Have you ever worked with a colleague who always seemed to be in control of their emotions and knew the right thing to say in any given situation? That colleague probably had high emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is incredibly important in the workplace, especially for those in leadership roles – but could it actually be more important than skills, expertise or background? Although you can have extraordinary skills and abilities, if your emotional intelligence is lacking, it can hinder your ability to grow and influence a team.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (or EQ, as it’s often called) has nothing to do with your IQ. In fact, many individuals who have extremely high IQs have what could be considered low emotional intelligence.
Psychology Today defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” Emotionally intelligent individuals are very aware of their own emotions, both positive and negative, and, as a result, often approach situations with a level-headed clearness and a firm grasp on reality. Additionally, emotionally intelligent individuals are greatly in tune with the emotions of others and are able to easily and quickly pick up on emotional cues in social environments, whether that’s in the workplace or otherwise.
There are four components of emotional intelligence, according to Harvard Business School, all of which tie into Psychology Today’s definition. These components include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management – key attributes for leaders.
The impact of emotional intelligence
The concept of emotional intelligence is relatively new, rising in popularity in the 1990s. However, just because it’s a fairly new concept, that hardly makes it any less “real.” In fact, numerous studies have shown how emotional intelligence impacts one’s career, teams, leadership skills, and business.
In one study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers looked at how factors such as personality and demographic variables played into overall career success. While demographic and certain personality traits played into salary, emotional intelligence was the key predictor for subjects’ overall job satisfaction. Another study, from Amman Arab University, looking at Jordanian industrial teams, found that there’s a significant positive correlation between emotional intelligence traits (such as self-awareness, empathy, and social skills) and leadership competencies development.
It’s easy to see how emotional intelligence impacts teams, as leaders with high EQs can better read their teams’ emotions and respond accordingly, without as much of a need to rein in their own emotions and feelings. Research even shows that a lack of self-awareness, an indicator of low EQ, can cut a team’s success rate by half, due to the increased stress and lack of motivation that comes from the lack of self-awareness.
But beyond the intangible factors of increased leadership skills and higher job satisfaction, emotional intelligence also impacts a business’s bottom line. According to one survey, 90% of top performers in a range of industries boasted high emotional intelligence, correlating directly with higher overall incomes. Along these lines, research also finds that emotionally intelligent leaders typically oversee teams that perform at a higher, more productive and more profitable level.
Cultivating emotional intelligence
So how do you go about cultivating emotional intelligence? Is it something that can be learned, or something you’re only born with?
Luckily, cultivating emotional intelligence is possible. According to the same article from Psychology Today, increasing your emotional intelligence starts with learning to identify and understand the emotions of those around you, as well as identifying and understanding your own emotions, where they come from, and how to appropriately respond to them for the best results for both your career and your organization.
Harvard Business School recommends professionals looking to increase their emotional intelligence practice 360-degree evaluations to increase self-awareness. This means that when you receive feedback or evaluations from your boss or peers, you complete a similar evaluation based on your own opinions, and then compare your idea of yourself to others’ ideas of you. It’s also recommended that you develop your relationship management skills by learning how to influence, coach, and mentor those on your team, as well as how to resolve conflict, versus avoid it.
How Arootah can help
Arootah offers executive coaching services that directly tie into the concept of EQ. Our leadership coaching services focus directly on what makes a good leader and what skills you might be missing, so that you can reach your highest leadership potential.
When you schedule leadership coaching sessions with Arootah, you’ll enjoy an introductory strategy call, where we’ll nail down what exactly it is you want to accomplish and how we can help you get there, custom-designed sessions to meet your needs each month, a library of resources at your disposal, access to coaching tools, live-streamed workshops, and a coach that will keep you accountable to reaching your leadership goals, whether that’s building your emotional intelligence or anything else.
Learn more about Arootah and how you can become a better leader today.
The bottom line
Although you can have extraordinary skills and abilities, if your emotional intelligence is lacking, it can hinder your ability to grow and influence a team. Instilling a growth mindset allows you to open the possibility for change and improvement. Anyone with discipline and curiosity can improve their EQ. You want to be someone who can collaborate, influence, and work a room with ease. Eliminate the friction of getting people on board with your ideas. Become emotionally intelligent today.
Tell us, how do you think improving your emotional intelligence can benefit you? What problems will you incur if you ignore this secret weapon of influence? Let us know in the comments below!