I was interviewed for a leadership program on the subject of emotional intelligence this week. I call it your secret weapon because it is said to account for 80% of your success. You might be surprised to learn that intellect, though important too, actually only accounts for 20%. It is your ability to handle yourself which is what makes the biggest difference and this is what emotional intelligence is about. And the good news is that it helps you in your work and in your personal life too.
The downside of it is that you need to have it to know whether you have it!
There are four main elements to emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is also known):
This is about really knowing yourself - your strengths and your weaknesses too. For a lot of people their blind spot is what holds them back so self-awareness is really important.
Self-management has a number of components, the most important of which is self-control. Not in a controlling way (which implies a lack of flexibility), but rather that you are in charge of your responses. This is what I like to call 'response-ability'. It implies flexibility and choice - an awareness of options and an ability to see the bigger picture about which is the right option in the context you find yourself in. It isn't about denial, or suppression but about always being at choice and to motivate yourself through times of challenge and when the initial shine of an idea has worn off.
3. Social awareness
The most important component of social awareness is empathy - the ability to understand how someone feels. It is not to be confused with sympathy, though often is. Some research was conducted in the US with physicians. Those who lacked empathy got sued more often than anyone else. Empathy can get you very far, and the lack of it can impede your success, as well as affect your relationships.
4. Social skills
The final, though no less important skill of EQ, is the ability to build relationships, to influence, to inspire, to deal with conflict. All (and more) come under the umbrella of social skills. And they require the other three to function well.
To understand the degree to which you are emotionally intelligent is really difficult on your own. As I mentioned, you need to have a high degree of EQ to know if you have it. It is easier to know your strengths and weaknesses if you have a profile done. This takes off the blinkers, removes the blind spots and helps you understand yourself in more depth so you know what skills you can leverage, and where you need to improve.
EQ is a fascinating and complex area.
If you are a woman in a leadership position, you may want to sign up to "Unlock Your Leadership Potential Summit" hosted by a colleague of mine, Jill Furby at Limitless Women Leaders. Alternatively, I will have the recording available for my clients so you won't miss out. Keep posted and I will let you know as soon as it becomes available.
In the next article, I will talk about how to deal with overwhelm - a leading cause of stress. Stay tuned!
To your success.
PS Want to know how I can take your performance to the next level? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a no-obligation chat.