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century he explores the rapid emergence of AI and biotech, the challenges of climate change and the dangers of nuclear war. How, he asks, might we best protect ourselves from manipulation, mitigate against threat and create a safer, kinder future?
When all around us is change and challenge, surveillance capitalism and Black Mirrors, the answers, Harari suggests, don’t exist ‘out there’ in the external world. They’re to be found within. Hardly an original conclusion but certainly, as competition and automation conspire to challenge, those wise and ancient words, ‘know thyself’ have never been more important.
It’s this self-awareness that lies at the heart of this paper. Emotional intelligence, simply put, is a blend of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. A natural gift in many respects but an ability that can certainly be developed. As an
experienced agency specialising in cultural fit, it’s also a key component for us when introducing people to organisations.
Starting with self-awareness, let’s take a closer look at the importance of emotional intelligence and how you can best apply its components to your leadership and your success.
It’s our ability to acknowledge and appreciate our actions – and reactions – to our world and those who share it with us. It’s about choosing what we move towards and what we want to move from. It’s self-awareness that allows us to recognise our behaviours and emotions so that we can manage them and target positive change.
People self-aware enough to use self-regulation are often skilled in managing conflict. They adapt easily to change and are quick to assume responsibility.
Other competencies include:
• Trustworthiness – the ability to check the impulse to bend the truth even if telling it straight is not in your short term interests
• Optimism – managing the negative allows us to appreciate the good in other people
• Achievement – setting realistic goals and creating a framework that gives you a chance to reach them
All attributes of a respected leader.
As Positive Psychology write, ‘Consider the calm and rational pilot despite the aircraft’s landing gear being jammed or the surgeon who carries on with their duties despite losing a patient. This form of self-regulation builds on the basis of self-awareness.’
Call it measured management. Call it considered leadership. Just call it.
What good is recognising your emotions if you’re not going to act on that recognition?
It’s only through self-motivation that we can turn our optimism and resilience into opportunity, commitment and ultimately achievement. And not just for ourselves.
Emotionally intelligent leaders recognise the emotions, the concerns and ambitions of others – an appreciation of the most effective ways to motivate teams and individuals.
You’ve doubtless seen the energy and the positive transformation the magic of motivation brings. What do you do to summon the focus, the drive and the motivation to channel that change?
Empathy and Social Skills
In an age when so many people talk a good empathy game new research by Zurich Insurance would suggest a continued and significant decline in empathy.
‘Our interconnected world has never had more lonely, angry people. Is technology responsible for a decline in human empathy’? Or to put it another way, is our reliance on technology undermining our most human qualities?
But in business, can empathy get in the way? Is it better for a high EQ (emotional quotient) or a degree of empathy to bow to motivation – to give way to the JFDI school of project management?
Does it slow the show? Can you be too empathetic? And does being ‘too’ empathetic amount to a lack of emotional intelligence?
Or does allowing motivation to override others’ feelings reveal a lack of self awareness?
In case you haven’t seen this before here’s a quote that’s simply too good not to share.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”, Maya Angelou.
So please, put your phone down when we’re talking and don’t just tell me you’re listening – listen.
Armour worn inside. Wear it with pride. Work on it. Inspire it in others.
The self-awareness to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses. The self-regulation to stay true to our personal, and business values. The motivation to achieve our goals, and the empathy to ensure our success is shared – your 21st Century survival toolkit.