Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is imperative to any role, team, or organisation. Having the ability to focus on transferring EQ and motivation to your team is even more critical as we all continue to work and lead in an everchanging environment.
Simply put, 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.
There are several steps that you can undertake to aid this. First things first – ensure your awareness of self and others is high. If you want to lead and assist in increasing EQ, you need to lead by example.
“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 most businesses 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 I believe it is the new psychology of leadership.
Technical know-how is no longer enough!
As a leader, I truly believe you can create the necessary conditions in which team members can develop their EQ. However, each member of the team needs to take ownership of this.
There’s an analogy that says, ‘A piano student can be taught to play Minuet in G, but he won’t become a modern-day Bach without knowing music theory and being able to play with heart.’
There needs to be trust within the team and in you and a feeling of group efficacy – in other words, the team’s perceived capability to perform.
When there is EQ as a team, it’s all about the small acts that make a difference.
Here are a few key tips to help you:
- Create team norms
These are basically relationship guidelines that can be agreed upon as a team and, after time, will be followed at a subconscious level. The actual identifying, agreeing, and getting buy into these norms.
A great framework to create team norms:
– Look at what successful norms are already in place, based on your experience as a team. Ensure this link to your current team values.
– Turn the norms into behaviours. An example could be as simple as acknowledging each other with a thank you when tasks are met and sharing the process of what worked to foster an open environment to share best practice.
– Create a plan to ensure accountability is bring shared across the team.
- Identify and satisfy team strengths and weaknesses
Take the time to know and grow your team. I ask every leader I work with, “What are each person’s top three strengths and three areas to improve in your team?” Don’t over-complicate this, simply: – Ask, identify, understand, and help drive.
– Make sure everyone shares their strengths and one area they’re looking to change or do differently.
– Leverage diversity in the team by each sharing (including you).
- Let your team have a voice
– Creating a safe and open environment opens the space for all members to share their thoughts consistently. Google recently identified emotional security at work as one of the top traits of high-performing teams.
– Look at ways to ensure all team members get to voice achievements and the challenges and mistakes they make, and the lesson learnt. This is within the team and across divisions.
– Be creative in the ways you ensure every person has a voice. Keep in mind EQ is not all about just having harmony, happiness, and no tension. Rather, it’s more about acknowledging when harmony is fake, tension is suppressed, and treating others with respect.
The post-pandemic workplace and the new world of work and AI, requires us to accelerate our EQ and soft skills as we engage both digitally and face-to-face.
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.
key benefits of organisations high in EQ include:
Leadership Development-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.
Cultural Transformation-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.
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.
How are you developing Emotional Intelligence in your leaders, teams, and overall business culture?
Written by Renée Giarrusso.
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