Human skills, often referred to as soft skills, define how we engage with others and often include leadership, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving, to name a few. Many other cognitive and socio-emotional skills come into play, and these skills often provide the foundation pivotal for high emotional Intelligence or EQ.
In a nutshell, EQ is defined as someone’s ability to recognise, understand, and manage their own emotions, while also recognising, understanding, and influencing the emotions of others.
“Emotional-social intelligence is a cross-section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that determine how effectively we understand and express ourselves, understand others and relate with them, and cope with daily demands”
While many organisations are good at optimising technical and practical skills, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is often overlooked.
EQ is a key “soft skill” that needs to be deepened and developed and is the new psychology of leadership.
Pre-pandemic, 87% of employees lacked cognitive, interpersonal, and leadership soft skills required for the future.
The post-pandemic workplace and the new world of hybrid work require us to accelerate our EQ and soft skills as we engage both digitally and face-to-face.
Recently I was coaching an executive client; let’s call him Steve. Steve was struggling with the disconnection between individuals in his team. His nine direct reports are working from home three days a week which seemed to be working well until it wasn’t.
He noticed that many of his team weren’t interacting with each other, and when he bought the team together, all conversations and input were topical. Everyone seemed demotivated and a bit flat.
He told me that the right systems were in place, they had good procedures to follow, regular meetings locked in, and everyone had clear KPIs and accountability. What I noticed was that Steve’s insights were solely focused on technical elements and not so much on people skills, connection, and relationships.
Steve is technically brilliant at what he does but often lacks awareness of what makes others tick and how to access that for good. This results in him failing to manage and address what’s happening with those around him. We worked through some key aspects of EQ, including how he could engage 1:1 with each person, understand where they are at and why, and then look at ways to manage this as a team.
Like anyone leading in the hybrid workplace, we need to review and renew ways of working in the new world of work. He agreed he needed to understand the motivations of others and what their strengths were and build rapport by learning more about them as people. He also felt he could bring in more empathy, optimism, and relationship-building.
EQ is made of many competencies that we all need to deepen and develop ongoing.
The below includes an overview:
- Inner Focus: Self-knowing, Self-control, Self-confidence, and Self-reliance
- Outer Focus: Adaptability, Optimism, Self-actualisation
- Other focus: Empathy, Relationship skills, and Straightforwardness
When I see emotionally fit organisations, I witness them nurturing strong, inspiring leaders, and building rock-solid teams that are connected. They understand the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and others and leverage this to impact group dynamics. Highly emotionally fit teams help every team member reach their full potential and empower others to recognise their strengths and become more self-aware, instilling a passion for learning that drives continual improvement.
When organisations are emotionally fit, it is easier to define company beliefs and embed them. A vibrant company culture will nurture strong employee relationships and increase staff retention rates whilst recruiting and retaining top talent.
Emotional Intelligence is the thread that needs to be woven through the tapestry of every organisation
Some of the key benefits include:
Decades of scientific research point to the fact that the most effective leaders are those with high levels of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). They build much more effective professional relationships. They understand their colleague’s motivations. They can have difficult conversations that lead to positive outcomes.
Leaders create culture, but the problem many companies have is how to operationalise these values into practical behaviours and embed them in company culture to define the ‘way we do business.’
Diversity & Inclusion
Before a team can work well, the people in it must feel psychologically safe with one another to co-operate. This is achieved by establishing an environment where they are committed to understanding each other and know each person is valued.
Wellness & Wellbeing
Well-being is now a key capability in leadership, and I believe in every role.
Emotional Intelligence focuses on emotional regulation and provides one of the best frameworks for building cultures that positively protect people in the workplace.
Recruitment & Selection
A growing number of studies show that recruiting and selecting people based on Emotional Intelligence produces superior results compared to traditional approaches that rely on technical knowledge and cognitive ability alone.
Empowering Sales Teams
Product knowledge and an impressive sales pitch are no longer enough. Today the emotional experience of buying from a vendor is more important than products and price alone.
Creating an emotionally fit organisation is non-negotiable. With hybrid work in play, markets changing, new products and services, AI, and so much more, we need to deepen human connection.
How are you developing Emotional Intelligence in your leaders, teams, and overall organisational culture?
Written by Renée Giarrusso.
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