Emotional intelligence is often overlooked in business in favor of traditional analytical intelligence. However, it is a key part of well-rounded leadership. At our company Amerisleep, our managers leverage emotional intelligence to build rapport with team members and motivate them. Additionally, it's helped our staff better manage partnerships and negotiations with vendors to ensure we're able to provide our customers the best products and services all at a fair price.
According to research from Egon Zehnder International, senior executives with the highest levels of emotional intelligence were more likely to succeed than others who rated highest in either IQ or previous work experience. By developing your emotional intelligence you can improve your awareness of situations and people around you, communicate more clearly, and learn to anticipate others' reactions and how they are affected by them in the workplace.
Below are three steps you can follow to improve your EQ.
1. Learn when to regulate your emotions and when to unleash them.
Some people confuse emotional intelligence with letting their emotions run rampant, and are concerned that any attempt to overly express how they feel may be damaging in the long run. In reality, emotional intelligence involves learning more about how you react emotionally and developing discipline.
As a leader, your emotions are going to spread throughout the rest of the team and influence their work and moods. There are times when your infectious enthusiasm is needed to spur high performance and innovation. Conversely, there may be situations where you are nervous about an outcome and it's important to stay composed since even the slightest outburst could put your team on edge.
2. Ask your team members about their desired outcomes.
When a group of people works towards a common goal, you run the risk of homogeneity becoming the dominant force that drives decision-making, with everyone wanting to simply say "yes" to push the process forward. Despite a clear organizational objective connecting everyone, each member of your team might feel differently about how to accomplish the task at hand, and they may also have their own ambitions they carry with them.
In that case, you want to consult with your colleagues about their preferred outcomes and micro-goals. This will help you practice empathy and serve as a reminder that everyone contributes to your team in a different way.
3. Develop a holistic strategy for communication that covers written, verbal, and visual.
Leaders will high levels of emotional intelligence are very effective communicators. They work hard to create a reputation of transparency and minimize misunderstanding.
These leaders also realize that communication is more than just the words they say. Written, verbal, and body language together make up the spectrum of communication, and they must each be tended to carefully.
When words spoken are somewhat ambiguous, factors, such as tone of voice, volume, and body language are overwhelmingly used to distill meaning from speech. Communicate thoughtfully whether you are having a casual in-person chat with a coworker, or drafting an important memo that will have an effect on the entire brand.