Has Emotional Intelligence become a buzzword that has lost its meaning? Could it be time to slow down and actually define and understand what we mean by such a vital skillset?
Mastering emotional intelligence requires the same level of diligence as mastering any technical skill required for your career. EQ should be a required course of study. Emotional intelligence falls under the umbrella of interpersonal skills, these are rigorous high-level leadership skills. To manage emotions, to develop relationships, to deal with humanity – these are some of the hardest skills to acquire, practice, and master.
What is EQ? In its simplest form, Emotional Intelligence boils down to understanding yourself, knowing you have emotions and both identifying and managing the emotions you are feeling. At the same time, having emotional intelligence requires understanding that other people have emotions, too, and that we invest in the relationships so that others can better understand and express themselves.
Several workplace studies, including one conducted by LinkedIn, “LinkedIn Learning 2020 Workplace Learning,” have identified emotional intelligence as one of the most powerful sets of skills and abilities you can master for the next few decades. It shifts the focus away from IQ, a measure of one’s reasoning ability compared to the general population as determined by a problem-solving test. Before the 1990’s, IQ and reasoning ability were considered the ultimate hallmarks of overall intelligence. EQ, as opposed to IQ, is a measure of interpersonal and communication skills. It’s the “heart” – the self-knowledge, interpersonal awareness, and emotional management – which balances and completes the “head” of reasoning and problem solving.
Maybe you are one of those who have been taught that feelings don’t belong in the workplace and should be left at the door. You may find yourself left behind as workplaces become more holistic, balancing work and life. The strict work/domestic boundaries of the past no longer hold. You are a human being and human beings feel – no matter where you are. The leader’s job is to embrace emotionality without getting lost in feelings. This will allow you to leverage the full potential of all your employees and of yourself. Everybody wins.
Emotional Intelligence may fly in the face of traditional management theory where the boss is the boss and the workers work. EQ demands a rewiring of much of what you believe about “command and control” leadership. It requires that you clean your personal filters of outdated beliefs, habits, and paradigms and experience personal transformation. Your businesses, lives, and world expects this and needs this now.
Are you ready?
Mary Pat Knight is CEO of Leaders Inspired – an executive coaching and consulting agency devoted to the development of emotionally intelligent leaders. She is also the author of the Amazon #1 International Best Selling book, The Humanized Leader.