Organisations are realising why Emotional Intelligence can matter more than pure technical ability
Business is all about relationships. Without relationship skills it is harder to build a sustainable organisation that can thrive in a dynamic complex market. Self awareness and self management enable us to be more personally effective, while social awareness and relationship management enables us to connect, inspire and build highly effective teams.
Candidates with above average emotional intelligence skills are better able to:
1. Manage pressure in a healthy manner
In our always on world we often have to manage workplace pressure, in the midst of juggling family and social pressure. Always being in contact (through smart phones and social media) requires us to develop the ability to manage our emotions. Those with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more aware of their internal emotional temperature and are therefore able to manage their stress levels in healthier ways. Awareness of what you are feeling and why makes it easier to manage stress than when we are unaware of why our Emotional Temperature is rising. EQ skills provide coping mechanisms and healthy support systems that keep us productive even in tough situations. As change in the workplace increases, our ability to manage work-related stress becomes a more valuable skill.
2. Listen effectively
We all want to be heard and understood. Our ability to listen and respond to others is crucial for developing strong working relationships. A key part of this skill is going beyond listening to the words alone and moving on to understanding. This requires empathy and questioning to gain greater insights. Due to their ability to understand and relate to others, highly emotionally intelligent people are able to make others feel heard and understood. An essential part of this ability is social awareness that includes the ability to pick up emotional cues, through understanding of tone and body language. This skill is essential in building teams or relationships with clients.
3. Understand and cooperate with others
Emotional intelligence skills enable us to be less defensive and more open to collaboration and the perspectives of others in our teams. As teamwork becomes increasingly important in the workplace, those who are able to relate to others and are open to diverse perspectives will become more valued. Diverse teams are potential sources of innovation and varied solutions to dynamic challenges, but require high EQ skills to build a level of trust and cooperation. This skill becomes a more valuable asset in a more global workplace.
4. Use empathy to inspire and connect
Being able to manage our own emotions and desires, while being able to take those of another into account allows for greater connection. We tend to feel more connected to those we can relate to and those we feel get us. Collaboration presents logistical issues, but the emotional issues (how team members feel about each other) often have a greater impact. Team members with higher emotional intelligence are often more effective in understanding where others are coming from, and more likely to build trust and cohesiveness. This increases the teams ability to manage logistical and innovation challenges verses becoming bogged down in internal bickering and politics. Empathy to the needs of others helps team members work together towards a joint goal.
5. Give and receive feedback more effectively
Balanced, timeous and honest feedback is essential to job performance and development. An essential part of effective feedback is that the person receiving the feedback feels that the speaker cares and is not just being critical. As many organisations are beginning to reject traditional ranked annual performance reviews, this skill of giving feedback that can be heard and acted on is becoming more valuable. Those with highly developed emotional intelligence skills are less defensive and more open to feedback, particularly when it comes to areas of improvement. They also tend to be better at sharing feedback in a manner that is easier for the listener to digest.
6. Plan and make more effective decisions
The high EQ ability to see things clearly from another’s point of view enables them to make better decisions, and gain insight into how their decisions will impact others. This also helps manage the impact of a decision that leads to an unplanned negative outcome. The dynamic interplay of varied stakeholders, technology and complex markets means that we are never able to make 100% effective decisions. Our ability to make perspective-rich decisions with the information we have, and then manage the impact of those decisions in an effective manner are incredibly valuable in today’s dynamic chaos. If we wait until we have guaranteed results we will never act. Our ability to engage stakeholders effectively and gain diverse perspectives enable better all round decisions and management of the outcomes of those decisions.
7. Lead by example
Those with high EQ don’t get as easily flustered when things don’t go according to plan, or when they get flustered they are able to manage their frustrations more effectively. Their ability to manage themselves and their relationships makes it more likely that others will notice and try to emulate them. This ability to influence, inspire and persuade others increases members value in a team, whether or not they have an official title.
As the rate of change and pressures increase in the workplace those with above average emotional intelligence competencies people will become more valuable than ever. The ability to demonstrate we are able to manage our emotions, work well with diverse people and adapt to change helps us succeed and build great places to work.
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