Think of the best manager you ever had during your career. What is it or was it about this person that made him or her so great? When I reflect back on the person who comes to mind for me, what stands out was my manager’s ability to stay calm in difficult situations, to be supportive and encouraging – a person who saw the best in me, even when I couldn’t. This manager listened to my ideas, and those of others on the team, and always made us comfortable to speak up, even if we had differing views. Additionally, this manager never hesitated to share information so that we all had the opportunity to learn and grow. No matter the situation, this manager had the capability to determine what was needed and address that need accordingly. Decades later, I still feel the positive impact of working for, what I learned later, was an emotionally intelligent leader.
EQ / IQ / Style
Much has been written about emotional intelligence over the years and many models of EQ exist. One of those models, brought to us by John Wiley and Sons, defines emotional intelligence as:
- EQ: “the ability to read the emotional and interpersonal needs of a situation and respond appropriately…even if it’s difficult”.¹
Some organizations have embraced the concept of EQ and have actively helped their leaders to develop these skills. Such forward-thinking companies are finding that they are much better prepared to adapt and pivot quickly. Cultures are created where employees are engaged and motivated which significantly improves retention and positively impacts the bottom line. Unfortunately, for many organizations, developing leaders’ skills in this area has not been a high priority. Consequently, many leaders find themselves far outside their comfort zones when dealing with interpersonal issues in the workplace.
Data consistently shows the link between EQ and leadership effectiveness.² A leader’s ability to demonstrate the behaviors and mindsets of emotional intelligence is as important, if not more so, as their:
- IQ: the skills, knowledge, and capability a leader possesses and the ability to apply that to problem-solve or meet goals, and
- Behavioral style: how leaders approach their work and relationships.
When it comes to leading yourself and others through the challenges being faced as we move through the pandemic, emotional intelligence skills are more critical than ever to cultivate. As leaders strive to rebuild businesses, show empathy to employees dealing with a myriad of stressors both inside and outside of work, manage their own cadre of emotions, make decisions during great ambiguity, and so on, there is a need to understand our emotional intelligence mindsets, leverage our strengths, and take action to improve the areas requiring more effort. Doing so will improve our ability to read situations and respond in a constructive way.
The good news is that there is now a program, Everything DiSC® Agile EQ™, that helps organizations and people adapt to whatever the future may hold, so that when it arrives, they are ready to meet the challenge. The power in the program lies in the combination of practical application and personalized learning. Each participant learns their likely EQ strengths based on their DiSC® behavioral style. Then, they receive specific feedback around their EQ opportunities with actionable recommendations to learn methods to stretch outside their comfort zone as circumstances may require.
Tips to Start Building EQ
Here are a few key tips³ to begin enhancing emotional intelligence. Some of these may be easier for you than others. With practice, those that are more of a stretch will take less effort.
- Take a breath to help you stay calm in high pressure moments.
- Separate emotions from the facts to see situations more clearly.
- Confront issues that may impact important standards and goals.
- Assert your conviction about your opinions and ideas.
- Take concrete steps to transform your ideas into reality.
- Put aside time and energy to create and maintain relationships with others.
- Listen for what is not being said in interactions and use inquiry to draw out and understand the other person’s perspective.
- Stay open to other’s ideas and be willing to compromise or even set aside your own preferences for the good of the team or a colleague.
Dutra Associates, LLC is now offering Everything DiSC® Agile EQ. If you want to develop the leaders and teams who will be nimble and agile in facing challenges, both now and in the future, please contact me to discuss your organization’s needs. Both the assessment and subsequent training to deepen the learning can be conducted virtually to support remote workers. We also can support you and your team with virtual individual and group coaching to help support the development and application of emotionally intelligent mindsets.
¹ Agility Unlocked | Revealing the Connection Between Agility and Emotional Intelligence, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2020
² John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2020 Agile Organization Survey Results; The Impact of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership on Talent Retention, Discretionary Effort and Employment Brand, Benjamin R. Palmer and Gilles Gignac, Vol. 44 NO. 1 2012, pp 9-18 © Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0019-7858 | INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL TRAINING
³ Agility Unlocked | Revealing the Connection Between Agility and Emotional Intelligence, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2020