The LEAD Conference is sold out. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the learnings of those who are attending! Today, we’ve got another Q&A session with Roger Smith, Ph.D. and Emotional Intelligence Thought Leader and Master Facilitator for Blue EQ about the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) to your success as a leader. (Read his first post as well.)
1. When it comes to EQ, can a leader’s empathy combat internal apathy?
Empathy, or the lack thereof, is a critical behavior for any successful leader. It is positively (or negatively) related to job performance, especially when leaders are sensitive to signs of overwork in others, show interest in the needs, hopes and dreams of other people, are willing to help employees with personal problems and convey compassion toward them when other people disclose a personal loss. When employees feel recognized, listened to, and have a belief their supervisor values them as a person, they are more engaged and willing to deliver discretionary effort, which is a willingness to go above and beyond their job description duties.
2. I’ve read self-awareness can help leaders more than an MBA. Is EQ more important than education?
That’s a great article from Harvard Business Review. It revolved around Vince, who after turning around a business learned that morale was a significant issue in his organization and that he was the root cause. He said his “ego had run amok” and he “led from (his) head and not from (his) heart.” It’s clear that technical skills will only get you so far. All the business theories, sophisticated financial analyses, and complex process improvement knowledge in the world won’t move an organization to its fullest potential with leaders who lack self-awareness. All things being equal, the person with higher EQ is going to deliver better results, superior customer service, more engaged employees, and enhanced creativity and innovation.
3. How could EQ attract new talent to the electrical distribution industry?
It can help in at least two ways. From a selection perspective, the US Air Force saved $2.7 million in training costs the first year after instituting an emotional intelligence model in their pre-screening and selection processes. By selecting candidates that better fit their jobs, they required less training and experienced a 92% decrease in first year turnover. From a recruitment perspective, being able to articulate to candidates that your culture has a high degree of psychological safety and that leaders are self-aware, interested in the careers of their employees, and have their egos in check can go a long way in a candidate’s decision to join your organization. Last, once new talent has entered an organization, the key focus will be on engagement and retention of that talent. Based upon the lowest rates of unemployment today, this is a crucial piece of the puzzle to not only solve, but to solve it in record time; we want to retain our best talent, and when the goin’ gets tough, our best talent will have options at the door from which to choose.
4. Since the LEAD Conference was sold out, what could people do to keep growing in this arena?
Emotional intelligence is a journey, not a destination. The first step is to set 30, 60, and 90-day goals for yourself. Work on one strong behavior, one weak behavior and a behavior of your choice. Consume articles, videos, and social media blurbs every single week (1-3 each week) on your declared dimensions of interest. Visit the BlueEQ academy for a thorough list of such media as a start, then proactively search for additional materials (and let us know if you find something great we should add to the academy). Meet with a peer coach who will help you stay accountable to your actions and milestones for improvement. Then retake the test and set another 30, 60, and 90-day goal for yourself. With practice, your EQ will improve as you build muscle memory for the behaviors you set out to improve. Oh, and time is on your side. As you age and have more life experiences, your emotional intelligence rises naturally.