We’ve all had one: the volatile boss who lashes out over little things. The stressed-out co-worker who is constantly in a crisis. The arrogant customer who consistently makes insensitive comments. What each of these personas lack is a functional level of emotional intelligence. What may be harder to admit is that you are, at times, one of those people.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, acknowledge and manage your own emotions and recognize emotions in others. And high emotional intelligence is directly correlated with how successful you are in both your personal and professional life.
It is also directly correlated with the success of entire teams and companies. Some say that emotional intelligence is the most important factor for how functional a business is. In fact, one of our clients, has spent almost three years working to increase the emotional intelligence of their entire office because it is so integral to the development of the culture – and to their profitability.
So, if it’s so important and most of us still have work to do – how can we improve? We think there are six steps:
- Learn what emotional intelligence is
- Find out your own personal EIQ
- Identify blind spots and areas for growth
- Create one strategy for how to grow your EI in that specific area
- Do that thing. Consistently. Everyday.
- And finally tell others you are doing it – so they can call you out when you are not. (And invite them to do steps 1 – 5 along with you!).
Wanna do steps 1 and 2 right now? Then keep reading.
First, let’s talk more about what it is. Essentially, emotionally intelligent people can do these five things consistently and with great aptitude:
- Understand your own emotions
- Accurately perceive others emotions
- Use emotion to support accurate thinking (i.e. if you need to focus, you can quiet your thoughts and emotions)
- Recognize the natural progression of emotions (i.e. how impatience becomes annoyance and annoyance becomes frustration and frustration becomes anger)
- Manage your emotions – they come and go but they don’t overtake you
if you want to go deep into understanding Emotional Intelligence, you’ll want to read Daniel Goleman’s 1995 NYT best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence. (No witty titles here). He’s the godfather of this stuff and this is the bible. If you don’t have the bandwidth to delve into his book, you can start by watching his Ted talk:
Secondly, we know there are a zillion EI assessments out in the world today. So we won’t create one more. We think the Harvard Business Review assessment is great because it’s short but comprehensive and gives you some great next steps.
Which brings us to steps 3 – 6. The HBR quiz will help you identify some weak points and blind spots – but you’ve actually got to create and do the things that will grow your Emotional Intelligence and STOP doing the things that are harming yourself and your team.
And if, you find that you need help bringing your team along or if you are having a hard time staying the course – reach out. We have some additional resources that can help!