As professionals, we pride ourselves on our technical skills, expertise, and innovation. These hard skills are what make our resumes stand out, but ultimately, they’re only one part of the equation. According to Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence (EQ) is “the key attribute that distinguishes outstanding performers,” and is the leading differentiator between employees whose IQ and technical skills are approximately the same. In fact, in a 2015 study, TalentSmart found that EQ is the strongest predictor of work performance, accounting for 58% of success in all fields.
In the public sector of leadership increasingly rife in the complexities of negotiation, compromise, and collaboration, the importance of Emotional Intelligence cannot be understated. EQ can make or break stakeholder relationships, our work environment, and our ability to successfully communicate with our colleagues. Consider the Know Yourself to Lead Yourself Tool and these 5 ways to grow your interpersonal skills and build irresistible culture.
Know Yourself to Improve Yourself: Being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to developing higher EQ. Do you tend to lose patience when team meetings get off track? Does your “attention to detail” need work? Take note of areas for improvement and seek ways to improve your work relationships by practicing patience, empathy, focus, and understanding. In doing so, you develop key soft skills that will boost your performance and increase the quality of your work life.
Know Yourself to Restrain Yourself: Studies reveal that our brains process an emotional reaction before we can logically react to a provocation, and it takes up to 20 minutes to recover from an emotional stimulus. Before letting visceral reaction take over cerebral reason, acknowledge any stress or anxiety you’re feeling and resolve it before moving forward. Calm yourself with a short walk, meditation, or a cup of tea, and then revisit the situation without negative emotions influencing your actions.
Know Yourself to Affirm Yourself: Whether we’re dealing with a difficult community member, or still smarting after an offhanded comment from a team member, depersonalizing the situation is key for maintaining healthy relationships. We tend to assume that people act or speak in relation to us personally; when in reality they do and say things because of themselves, not us. Don’t take everything personally and strive to accept other’s actions as a reflection of them instead of you.
Know Yourself to Manage Yourself: When issues arise, decide your next move based on what will resolve the problem most effectively. Taking a reactionary approach by retaliating will only cause more problems down the line and will significantly hinder your influence. Instead, seek solutions that address your counterpart’s concerns and prevent future conflict. Deciding to act in a responsive manner instead of reactively demonstrates the EQ skills of self-management, emotional intuition, and empathy.
Know Yourself to Understand Others: One of the greatest indicators of Emotional Intelligence is empathy, or our ability to understand another’s feelings and perspective. Leaders Worth Following are sensitive to emotional signals such as tone of voice, body language, and eye contact to best understand and assess how others are feeling and thinking about a situation.
Whatever workplace situations arise, handling them with Emotional Intelligence fosters healthy relationships and long-term professional success. Unfortunately, these healthy disciplines won’t magically appear, and most teams are more accidental than intentional in growing capacity in these “soft” areas of development. Fact is, building EQ is never an issue of urgency but may ultimately be the foundation to rise above your greatest performance challenges.
Consider fortifying your professional development planning with GiANT. We Specialize in leader, team, and organizational development and will work with you to integrate a simple, scalable, and sustainable Leadership Operating System to strengthen individual and team performance while creating a thriving organization where everyone can bring their best.
Interested in setting up a consultation?