Is emotional intelligence something you already possess, or something you can develop? Let’s begin with a simple exercise. Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and answer the following questions:
- Who is the best leader you’ve ever worked for? What made them a great leader? Can you think of an interaction that exemplified their positive traits?
- Now, think about the worst boss you’ve ever had. What did they do to make you consider them a poor leader? Are there specific encounters that amplified their negative traits?
- Last, think about a leader who started off poorly but improved their leadership skills over time. What did they do to improve themselves? How did their behavior change?
Chances are, the characteristics you identified, as making someone a great or poor boss, fell under interpersonal traits, not intelligence or technical skill. These interpersonal traits are indicators of emotional intelligence.
With many teams working remotely during shelter-in-place requirements, developing emotional intelligence is vital to your team’s overall health and productivity now more than ever. And building emotionally intelligent teams will be critical in developing the resiliency necessary to rebound from the pandemic.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
There are many complex and jargon-heavy definitions out there that, frankly, overcomplicate EQ and give very little direction in developing it. The definition I find most useful includes four pillars:
- Self-Awareness. You understand your strengths and weaknesses and are aware of your emotions and trigger points.
- Self-Control & Adaptability. You have the ability to manage yourself and can adapt your approach to tasks and situations when needed.
- Social Awareness. You can read social situations and recognize emotions and needs in another person.
- Social & Relationship Management. You have the ability to manage interactions based on the other people and situations.
How EQ Affects Leadership
Emotional intelligence is an important skill that everyone, and especially leaders, need to continuously develop in order to respond with the agility required in today’s workplace. In fact, according to a Wiley Workplace Solutions survey, 90% of individuals believe that agility is more important to their career success than now than it was five years ago. Leaders who lack emotional intelligence (EQ) are unable to respond with the agility necessary for the changing environment and they may unknowingly cause friction because they can unintentionally undermine trust, hinder productivity, and negatively impact team dynamics.
EQ is critical in management positions, especially in today’s fast-paced corporate conditions where organizations must pivot quickly to remain ahead of the curve. Effective leadership requires the ability to see the world from different perspectives, and that is the heart of emotional intelligence – the ability to see varying points of view and respond to a wide range of situations using the approach that is most effective in those circumstances.
Daniel Goleman found that while intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision are key ingredients to success, these traits are magnified (or minimized) based on a leader’s depth of EQ.
Unfortunately, many managers who make the leap to leadership fail to deepen their emotional intelligence, and this shows in fractured team dynamics, frequent misunderstandings, and poor productivity.
To be agile, resilient leaders and team members, we must learn which approach is best for a given situation. If it is not our natural approach, then we must learn stretch or adapt to use that response. Emotional intelligence, at its core, is about developing habits that will improve our intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships.
Assessment vs. Development
There are many tools out there that measure EQ yet fail to explain how to use that information. Wiley noticed that few assessments help workers develop EQ and stretch into new mindsets. This is the premise behind the new Everything DiSC Agile EQ assessment.
This new tool combines assessment and development to help you understand your strengths and potentially unresourceful patterns of behavioral blind spots, so you can learn how to adapt or “stretch” your responses to become more effective in leadership and interpersonal relationships. The result? Emotional intelligence needed to succeed in today’s agile business culture.
We all have certain “go to” mindsets that result in repetitive responses regardless of what would be most effective given the situation. Sometimes our natural approach works great because it is the best approach for the situation. Other times, not so much. This is why we all need to identify our blind spots and develop the full repertoire of mindsets that can help us respond effectively using a full range of responses.
If you are looking for a tool to help increase your team’s agility, flexibility and effectiveness the DiSC Agile EQ assessment can help. If you want to learn more, schedule a free 15-minute chat to discuss which tools can best boost your team’s resilience in this challenging time.
TAGGED : build trust, building a strong team, cohesive team, Communication, company culture, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, EQ, Everything DiSC®, increase your level of emotional intelligence, leadership best practices