Last week we discussed how communication, and the way that we communicate, has become a critical element in retaining modern workforce. And with communication being one of the pillars to sustain any healthy relationship – along with trust, respect and honesty – one quality that doesn’t get enough praise is emotional intelligence.
Interestingly enough, emotional intelligence (also known as EQ or EI) was only popularised as recently as 1995, by journalist Daniel Goleman. According to Cambridge Dictionary, the definition is:
noun [ U ] UK : ‘’the ability to understand the way people feel and react and to use this skill to make good judgements and to avoid or solve problems’’
As we spend nearly 1/3 of our life at work, we can’t argue with the fact that the relationships that you have with your colleagues, and boss, are probably some of the most important ones in your life. Thus, it is just as important to pay attention when choosing your managers and colleagues as it is when choosing your better half.
So, outside of the dictionary definition, what is emotional intelligence really? And how can you tell if your leader has it? Here are the 5 key traits to look out for, in order to measure anyone’s emotional intelligence:
- They are self-aware and socially aware. Someone with high EQ is in sync with their feelings – they know how to analyse them correctly, how to express them to others but also how foresee how their actions will have an impact on others.
- They feel empathy. Not to be confused with sympathy – the ability to identify with the situation that your peer is in – individuals with high EQ can connect to what another person is feeling. Simply put, they can put themselves in your shoes.
- They know how to self-regulate. We’ve probably all come across that one manager who seems completely unable to take responsibility for their actions, let alone their emotions. In stressful situations, they are the quickest to find a scapegoat to shout at.
It’s likely that you’re dealing with an emotionally intelligent person, if they keep themselves accountable, keep calm and know their ethical values.
- They know how to motivate. A self-motivated leader is constantly working to achieve their goals and a leader with high degree of EQ knows that optimism is key in motivating their peers. Facing challenges and sometimes even failure is part of the journey, but the optimist trusts that there is always something good coming out of every situation.
- They have brilliant social skills. Is your boss great with managing change, praise others and arbitrate in conflicts? These are not only traits of a great leader, but also of high emotional intelligence.
In conclusion, as an effective leader you must have a brilliant understanding of how your own emotions and behaviour impact your colleagues. Like a muscle, EQ can be improved if worked on and if you’re willing to put in the effort, this will help you succeed in the future!