Emotional Intelligence in the Work Place

Jun 23 2011 | Tags: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence in the Work Place

“No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader.” Jack Welch

So what does emotional intelligence have to do with your work place? Is it relevant in all work places and for all roles or just leaders? Is emotional intelligence something that can be taught or trained? These are the common questions that generally arise when the topic of emotional intelligence comes up.

So does emotional intelligence have any impact on your workplace and is it relevant for all roles? “Research shows convincingly that EQ is more important than IQ in almost every role and many times more important in leaderships roles” (Stephen Covey). We have all at some stage experienced that Manager that just seemed to be an “exceptional leader”; they lead with passion, integrity and an apparent clarity of decision. But more importantly they ignited in you these attributes. There is no arguing that these skills are invaluable in every workplace; what business owner wouldn’t want their team to be more passionate, driven, innovative and stay in the business?

Until recently these such leaders seemed a rarity, they seemed to possess a skill that you either had or didn’t, and the focus was on holding onto these people, rather than developing a whole team of “exceptional leaders”. Thanks to years of rigorous research and case studies, it seems that these skills – while rare naturally in individuals, can be developed. Martyn Newman gives us more than just theory, he gives us practical tools to develop these skills.

Newman has distilled his years of research in emotional intelligence relating to leadership into 10 core competencies:

  • Self-knowing
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-reliance
  • Straightforwardness
  • Self-Actualization
  • Relationship skills
  • Empathy
  • Adaptability
  • Self-control
  • Optimism

Lets expand on one to make more sense of it all. ‘Self-knowing’, what is the relevance of this in a work place? Self-knowing encompasses emotional awareness, behavioral awareness and non-verbal communications. Typically someone who is low on self-knowing is often not good at recognizing or verbalizing their own emotions and is generally unaware of their impact of behavior on others. Now imagine this person as a manager in a work place, undoubtedly you have encountered them before, maybe they tend to ‘act out’ emotional experiences and then are surprised by your reactions; or perhaps you have come across someone who you found ‘hard to read’, as they kept their emotions & thoughts close to their chest. Both of these examples can lead to a lack of trust in the team and a general disengagement to their leadership, which is detrimental to all relationships and the working environment.

So where to from here? Well the Emotional Capital Report (ECR) focuses on these clear, tangible competencies and highlights an individual’s strengths and areas for improvement in leadership, and also gives simple coaching strategies to help develop these skills. For example, with the above illustration of self-knowing, a coaching strategy may be to:

  • Introduce a brief pause before responding/reacting to check your emotional pulse
  • Pay particular attention to other people’s emotional reactions to you and consider our behavior in light of the feedback.

Find out more how the ECR can help accelerate development and leadership in your workplace

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