1. To start off, what is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is our ability to recognize and manage emotions in ourselves and to appropriately influence others.
2. Why is emotional intelligence so important in business today?
Many companies are realizing the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Given the complexity of business in the 21st century, the lowest unemployment rate in the last 30 years which lends to a shortage of good talent in nearly every skilled trade, and lean organizations and processes, best in class companies have come to realize that effective leadership and a positive work environment are just as important as having the financial house in order. Both gaining and retaining a company’s best talent is more crucial than ever before.
3. How does emotional intelligence impact business performance?
There is a verifiable link between emotional intelligence and business results. Numerous studies have found that when we increase our emotional intelligence, we raise psychological safety within the organization, leading to positive career and business impact. The opposite, of course, is true as well; companies with a red zone culture, unaccommodating business practices, and vulnerable hierarchies and/teams are sure to create functional silos, stifled collaboration and creativity, and decreased employee engagement and retention.
4. How is emotional intelligence measured?
You take a simple 20-minute online behavioral assessment that produces a “heat map” ranging from risk factor (red) to strength factor (blue). The BlueEQ approach is to measure emotional intelligence across five skills and twenty-five dimensions. The skills are self-regard, self-awareness, self-control, social perception and social effectiveness. Each skill is further comprised of five supporting dimensions (behaviors). Examples are optimism, openness, stress tolerance, mindfulness and influence. While the results are scientific, they are organized in an easy to read report that includes definitions, why it matters, what high and low scores mean and development tips.
5. What kinds of activities can be done to improve emotional intelligence?
A great place to start is to think before you act. Sounds easy, yet how many times have you been rude to someone who didn’t deserve it or cut someone off in traffic because you thought they were rude to you? Turns out, when we lash out, it generally begins with a mechanism in our brains that is meant to protect us. The same part of the brain is largely responsible for emotions. We’re put into fight or flight mode by impulses that can be hard to control. By taking several deep breaths and re-framing the situation in the part of the brain responsible for rational thought and language, we can then speak or act in a way that is less emotional and more rational. Give it a try next time you feel the urge to take your frustrations out on someone else.
Another step to take in your never-ending EQ journey toward improvement, is to add an external viewpoint to your internal perspective. Often times, we see lower EQ scores exude behaviors that take into consideration predetermined biases from cultures, community, and learned practices. To avoid impressing your own bias on a behavior demonstrated by another, ask clarifying questions to better understand the perspective of where the action or behavior stems – this may not only avoid conflict between individuals, but can also build trust and empathy. Who knows, you may increase other EQ dimensions as a bonus in just trying to seek clarification from someone else.
Stay tuned for more information from Roger on emotional intelligence in a few weeks.