Emotional Intelligence is the single most important business topic you will read about today. In fact, if you’re not working on improving your Emotional Quotient (EQ) right now, you’re probably not maximizing life’s opportunities, or getting the most out of your team. This blog outlines 5 competitive advantages for executives focused on improving team EQ, but it all starts from within. Let’s begin with some information on why EQ is important, and talk about why executives need to develop greater emotional intelligence.
What is EQ?
Emotional intelligence gained popularity as a concept for business leaders via Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence - Why it can matter more than IQ. Since then, emotional intelligence has been built upon in various ways, but the basic tenets - that we can learn to more accurately notice, define and use our emotions for better decision making - remain relevant.
The 5 pillars of EQ, according to Goleman, are:
- Self Awareness
- Self Regulation
- Social Skills
Why Executives Need Better EQ Than Anyone
Teams that consciously work on emotional intelligence waste less time with conflict, open themselves to innovative ideas and outpace other teams in profitability and productivity. Since the true definition of a leader involves never asking anyone to do anything he/she cannot or will not do, it stands to reason working on emotional intelligence from the top down sets a good example, and establishes the tone of work and relationships in an organization.
Historically, leaders tend to have a high D (for dominance) on the DISC scale. This means a greater tendency towards assertiveness and even aggression that can be off-putting in a team environment. Depending on other factors in the DISC scale, leaders with high D can be seen as domineering, and this can have negative impacts on collective achievement. For this reason, many executives seek training in order to develop a greater understanding of emotional intelligence.
In a multi-generational, multi-cultural workforce, EQ is even more important. When 90% of our decisions are made based on emotions at a subconscious level, doesn’t it make sense for me to have a good decision making system?
Using Emotional Intelligence to Cultivate Better Internal and External Relationships
As a leader, you have internal and external clients. Of utmost importance are your internal clients, because when employees are happy and engaged, they keep customers happy and engaged. Your people deliver your vision, and if they are in tune with their emotions, they are making better decisions.
What does it mean to improve team EQ?
- The first step is an assessment of emotional intelligence at all levels of your organization, including executive leadership, management and the rest of the team.
- Next, a curriculum is developed based on specific results, for different levels of a company.
- The curriculum can be delivered individually or as groups, divisions, or the entire company.
5 Competitive Advantages for Executives Focused on Improving Team EQ
Not only can improved EQ bring important advantages in personal and business life for executives, including superior decision making methods and increased engagement, it also has important advantages in the business context for teams at all levels. Specific advantages in the workplace include improvements in 5 areas:
- Decision Making: Emotionally intelligent organizations make better decisions at all levels, reducing mistakes, eliminating the need for wild pivots in direction and improving momentum.
- Productivity: On average, productivity and clarity wane for 4 - 8 hours after experiencing an emotional upset. Conscious training in emotional intelligence can help professionals at all levels more efficiently identify emotional reactions and bounce back faster.
- Profitability: Emotional intelligence results in better relationships with customers at all levels, both internally and externally. When employees are engaged and processing natural emotional responses more effectively, everyone wins, including the bottom line.
- Reducing Negative Impact: No matter how much EQ training occurs, it is important to remember that executives and employees are still human. We will always experience emotional reactions, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. The important piece here is to reduce the negative impact of emotional hits with better training.
- Safer Atmosphere for Communication: When your team is working together on developing a greater degree of emotional intelligence with an aim toward better, calmer decision making, there is a safter atmosphere for communication. Such an atmosphere promotes contribution, innovation and productivity.