Did you know one of the main reasons top executives fail is a result of low emotional intelligence (EQ)? That’s right, they might have the hard skills needed to drive the business, but when it comes to managing their soft skills, they come up short. Simply put, EQ is defined as the ability to understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. EQ will determine how you handle change, how you work on a team and how you manage relationships. We have all worked with someone that has high intelligence (IQ), but their IQ is overshadowed by their ability to control their emotions, their EQ. The outcomes of a low EQ leader can be decreased morale, reduced engagement, and lessened productivity. Have we made a case yet? Here’s what you can do to develop your EQ.
- Start with self-awareness. Observe how you react to people and stressful situations. Do you get frustrated when someone challenges you? Do you shut down under stress? If so, this is a sign of low EQ. Understand your triggers and develop strategies to manage them.
- Empathize. Think about the feelings of others. Specifically how your own actions and emotions impact them. Do people feel comfortable challenging you or asking questions? Are you sending disciplinary emails on a Friday leaving the employee to stress about it over the weekend? These are both signs of low EQ as it relates to others. Be aware of how you communicate, when you communicate and be intentional with your words.
- Manage conflict do not let it manage you. When conflict arises, how do you respond? Are you combative or open? Does your own ego dictate your investment or are you thinking big picture about the best outcome for everyone? Low EQ leaders will likely become angry and difficult to confront when conflict arises, which can discourage others from bringing up sensitive topics that need to be addressed. Think about how you want to respond to conflict and create an action plan for when it occurs.
- Be accountable. Do what you say you are going to do. Take ownership of your roles and responsibilities, don’t play the blame game. Keep your commitments.
- Embrace feedback. Look at feedback as an opportunity to grow. Your boss may have just given some criticism, but it’s up to you on how you want to handle it. Do you want to utilize it or dwell on it? Feedback is a gift, good or bad, as it’s helping us be our best. Also, coach and provide feedback for your team. Teach them that feedback is a method of personal development, not something to be feared.
- Know when to apologize. Similar to being accountable, make public apologies to your team when appropriate. This will create an open and trusting atmosphere within your team and improve relationships.
- Let go of resentment. Are you holding on to a situation that didn’t go your way? Individuals with high EQ know how to let things go so it doesn’t impact their current tasks. Resentment can perpetuate a stressful situation and damage your relationships. Learn how to let go of ego and move on.