If you're wondering how to build better relationships at work, and more effectively motivate colleagues, start by considering how emotional intelligence (EQ) affects leadership—and how to go about boosting yours. But just what is emotional intelligence, and why is it an increasingly important topic for modern professionals to consider? The answers may surprise you.
According to industry experts, emotional intelligence (EQ) describes one's ability to identify and manage their own emotions, as well as empathize with and manage others' emotions as well. Put simply, it defines your capacity to understand and express your feelings, as well as comprehend what motivates others and how to successfully collaborate with them. Noting this, and that five generations are now colliding in the workplace, each of which boasts its own distinctive goals and communications styles, it's more imperative than ever for modern leaders to be empathetic.
EQ is a complex trait, and attributes are split along a broad spectrum that breaks down into four individual categories that executives looking to build positive working relationships must seek to master: self-awareness; self-management; social awareness; and relationship management.
Self-awareness is the basic building block of emotional intelligence, speaking to your ability to understand your emotions, as well as the potential impact they may have on your on-the-job performance and professional relationships. Self-management instead defines your ability to maintain self-control under duress, to manage personal behavior and responsibilities, and capacity to adapt when faced with adverse circumstances. Social awareness denotes one's ability to effectively read other people's moods, and gauge their needs and concerns. Lastly, relationship management speaks to your potential to lead, inspire and influence others, not to mention successfully build relationships at work and manage conflict and change in life and business.
In effect, an emotionally intelligent organization is a positive and productive workplace where colleagues trust one another, freely collaborate and feel comfortable speaking up, sharing their thoughts and taking action. Similarly, an emotionally intelligent leader is an individual who can relate to colleagues, motivate teams and individuals, skillfully resolve conflict and inspire others to take positive action. Bearing this in mind, the greater EQ that you possess as a leader, the greater potential that you can have to successfully bring groups of individuals and disparate business divisions together to accomplish shared tasks and solve hard problems. Likewise, the more emotional intelligence that you can bring to bear when dealing with clients, the better attuned you can be to customers' needs and concerns, and the greater capacity you can have to come up with winning business solutions.
Striving to boost emotional intelligence isn't just good for workplace productivity, performance and morale—and a good way to build more positive working relationships—it's also good for career advancement. More and more leadership positions in today's market aren't going to those with better academic pedigrees and training. Rather, they're going to those working professionals who boast higher EQ, a more advanced background in emotional intelligence training and superior communications and teamwork abilities.
After all, to achieve lofty goals, and solve complex challenges, we typically need to build strong relationships at work, align ourselves with like-minded individuals and draw upon an assortment of colleagues' skills and talents. Leaders who possess strong emotional intelligence have the potential to build stronger relationships and assemble more effective teams. They also enjoy greater ability to motivate contributors to excel and successfully complete tasks, especially those that require businesses to leverage or mix and match the abilities of individuals with different skill sets and backgrounds.
An emotionally intelligent leader is an individual who can relate to colleagues, motivate teams and individuals, skillfully resolve conflict and inspire others to take positive action.
In essence, the higher your management team's EQ, the more creative and innovative your organization can become. Likewise, adding even just a single point of EQ to its capabilities can help you increase your business's performance, making finding more effective ways to ingrain emotional intelligence training in leaders a topic that every enterprise should be exploring. Bottom line? The more you make a point to prioritize emotional intelligence as a leader, the more successful both you and your business can be.
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