Emotional intelligence is learned early in life as children witness how parents manage their emotional responses to them, other people, and events. These emotional patterns have settled deeply into your subconscious mind and are often hidden from your conscious awareness.
Now, you may have accepted your emotional patterns as just part of your identity. But truth be told, you can change your emotional responses
Only you know all the situations where your emotional reactions haven’t been appropriate. Taking responsibility to take time to reflect on how you can improve is the first step towards correcting course, so your negative emotional patterns won’t repeat themselves over and over again … keeping you from achieving real success.
Emotional intelligence is the foundation of sound decision making, which is at the core of consistent, high performance.
EQ, or emotional quotient, is a measurement of emotional intelligence. It’s the level of emotional intelligence going on in a person or group. The advantage of EQ is it can be raised in contrast to IQ, which tends to be constant. In reality, your EQ may be a superior predictor of good performance than IQ.
A team with superior levels of emotional intelligence gain benefits in productivity and success, and stress levels are kept low through being able to regulate emotions. Therefore, costs to the organization such as absenteeism and medical conditions tend to be less.
An executive who acquires Emotional Quotient skills to develop an emotionally intelligent culture reaps a competitive edge for her team.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to identify, appreciate and apply the power of emotions to enable high levels of collaboration and productivity. Once learned, EQ skills are remembered for the rest of your life.
Now, the easiest way for you to learn emotional intelligence is by answering powerful coaching questions. You should also ask people you mentor the same questions to help them develop emotionally.
What is Self-Awareness?
Self-Awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives as well as understanding how your ways of being affect others.
Let’s examine your self-awareness by having you select an example in your life or business where you felt you should have responded better. You’ll use this example to respond to the below EQ questions and create an empowering alternative to your usual behavioral pattern in the event something like this happens again. It can be an example from any time from your past, even when you were 5 years old.
The purpose of this exercise is meant to help you see how you can raise your self-awareness scores. The best coaches know that behavioral change must Always begin with a specific example. We suggest that you spend a few minutes pondering over each question until you are able to design an empowering alternative to your negative response.
Q1: What were you feeling and thinking when you reacted that way with X? Replace X with the person or group from your example you selected above.
This question will also help the people you coach to learn how to increase their emotional intelligence (Self-Awareness) scores and discover how their moods, emotions, and drives affect them and others. It has them reflect on the connection between their emotions and beliefs.
Q2: How accurate were your beliefs about X at that time? Change your assumptions about X and you’ll change how you feel about X.
By regularly helping the people you lead reflect on connections between their feelings and their values, your colleagues will learn how to consider better responses when they also experience negative emotional triggers.
Q3: How do you think the way you were feeling and thinking affected X?
This question will polish their ability to self-assess. It will help them draw the connections between how they felt and the impact on X, and the outcome that occurred.
A good formula to always remember is: E+R=O. Your Response to the Event equals your Outcome. Change R and you’ll change O.
When you increase your self-awareness score, people you lead will begin to model the emotional intelligence in your upgraded behavioral patterns and decision-making. Hence, your leadership effectiveness will improve as you increase your EQ scores.
- Pause to consider if you have a realistic self-perception or not
- Reflect on your emotionally charged situations when using your strengths or weaknesses
- Draw or journal about your significant emotional responses to sharpen self-awareness
Why is Emotional Intelligence important in the workplace?
The emotions that cause the most negative consequences in the workplace are anger and fear. When your emotions are intense, it’s like your brain is being held hostage by your feelings.
Strong emotions like fear, anger and stress impair your ability to think rationally. Your brain is wired to always be on alert for threats of any kind, whether real or imagined. Anger and fear activate the brain’s “fight, flight or freeze” response, and it can take as much as four hours for your body to return to normal.
When this happens, you’re not able to focus fully on work. Of course, it depends on the intensity of your feelings.
The part of your brain that generates emotion floods the brain area in charge of executive functions, resulting in attention, problem solving and access to memory being impaired.
Your planning and organizational capacities are reduced while in this negative state. Your ability to focus is almost totally gone, as you cope with the distraction of processing your responses and plan your reaction.
Since logic and critical thinking are executive functions of the brain, your ability to calm down is diminished, as the emotional flood persists. The longer your emotional flood gates stay open, the more challenging it gets for you to get back to a clear state.
Lastly, a team experiences the greatest loss in productivity when a leader’s low EQ behavior impacts others exponentially within the group. Stress rises not only for the leader, but her team’s stress goes up as well.
Self-awareness is the first step in raising your emotional intelligence scores. When a leader increases her self-awareness, the entire team is lifted up emotionally.
Likewise, when a leader isn’t aware of her emotional impact on others, the performance of the group will suffer.
Because the root cause of stress is lack of emotional control, which is responsible for more than 60% of all illness and disease, emotional intelligence will help you reduce stress and maintain good health.
Download our infographic: “The Stress Domino Effect” to learn more about why emotional intelligence can benefit your health.
When you’re ready to learn more about your personal emotional quotient scores (EQ) and the steps you can take to raise them, sign-up for the IntelliStress EQ assessment. The EQ assessment will provide you powerful insights into 5 dimensions of your personal emotional intelligence.