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What is your EQ?

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How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they're feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people.

Emotional intelligence is essential for leadership success. Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, exemplary job performance, and more potent leadership skills.

After all, who is more likely to succeed – a leader who shouts at his team when they’re under stress, or a leader who stays in control, and calmly assesses the situation?

According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize EI, there are five main elements of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

The more that you,as a leader, manage each of these areas, the higher your emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

1. Self-awareness

Self awareness is concerned with the ability to know one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drivers, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings/intuition to guide decisions.

If you're self-aware, you always know how you feel, and you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you. Being self-aware when you're in a leadership position also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses and it means behaving with humility and empathy.

Self-awareness is the key to resilience, understanding self, responding vs reacting and managing our relationships with ourselves and others

Ways you can improve your self awareness include:

  • Identify your values and beliefs
  • Understand your triggers, moral compass and internal rudder
  • Pay attention to your thoughts. Spend a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts. This can help move you to a higher state of self-awareness.
  • Slow down – When you experience anger or other strong emotions, slow down to examine why. Remember, no matter what the situation, you can always choose how you react to it.

2. Self-Regulation

We cannot always control the conditions around us but we can always choose how we respond. To some, this notion sounds unrealistic as we are faced with challenges every day that we believe cause us to react in a certain way.

The truth is that nothing and nobody can make us feel a certain way unless we let them. We choose how we feel. Period.

We often find ourselves reacting to a situation and feeling out of control, as though that experience imposed itself on us without our permission.  However we always have the ability to regulate and control our emotions.

Managing our feelings relates to the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

Self-regulation involves controlling or redirecting one's disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.

Leaders who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control.

Here are some of the ways you can improve your ability to self-regulate:

  • Know your values – Do you have a clear idea of where you absolutely will not compromise? Do you know what values are most important to you? Spend some time examining your "code of ethics." If you know what's most important to you, then you probably won't have to think twice when you face a moral or ethical decision – you'll make the right choice.
  • Hold yourself accountable – If you tend to blame others when something goes wrong, stop. Make a commitment to admit to your mistakes and to face the consequences, whatever they are. You'll probably sleep better at night, and you'll quickly earn the respect of those around you.
  • Practice being calm – The next time you're in a challenging situation, be very aware of how you act. Do you relieve your stress by shouting at someone else? Practice deep-breathing exercises to calm yourself. Also, try to write down all of the negative things you want to say, and then rip it up and throw it away. Expressing these emotions on paper (and not showing them to anyone!) is better than speaking them aloud to your team. What's more, this helps you challenge your reactions to ensure that they're fair!

3. Motivation

EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them. It also applies to understanding what motivates you personally and under what conditions you work best.

Self-motivated leaders work consistently toward their goals, and they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.

To motivate yourself for any achievement requires clear goals and a positive attitude. Although you may have a predisposition to either a positive or a negative attitude, you can with effort and practice learn to think more positively. If you catch negative thoughts as they occur, you can reframe them in more positive terms — which will help you achieve your goals.

Motivation is made up of:

  • Achievement drive -Your constant striving to improve or to meet a standard of excellence.
  • Commitment -Aligning with the goals of the group or organization.
  • Initiative - Readying yourself to act on opportunities.
  • Optimism -Pursuing goals persistently despite obstacles and setbacks.

So how can you improve your motivation?

  • Re-examine why you're doing your job – It's easy to forget what you really love about your career. So, take some time to remember why you wanted this job. Ask yourself “what am I doing this for?” Starting at the root often helps you look at your situation in a new way. Re-establish your goals and make sure that your goal statements are fresh and energizing.
  • Know where you stand – Determine how motivated you are to lead. Assess the pros and cons of leadership and identify what appeals to you about being a leader.
  • Be hopeful and find something good – Motivated leaders are usually resilient and optimistic no matter what problems they face. Adopting this mindset might take practice, but it's well worth the effort.?Every time you face a challenge, or even a failure, try to find at least one good thing about the situation. It might be something small, like a new contact, or something with long-term effects, like an important lesson learned. But there's almost always something positive, if you look for it.

4. Empathy

For leaders, having empathy is critical to managing a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else's situation. They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. Empathic leaders consider other people’s feelings especially when making decisions.

If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, then show them you care by being empathic.

An empathetic person excels at:

  • Service orientation -Anticipating, recognizing and meeting clients’ needs.
  • Developing others -Sensing what others need to progress and bolstering their abilities.
  • Leveraging diversity - Cultivating opportunities through diverse people.
  • Political awareness -Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships
  • Understanding others -Discerning the feelings behind the needs and wants of others.

How can you improve your empathy?

  • Put yourself in someone else's position – It's easy to support your own point of view. After all, it's yours! But take the time to look at situations from other people's perspectives.
  • Pay attention to body language – Perhaps when you listen to someone, you cross your arms, move your feet back and forth, or bite your lip. This body language tells others how you really feel about a situation, and the message you're giving isn't positive! Learning to read body language can be a real asset in a leadership role, because you'll be better able to determine how someone truly feels. This gives you the opportunity to respond appropriately.
  • Respond to feelings – You ask your assistant to work late – again. And although he agrees, you can hear the disappointment in his voice. So, respond by addressing his feelings. Tell him you appreciate how willing he is to work extra hours, and that you're just as frustrated about working late. If possible, figure out a way for future late nights to be less of an issue (for example, give him Monday mornings off).

5. Social skills

Leaders who do well in the social skills element of emotional intelligence are great communicators. They're just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and they're expert at getting their team to support them and be excited about a new mission or project.

Leaders who have good social skills are also good at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically. They're rarely satisfied with leaving things as they are, but they don't sit back and make everyone else do the work: They set an example with their own behavior.

Social Skills relates to managing relationships to move people in the desired direction, in particular:

  • Influence - Wielding effective persuasion tactics.
  • Communication - Sending clear messages.
  • Leadership- Inspiring and guiding groups and people.
  • Change catalyst - Initiating or managing change.
  • Conflict management - Understanding, negotiating and resolving disagreements.
  • Building bonds - Nurturing instrumental relationships.
  • Collaboration and cooperation - Working with others toward shared goals.
  • Team capabilities. -Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.

So, how can you build social skills?

  • Learn conflict resolution – Leaders must know how to resolve conflicts between their team members, customers, or vendors. Learning conflict resolution skills is vital if you want to succeed.
  • Improve your communication skills – How well do you communicate?

So what is your EQ?

There are plenty of tests and assesments out there to measure EQ, in fact there are a few free ones online. The thing is, unless you already possess a reasonable EQ you would not be able to realistically identify how self-aware, how empathic, how socially aware you really are in the first place. So assessing EQ effectively can be tricky.

In some cases 360 degree feedback obtained from colleagues working alongside someone can contrast that of someone's own EQ assessment, primarily because they may lack the self awareness and insight to be able to really gauge how they interact with others. See, it's tricky.

S3 considers EQ to be of crucial importance in the recruitment and selection process and so we assess candidates EQ via open-ended assessment/interview questions and testing. This, in conjunction with thorough reference checking, PRISM Brain Mapping and behavioural interviewing give us the necessary insight to determine a candidates suitability.

Contact us if you would like more info about EQ.

Get in Touch

S3 Business Solutions
Call: 03 5261 6237
Email: admin@s3businesssolutions.com.au