Emotional Intelligence in Leadership Now Defines Success in the Workplace and Life
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times … business is business and what’s personal should stay personal. Keep those parts of your life separate. Don’t let your personal life affect your work or spill into the company’s performance. That’s the prevailing thinking in a lot of organizations.
And we couldn’t disagree more.
Thankfully, we’re not alone. Recently, the narrative has been shifting (for the better). There’s a growing body of compelling research correlating high emotional intelligence with success at work. Emotional intelligence in the workplace (EQ) is becoming a pretty hot topic for business, maybe even bordering on buzzword territory. But don’t be tempted to ignore this as just another fad. Emotional intelligence in the workplace is critical to being successful in your career and as a whole organization.
[#infographic] #IQ scores have increased 25 points in recent years, all while #EQ scores have steadily declined via @InitiativeOne https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
Because the truth is we’re whole people, who can’t and shouldn’t separate the rational from the emotional. Emotion is core to being human. And our own research and experience has shown that businesses can only go from good to great when the people inside them can say they’re the same people at work as they are at home.
Healthy emotion absolutely does have a place in business
. In fact, it makes businesses better…if you create a safe environment filled with hope for a brighter career future, where high emotional intelligence can really thrive.
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[#infographic] Top 5 countries with highest #EQ 1. Philippines 2. El Salvador 3. Bahrain 4. Oman 5. Colombia via @InitiativeOne https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
What Is Emotional Intelligence Quotient and Why Is Emotional Intelligence Important?
Of course, the logical question is, “How important is emotional intelligence compared to just plain intelligence?”
Studies show that emotional intelligence in leadership plays a larger role in our success both at work and in our personal lives compared to pure Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Even though it’s tempting to think IQ equals success, it’s clear we can't simply focus on IQ as the greatest predictor of success in life and at work. Not anymore.
So, let’s dig into the differences between EQ and IQ, because most people have heard of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and know what it is, but some either may not have heard of or may not fully understand what Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) is.
- The first IQ test was created in 1904 by Alfred Binet, and most modern tests have a rough scoring range of 0-200, with the average score being 100. It measures how smart a person is.
- EQ or “Emotional Intelligence” was coined by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer in 1990, and is generally scored on a scale of 0-100 (average score of 75). This measures how emotionally aware you are of yourself, others, and navigating the emotional side of relationships.
Comparisons of how IQ and EQ tests measure things differently are:
- IQ is typically inborn vs. EQ is a learned ability
- Success in school relates to IQ and accomplishment in life relates to EQ
- IQ measures knowledge and reasoning while EQ gauges ability to successfully navigate the emotional elements of relationships
[#infographic] Employees are 400% less likely to leave with a high #EQ manager via @InitiativeOne https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
Interestingly enough, while IQ scores have jumped by 25 points in recent years, EQ scores among adults have fallen. While the exact causes for this are not fully known, in working with scores of teams we’ve seen that the recent high rate of technological and social change could be playing a part. That exponential change can negatively influence our self-perception, introduce stress, and hinder our ability to deal with the changing world around us.
With all of this change going on, maybe it’s not terribly surprising (although maybe it’s unexpected) to see that the major developed countries of the world aren’t necessarily the ones leading the pack when it comes to emotional intelligence. In fact, despite what you might expect, the US is not leading the world in emotional intelligence scores. We rank number 15 internationally, behind mostly South American and a couple of Middle Eastern countries. The top 5 countries are:
2. El Salvador
And the least emotionally aware countries
No matter which country you hail from or how your country ranks internationally, we can no longer afford to ignore EQ. Emotional intelligence is truly too important. So much so that a lack of growth in this area can lead to a number of negative outcomes for businesses:
1. Poor internal team alignment
1. Burn unnecessary emotional energy
2. Create unresolved conflict
3. Leaders can be the source of problems
4. Energy spent on office drama/politics means less time spent on more productive things
5. Low engagement from your team
But when you do put your focus and effort on increasing your team’s emotional intelligence, good things happen. Many studies about EQ point to better company outcomes
in several areas:
[#infographic] People with high #EQ earn $29,000 more per year than those with low EQ via @InitiativeOne https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
What company wouldn’t want these benefits for their organization, especially with the war for talent continuing to heat up? And when you are successful at recruiting people with high emotional intelligence, there are many personal benefits that accrue to them, making them more likely to be a loyal employee to your organization.
5 Personal Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
In addition to improved outcomes for the companies we work for, there are quite a few personal benefits. This is a positive-feedback loop with better personal benefits leading to happier and more successful workers, which in turn helps companies perform more efficiently, effectively, and profitably.
And that virtuous circle usually continues to feed on itself once you’ve got it rolling.
1. Self-Knowledge and Awareness
Learning more about who we are and how we are wired based on our family and life history can bring us to a place of being more aware of our negative emotional triggers.
If we are more in tune with the fact that we are sad, angry, anxious, etc., at any given time, and more specifically what triggers those feelings, we are more likely to avoid going to a negative place. Or, at the very least, we can step back from the ledge much more quickly than before.
[#infographic] A study by McClelland in 1999 showed a 50% drop in “lost-time” accidents after plant received #EmotionalIntelligence training via @InitiativeOne #EQ https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
Taking this a step further to a place of mastering, or beginning to master, our emotions means we don’t allow our moods or the moods of others to rule or ruin our day. Stepping back to look at things more objectively or from the view of a disinterested party can allow us to get some perspective, thus diffusing a tense or stressful situation.
It’s just not healthy to allow ourselves to be blown about by every wind of emotion that comes our way.
3. Greater Success in Social Life
Higher emotional intelligence at work can carry over into our personal lives. Applying the same skills that enhance our ability to work more effectively with a team will help us better relate to our significant other, children, relatives, etc.
4. Increased Productivity
Not only will your company benefit from having you more efficient at your work, your personal productivity will soar when you aren’t tethered to negative thoughts about your current situation or having time wasted with drama.
Think about how much more time you will have to do the things you love!
5. Increased Job Tenure and Pay
Working in a company with an emotionally intelligent team, you are more likely to stay put for a longer period of time rather than job hopping every time you get worn out by office politics or internal drama.
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence Skills in 7 Steps
Since this is such a learned ability, we need to actively work on improving our emotional intelligence skills. We never fully “arrive” at a final destination of perfect EQ. Our environment of new and changing relationships requires continual learning and growth in this area.
Plus, we may also improve and then regress in certain skills, reminding us that our work of becoming a better leader is never complete.
It’s not just about individual improvement in emotional intelligence either; as successful experts in this field, we know how critical it is to raise the level of EQ for your entire team. In doing this, your team is able to accelerate their communication, decision-making, and ultimately faster progress and profitability.
[#infographic] In a UK study, one company saw 22% annual profit growth in restaurant locations with managers who had a high #EQ via @InitiativeOne https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
With the help of your team, create a list of 8-12 norms that you expect every team member to exhibit. Then work to hold each other accountable to them through positive reminders.
Once you’ve documented them, regularly remind people of them and what each means. This isn’t intended to be something you beat people over the head with when they fail, but a way to come alongside and remind them how they can succeed by giving that norm a bit more attention in their daily work life.
2. Truly Listen, Don’t Just Wait to Speak
This one is hard for many of us …
It’s tempting to just think about what we are going to say next in a conversation, rather than really listening to what the other person is saying. This stems either from the need to be perceived as smart or make sure to get our point across (usually to rebut the other party’s idea).
If we resist this urge, we can make more of an impact by being confident in who we are and allowing ourselves to listen intently to what the other person is saying, thus demonstrating respect.
3. Exhibit Impeccable Communication
Most of us genuinely believe we are communicating well, and many times we don’t even realize that we could be misinterpreted or that someone could understand us differently than we intend.
Some tips to keep in mind for enhancing our communication:
• Don’t have meetings after the meeting: Make sure that we say what we need to say when the team is together to make a decision. Otherwise, we are likely to undermine the decision with side conversations later.
• Get stuff that is “under the table” and put it “on the table”: For items that aren’t being discussed because we feel they are too sensitive, embarassing, or uncomfortable, muster courage and show some vulnerability by talking to the other person about that “under the table” item. Do this in a non-threatening, kind way with a focus on understanding their side of the issue; it usually helps to do this in private.
• Deliver the mail to the correct address: Simply put … don’t gossip. If you have an issue with someone, that person deserves to hear it from you directly, in private and with sensitivity. Gossip only tears a team further apart.
Connect your feelings with your thoughts. Some people have no problem with this; others struggle in this area. Sometimes, it helps to write your daily thoughts and feelings down in a journal to tune into your unconscious feelings by reflecting on the day.
Listen to your body’s intuition; that knot in your stomach might be warning you of a danger, even if it doesn’t seem that way to others. Try to sense the feelings of others and use that to try to help them resolve any negative feelings that might hinder their ability to do their job.
[#infographic] High #EQ has been shown to enhance company profitability, increase wages, reduce lost-time accidents, lower employee turnover, and improve job advancement via @InitiativeOne https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
5. Display Sympathy and Empathy
Putting yourself in the shoes of another is often a humbling act, since it requires us to recognize that, perhaps, there is a different point of view at play in the situation. Plus, if you do this and communicate in a way that demonstrates to the other person that you truly understand them, most people are grateful you took the time and showed them respect.
6. Explore “Why” the Other Person Is Feeling/Acting That Way
Perhaps your co-worker’s recent outburst was completely unrelated to the task at hand. Are they going through a divorce? Did they just get bad news about the health of a loved one?
There are many times where the emotion displayed has little to no bearing on the work involved. It can simply be related to their personal lives. Find a caring way to ask them how they are doing and how you can help, and you might find that their emotional walls come down.
Most of us don’t like to look in the mirror … and even less do we like to ask others to hold up that mirror and point out things we need to work on.
Now, this should be done with care and respect, but if we are to become more emotionally intelligent leaders, we must pursue this feedback from others.
The ROI of Increasing EQ: 7 Emotional Intelligence Outcomes
With more and more research indicating that people and companies who exhibit higher emotional intelligence than others have better personal and professional outcomes, this is a topic we all could spend more time growing in.
[#infographic] Is #EQ or #IQ more important to success at work and in life via @InitiativeOne? You might be surprised by the answer. https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
What are the important qualities and outcomes that are a byproduct of having high EQ?
If you can see these 7 emotional intelligence outcomes in your people and organization, you know you are on the right track to improving EQ:
1. In Tune with Emotional Triggers of Others
It’s not always easy to be attuned to the feelings of other people when we tend to focus on our own ups and downs. If we aren’t careful, this can lead to a myopic and self-centered view of the world, discounting what is happening to others that you work or interact with on a daily basis.
But as we become more emotionally astute, we see the patterns of other’s feelings more clearly. This allows us to help others when their emotions are turning negative by politely encouraging them to recognize and change their negative reaction.
2. Better Internal Team Alignment
Part of becoming a more effective team has to do with getting everyone rowing in the same direction. Far too often, the opposite happens, and factions rip and tear at the fabric of our companies.
The result is delay, frustration, and misalignment. But once we get people following the same team norms, looking at the same finish line, and backing each other up, that’s where teams really start performing at their highest level..
3. Being Proactive Instead of Reactive
While it sounds simple, it can be harder to put into practice.
But as we hone our emotional intelligence skills, we can change our instinct to react, particularly when we are tired, sick, or upset. The discipline to resist that urge, take a step back, and respond with forethought becomes easier as we progress in our journey.
Which leads us to the next point …
4. Staying Calm Under Stress
When we get stressed, we often have a “fight or flight” response. Demonstrating to our team that we can stay calm in those situations shows our increasing EQ.
Sometimes, we may need to take a few minutes, hours, or even days to cool off. Be honest about it. That’s human. Let your team know you need some time, but promise to get back together to discuss once you’ve had time to decompress and reflect to see both sides.
Maybe there are other ways you can deal with stress (prayer, meditation, taking a walk, etc.).
5. Less Office Drama
If you’ve ever been part of an office that seems to have drama 24/7, where people are gossiping and complaining seemingly every day (including the weekends), you know it’s not a happy environment. Unless you’re one of those people who thrives on drama (if you are, please stop it—it’s not healthy for anyone).
By increasing emotional intelligence among your team, there will be less and less drama or unresolved conflict among co-workers. Everyone will be happier, and your business will be, too.
[#infographic] US Air Force recruiters increased their ability to predict successful hires by 300% when they screened for #EQ via @InitiativeOne https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
6. Reducing Negative Emotions
And if there is less unresolved conflict, the negative emotions swirling in our heads will be less over time. Think about how often you spend thinking negative thoughts about a situation that hasn’t even had a trial at resolution. Those thoughts kill our productivity, not to mention leave us emotionally (and sometimes physically) drained.
7. Ability to Bounce Back from Adversity
With less drama and fewer negative emotions weighing you down, it is simply easier to bounce back from adverse situations, whether at work or in your home life.
Want Support in Emotional Intelligence Training for Your Team?
Emotional intelligence in the workplace is critical to your team’s effectiveness. It pays huge dividends in your personal life. And since both of those are inexorably intertwined, it would be foolish for companies not to work on improving the EQ of their teams.
We hope this guide gave you some actionable emotional intelligence tips for your team to move into a new era of cooperation, productivity, and profitability.
That said, we’ve found that most teams need the structure of a reputable team of experts to guide them through the journey of turbocharging their collective emotional intelligence. Without that focus and structure, the excitement of the moment can easily fade into the grind of the week, long forgotten.
[#infographic] One company reduced their first year employee turnover and cut financial losses by 92% simply by evaluating candidates for #EQ via @InitiativeOne https://bit.ly/2Mk2Qx5
At InitiativeOne, we’ve made it our mission to be that trusted, expert partner in emotional intelligence training. We aren’t just another leadership training course. Ours is different. We focus on the people side of things. After all, we are “human beings”, not “human doings”.
True transformation starts with the hearts and minds of your team members. We don’t just train leaders; we get in the trenches with you to identify and remove the barriers that are holding your team back, all while following a research-based process.
If that sounds good to you, InitiativeOne can help your team develop better emotional intelligence. Contact us today to learn how we can help you become the kind of high-performing team you know you can be.