High EQ = Better You: What Every Leader Needs to Know About EQ

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This is a pivotal time as we begin to re-open parts of our world that remind us of our pre-pandemic lives. Some businesses are welcoming employees back, and others are delaying indefinitely.

This time of transition in the workplace creates a lot of uncertainty that leaders will have to manage for themselves and their team members as the “next normal” gets sorted out.

To succeed at managing the conflicts and challenges inherent in such transitions, leaders will need to rely on their emotional and social intelligence (aka EQ) more than ever to stay calm, focused and productive. 

What is EQ?
EQ is the abbreviation for “emotional quotient,” which is a measure of one’s emotional and social intelligence defined as follows:

“Emotional and Social Intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions effectively in ourselves and in others.
It describes the behaviors that sustain people in challenging roles, or as their careers become more demanding, and it captures the qualities that help people deal effectively with change.”                    (Source:  Richard Boyatzis, Daniel Goleman and Korn Ferry)

Emotions influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. How well leaders truly understand and manage their own emotions directly impacts their performance and their employees.

While it’s expected that leaders have a high IQ, the most successful leaders also have a high EQ. Leaders need EQ more than ever to truly inspire, influence and motivate others, especially with many team members working virtually or in hybrid office environments where face-to-face interactions are limited.

Leaders with high EQ use their high level of awareness to better manage their HOW they behave, WHAT they say and HOW they speak to others.

The good news is that EQ is not something that a fortunate few are born with, but rather a set of skills that can be learned and developed over time through training, feedback, practice and coaching.

Why EQ Matters
Leaders who have high EQ are perceived as more successful than leaders without EQ. They not only stand out, but they get more promotions, higher pay, and genuine support from their team members to achieve big goals.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to spot a leader like this — they have a calm, upbeat and trusting personality. They attract others like a magnet with their exceptional “people skills” while striving to be their best.

According to the company TalentSmart, EQ is the strongest predictor of one’s performance. It accounts for 90% of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.

The ESCI Model 
There are many models that explain EQ skills and competencies; however, one that is research-based and simple to understand is known as the ESCI Model.

The ESCI (Emotional and Social Intelligence Inventory) Model, was created by Korn Ferry, Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis.

The ESCI Model identifies the following 4 Core EQ skill areas: 

• SELF-AWARENESS:
Recognizing and understanding our own emotions

• SELF-MANAGEMENT:
Effectively managing our own emotions

• SOCIAL AWARENESS:
Recognizing and understanding the emotions of others 

• RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT:
Applying emotional understanding in our dealings with others

Within these 4 core EQ skill areas, the ESCI Model identifies 12 EQ competencies (strengths), as follows:
 
1. Emotional Self-Awareness is about being able to recognize how your emotions affect your performance.
 
2. Achievement Orientation is about being able to meet or exceed a standard of excellence.
 
3. Adaptability is about being flexible in handling change.

4. Emotional Self-Control is about keeping disruptive emotions and impulsive behaviors in check. 

5. Positive Outlook is about being persistent in pursuing your goals despite obstacles or setbacks. 

6. Empathy is about being able to sense others’ feelings and perspectives, with genuine interest in their concerns. 

7. Organizational Awareness is about reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships.

8. Conflict Management is about how you negotiate and resolve conflicts with others. 

9. Coaching and Mentoring is about being interested in others’ development needs and encouraging their abilities. 

10. Influence is about having a positive impact on others. 

11. Inspirational Leadership is about how you motivate and guide individuals and groups. 

12. Teamwork is about working well with others and creating group synergy to achieve shared goals.  
You Can Develop EQ
All 4 core EQ skills and 12 competencies are behavioral, which means they can be developed with training, feedback, practice and coaching.

A certified EQ coach can help you achieve your EQ goals faster and more effectively in two steps:
Step 1: You complete a 360-degree online feedback survey based on the ESCI Model. This is typically administered by an EQ certified coach who conducts a debrief and review of your results documented in a report. 

Step 2: Work with an EQ coach to get training, feedback and coaching so you can practice applying your EQ skills to your workplace situations.

The results of an ESCI survey provide valid data about how you perceive your level of Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Self-Management and Relationship Management, and how others see you.

The survey results help create a meaningful development plan that focuses only on the competencies you need to build strength over time. You may already have high levels of strength in some of the 12 competencies, so there’s no need to focus on the ones you’ve already developed!

While reading books about EQ or taking online EQ courses will increase your EQ knowledge, neither experience will provide you feedback from others, or skills practice that you get by working with an EQ-trained coach.  

If You Don’t Have a High EQ, It May Be Costing You
The skills that got you where you are in your career today are likely not the only ones you’ll need to in a post-pandemic workplace.

Organizations from corporations to nonprofits will prioritize hiring leaders with high EQ in a world trying to figure out how to navigate the “next normal.”

A survey by CareerBuilder found that 71% of employers indicated that they valued EQ over IQ because employees with high EQ were more likely to stay calm under pressure, resolve conflict effectively and respond to co-workers with empathy.

To succeed at being a great leader today, you have to have EQ in order to build relationships with remote employees and create a culture where all feel included, valued, and respected.

If you do not have high EQ, your career opportunities and financial rewards may be limited. You may struggle with more stress if you don’t know how to manage your emotions, especially in difficult situations involving staff, co-workers, clients, etc.  

You Can Develop Your EQ
Investing time and resources into developing your EQ will come back to you ten-fold. Having a high EQ will help you who stand out from others by how you handle adversity and continuous change.

The best way to build your confidence is to practice applying your EQ skills in typical workplace situations where you get immediate feedback from someone like myself who is trained to teach EQ skills.

I work with clients every week teaching them how to develop their EQ and become extraordinary leaders. If you’d like to know more about how I help leaders achieve higher levels of success, connect with me by clicking here. Together, we can figure out if I can help you in your leadership journey. 

All the best,

Jennell

Jennell Evans, MA, CMMI
Leadership | Emotional Intelligence | Mindfulness
Advisor & Speaker
jevans@strategicinteractions.com

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