It’s difficult to read recent headlines about Trump’s late-night twitter feeds, AOC’s John Coates’ alleged tolerance for bullying, or Bill O’Reilly’s behaviour at Fox News, without moaning about the apparent lack of emotional intelligence in leaders of this magnitude.
Each of these leaders may have plenty of EQ, but we might not be in agreement with the way they’ve chosen to exercise it. Broadly defined, EQ is the ability to recognise, understand, and strategically manage one’s emotions to create a desired outcome.
In this sense, when one is mindful and emotionally self-aware, behavior is a matter of personal choice. It’s based on individual goals and the values and ethics, or lack there of, that one selects to ensure desired outcomes. Juxtaposed to the use of skilled emotional intelligence (for better or for worse) is the mindless, more primal, knee-jerk response we’re all familiar with – The out of control, defensive reaction, that burns relationship bridges, and for which EQ is a panacea.
Imagine the challenge recruiters face. Candidates for senior roles will certainly display EQ acumen and many of the core values that support those of the organisation, but it must be an art form to intuit future choices the individual will make once in power (and under pressure) to achieve results.
We can’t control others, but we can choose to take full responsibility for ourselves. Enhancing our EQ skills in alignment with our personal values and ethics is an empowering place to start. There are other benefits that greater emotional intelligence offers in the workplace:
- Self-Awareness: Having a heightened capacity to recognise our emotions as they arise, as well as having sensitivity to those of others, empowers us with the opportunity to manage them strategically in alliance with our objectives. A common example, when the goal is to retain a comfortable working relationship, is to mindfully shift from anger to curiosity by ask questions instead of firing back.
- Self-Control: When we work to identify, acknowledge, and accept our personal conflict triggers and are practiced at managing them quickly, we can bypass the predictable inefficiencies of spontaneous reactions that inflame. Essentially, we craft a short gap in time, which affords us the opportunity to engage in a behavioural choice as opposed to thoughtless retort.
- Effective Relationships:
Having a deepened sense of emotional agility, we are better able to curb our defensive tendencies, therefore avoiding disruptive finger pointing and blame.
This level of mindful presence helps us to generate the productive interaction dynamics that are the hallmark of great leadership and that form the framework for successful business outcomes.
With the ever-present pressures of a fluctuating economy, globalisation and the constant advance of technology, it is more important than ever to develop a mindset that is open, accepting, and adaptive to change at every turn.
- Solution-Focus: By managing emotions and remaining objective during meetings that have the potential to be volatile and unproductive, we have the capability to tether interactions to attention on outcomes and end results.
We can’t control others, but we can elect to take responsibility for ourselves. Enhancing our EQ skills in alignment with ‘best outcomes’ is an empowering place to start.