Emotional intelligence, otherwise known as EQ, is vital in the modern-day workplace. It is not only a key factor in building rapport with employees, but it is also the main ingredient when reaching new heights for a company.
Possessing a high EQ has significantly been prioritized in the workplace. Many companies now require it as a prerequisite for those applying for leadership positions. Psychologist and author, Daniel Goleman wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review stating, “The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but...they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions.” Let's observe the correlation between common qualities of being a leader and having a high emotional intelligence:
Being empathetic is not to be confused with being sympathetic. Sympathy is the sharing of feelings with another person, while empathy is the understanding of feelings. Being empathetic is one of the key factors of being emotionally intelligent. Understanding why an employee is sad, upset, or frustrated can help get to the root of a problem. When the problem is identified, then emotionally intelligent people can then push forward towards a solution. Being empathetic can be as simple as asking, “How are you doing today?”
A leader should not only direct or manage but inspire. As a business leader, when your employees see that you have a strong desire to exceed previous goals, they become motivated. Passion triggers others to work harder, stay focused, and outperform as a team. Implementing a reward system can help motivate yourself and others. Some organizations provide rewards like a paid day off, gift cards, or a free lunch.
Self-awareness is one of the most important characteristics to have as a manager or supervisor. Taking an assessment, such as PeopleKeys’ 4D, can help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses. By acknowledging your limitations, you can begin to take steps to improve. Measures that you can take as a team leader to be more self-aware can include asking for feedback and reflecting on your actions at the end of the day.
Showing appreciation for your employees assures them that their hard work is being recognized. Employees feel valued, and feeling appreciated inspires employees to stay longer at a company. Leaders acknowledging others can also cause a ripple effect and increase workplace morale. Appreciation for your workers can be as simple as congratulating them on the work they completed on a project or stating how well they handled a situation with a difficult co-worker.
When a conflict arises, for example, if an employee begins raising their voice, a knee-jerk reaction may be to retaliate by raising your voice as well. When leaders begin managing emotions, they will not react impulsively. Instead, they will remain calm, express options if an employee continues to behave in such a manner and work towards a positive outcome. Being able to control your emotions can leave little room for error and make a leader more adaptable. When you learn to regulate emotions, if mastered, can become a talent not only in a work environment but at home as well.
Taking the time to speak to an employee about subjects outside of work makes a leader more personable. Employees will be able to let their guard down, and trust can blossom in a professional setting. As a leader, it also allows you to practice your listening and social skills. When interacting with an employee, ask open-ended questions or elaborate more on a subject of interest. For instance, do not just ask how someone’s family is doing, but ask how a specific family member is doing (wife, son, daughter, etc.).
Business leaders should strive for perfection but must accept that it is not always achievable. It is essential to support employees on the path to success but not pressure them where they fear failure. Setting realistic goals will give employees insight into what is expected of them and what a leader feels they can accomplish. Remember, failure provides team members the opportunity to use their creativity and understand what works and what doesn’t.
If you are a business leader interested in harvesting emotional intelligence as a skill, start developing your self-awareness. PeopleKeys’ Four-Dimensions (4D) of Personality Profile assesses 1,440 points of behavioral success to get you started on your journey to greater EQ. Knowing yourself will help you better understand your team and others around you. PeopleKeys has been providing business leaders, coaches, and ministry leaders worldwide with the tools they need to reach their goals.