Intellectual intelligence (IQ) and technical ability are vital qualities to possess in the workplace. In fact, they can be seen as the entry-level requirements for any career, notes author and entrepreneur Howard Feldman. However, they aren’t the only key to succeeding in your chosen career. There’s a soft skill members of the workforce tend to overlook or ignore completely: Emotional intelligence (EQ).

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is described as one’s ability to know what they are feeling and handle their emotions to be able to successfully complete tasks and achieve their goals. It is also being able to sense and consider the emotions of those around you as you work and interact with them.

What is the difference between IQ and EQ?

The key difference between the two is that IQ is something people tend to be inherently born with while EQ is something that can be developed and improved as you grow. Having a high IQ means being able to recognise patterns and use them effectively in everyday life. Having a high EQ means that you are able to analyse and understand your emotions as well as the emotions of the people around you and effectively make decisions around that.

Emotional intelligence in leaders

Emotional intelligence is vital for leaders as it helps enhance their leadership skills. Having a high EQ assists in identifying conflict and finding resolutions in a manner that is fair to all the parties involved. In doing so, people become more trusting and feel comfortable enough to connect with you on an emotional level.

As I’ve mentioned before, no one is born with emotional intelligence, it is a skill that is developed and harnessed as one grows. Here are some tips to help develop your emotional intelligence:

  • Avail yourself

Good leaders are available and approachable to their employees. Things can get hectic but it is important to take time to check in with your employees and allow them the space to voice concerns or grievances in the workplace.

  • Listen actively

What that means is that you listen with understanding and ask questions if you are confused. You are able to make better decisions if you are fully informed about the situation you are dealing with.

  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

Being empathetic is a vital component of emotional intelligence and ties in with listening and understanding. Putting yourself in their shoes will help you understand what they are trying to convey to you and what they expect of you as a leader.

  • Communicate

It is important to always communicate any changes to your employees. This will relieve them of any uncertainties and anxiety.

  • Invest

Studies have shown that employers who invest in developing these soft skills in employees obtain more productive work environments as employees often feel empowered to do more and advance themselves which in turn, is good for business.

Lastly, a reminder that emotional intelligence development is a long process and like anything else in life, is improved by practice. If you are interested in refining the interpersonal relationships of your organisation through understanding, feel free to contact me or see the other topics I cover in my talks. Everyone can benefit from understanding more about the world around them, including the people they interact with.

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