Emotional intelligence (or EQ) is the ability of an individual to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.
It is made up of four dimensions:
- Self-Awareness (emotional self-awareness, accurate self-assessment, self-confidence)
- Self-Management (emotional self-control, transparency, adaptability, optimism, achievement, initiative)
- Social Awareness (empathy, organizational awareness, service)
- Relationship Management (inspirational leadership, influence, developing others, conflict management, collaboration)
Most leaders I’ve worked with are on the self-awareness bandwagon (good news for executive coaches everywhere!). Yet nearly everyone struggles with managing their emotions, particularly as strong feelings abound in high stress, high growth environments. I can relate – when you care deeply about your mission, invest your full energy and time towards seeing something through (often sacrificing sleep, fun or family), and you’re met with resistance, business can feel quite personal.
Please note: EQ does not equal suppression. Rather, it means you’re skilled at controlling intense emotions in the moment, expressing them in healthy ways.
Here’s an example of the the EQ struggle that I see a lot:
A client of mine was known for his high self-awareness and ability to build strong, collaborative relationships. However, he was also known to get visibly frustrated when meetings didn’t go his way or members of the team gave him difficult feedback. He would tense up, yell or shut down entirely at the drop of a hat. He would often apologize and clarify his commitments shortly after such an incident (self-aware), but he had a lot of room to grow in learning to manage himself. He hadn’t yet found the sweet spot between transparency and self-control so critical to high-EQ leadership.
It has been proven, over and over again, that emotional intelligence is not innate. These are all learned abilities, and each has a unique role to play in helping you – the leader – create a positive culture for your team and be more effective in what you already do. Since the ‘90’s research continues to prove that EQ more important than IQ towards overall performance and success. So, let’s get good at it!
When you look at the four domains of EQ, ponder this:
- What do you consider a natural strength?
- What is a capability you’d like to develop further?
More to come on each of the dimensions and nuances of EQ soon. It’s a deep ocean and we’re just getting our toes wet!