Emotional intelligence (EI) is the awareness of and the ability to regulate one’s own emotions and tune in to others. And according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, it will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020. Companies are placing a premium on this skill because emotionally intelligent employees can handle pressure, understand and cooperate with others, listen and respond well, set an example for others and are more open to feedback, more empathetic and better decision-makers. Being self and socially aware and knowing what to do with that information can help individuals and organizations alike achieve goals and bring ideas to life.
What is EI
Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman popularized the concept of emotional intelligence in his 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence Why It Can Matter More than IQ. The four aspects of EI are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. And EI, Goleman asserts, is just as important as IQ for academic, professional, social and interpersonal success.
Whether you want to become a more effective leader, advance your career, or achieve goals in other parts of your life, emotional intelligence is essential to productive growth. The good news is that EI can be easily cultivated. To do so, you’ll have to develop Emotional & Social Intelligence Leadership Competencies in four main areas.
EI starts with self-awareness. The capacity to tune into your own feelings, sense inner signals and recognize how those feelings affect you and your performance is the foundation for building EI. It is an important skill for leadership at any level. People who are emotionally self-aware have an accurate knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as a solid understanding of what they can realistically achieve.
Developing self-awareness begins with self-reflection. It can be helpful to ask for feedback from people with whom you regularly interact. Simple questions, such as asking others what they see as your strengths and weaknesses, can be critical in recognizing a disparity between how you see yourself and how others see you. Each moment is an opportunity to be self-aware. The more you practice it, the more proficient you become and the easier it will be to manage your response in different situations.
Once you are self-aware it’s time to focus on self-management. Dealing with workplace pressures and functioning well under stress demands an ability to manage our emotions. People who know how to self manage can keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check, set and achieve goals as well as take calculated risks. They see the positive in people, situations, and events, and as a result are better able to adapt to change and juggle multiple demands. The increasing rate of change in the workplace boosts the value of those who can not only weather the storms but also help others.
The workplace is becoming increasingly collaborative, which means an employee who understands and gets along with others and can build relationships with a diverse range of people is a real asset. People with high social awareness are better able to empathize with others and understand a group’s emotional currents and relationships. This can also help to build trust and cohesiveness among teams. Ask for feedback and pay attention to what you hear. It is important to understand what matters to the people on your team.
And those who develop relationship management can positively impact and influence others in order to gain their support, coach and mentor, manage conflict and find resolution. They inspire and bring out the best in others, and work with others towards a shared goal. Seeking and learning from feedback will help you continue to improve your performance and relationships with others.
“We have capacity as human beings to positively impact how we shape our own brains through practices both of a cognitive-behavioral basis and a contemplative basis,” says Michele Nevarez, head of leadership programs and strategic partnerships at Key Step Media. Stein says emotional intelligence training can improve leadership, team cohesiveness, productivity, employee and management engagement, hiring decisions, and work culture.
One of the most effective ways to become more emotionally intelligent is with the help of a coach or mentor. People learn better from other people. Having someone to engage, guide and support you through the learning process will lead to better outcomes. A coach can give specific exercises to test where you are with each competency and offer suggestions for improvement in actual scenarios. And as with any job skill, people are much more likely to learn if they can easily recall the information and apply it to their day-to-day jobs. The interaction allows them to refine the necessary learning skills in a personal and lasting way.
Goleman has teamed up with Key Step Media and Everwise to combine coaching, mentoring and online learning to provide emotional intelligence training. To learn more about this program, visit http://bit.ly/eilearning.