When an intelligent person is speaking, you know it. When an emotionally intelligent person is speaking, you know it, you feel it, and you believe it.
Successful leaders with strong communication skills tend to have a high EQ (emotional intelligence quotient).
The ability to be in tune with both yourself and your emotions is a powerful tool for leading a team. It is truly the untold secret of compelling leaders and engaging speakers. It's the act of knowing, of understanding and responding to emotions, of navigating stressful situations, and of being aware of how your words and actions affect others.
For this issue of Marketing Coach, I focus on the relationship between EQ and leadership. I recently spoke with leadership training expert Monica Thakrar, President of MTI, who inspired this issue.
EQ and Effective Leadership
Emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence. It is not the triumph of heart over head - it is the unique intersection of both.
While the term emotional intelligence (or EQ) is certainly not new, its application in the business world is a foundation of effective leadership. Daniel Goleman defines EQ as "the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in our ourselves and in our relationships." In other words, how able are you to gauge the needs, wants and even expectations of those you lead?
The five primary aspects of EQ are: self-perception, self-regulation, interpersonal, decision making, and empathy and compassion.
EQ is an essential skill for successful leaders. According to Monica Thakrar, it's your ability to communicate, engage and work effectively with people; in the same way that IQ is your ability to learn and understand new things, handle new situations or think abstractly.
Those who study and write about the differences between people with high EQ and high IQ find that high EQers come out on top. While academic intelligence and technical skills contribute much to one's skill set and success, those with more people skills may be more effective in the end because people relate to them better in all aspects of life, business and personal.
By knowing how you feel and why, how your behavior and reactions impact your stakeholders, and by making emotionally informed decisions and owning your reality, you can lead from a more authentic and compelling position.
Communication and relationship building are important tools. For instance, Monika advises leaders to notice how personal temperament sets the tone of a conversation, a meeting, a day, a company. This awareness, she asserts, will affirm that "moods are contagious," and is just the sort of thing that successful leaders pay careful attention to.
How well can you influence others? Your success and effectiveness as a leader is also related to your ability to get others to do what you want. Now, we are talking about motivation, not manipulation.
Take a close look at the connections you make with people. Have you recognized their different perspectives? Have you found common ground? Are you sharing the same sense of purpose?
Leaders inspire and motivate everyone around them by connecting with them emotionally and appealing to their hearts, as well as their minds.
EQ is a powerful tool that can not only contribute to meeting shared goals (and exceeding them), but to improving work relations and creating a healthy environment.
EQ vs. IQ and Communication
Which style best describes you: IQ or EQ? Do you communicate with you brain or with your heart? And is there really a right or wrong way to communicate? Is one a better indicator of personal or even professional success? Maybe.
Someone who is more IQ focused (think Albert Einstein) is able to frame content from a technical perspective. They focus on data, day-to-day matters and are very detail oriented. While IQ has its place and is frequently the thing that can get you hired, EQ is what helps you move up the corporate ladder.
On the other hand, someone whose strength is EQ is more relatable. Their communication style is more like storytelling, more experiential for the person or people they're talking to. They recognize how important relationships and connections are. They are able to empathize with others and are a calming and positive influence on their teams.
High EQ is not connected to the number of degrees you have or even your resume qualifications. Academic intelligence and technical skills will land you the job, but those with EQ people skills will accelerate and lead effectively because of how people relate to them.
EQ is key to leadership success - the ability to connect, communicate and lead by example. When you invest in increasing your own EQ, you prepare yourself and your organization to pass the competition, and you're putting your company and team in a better position to succeed.
4 Ways to Increase Your EQ
Is there a way to increase your emotional intelligence? The author of The Practical Guide to Emotional Intelligence, Justin Bariso, believes there is. Since the pillars of EQ are self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, motivation and interpersonal skills, there are things you can do to increase your EQ.
1. Reflect on Your Emotions
Think about how you respond to situations and navigate, especially in moments of crisis. Can you become more aware of how you react? How can you handle something better or differently for a different impact or outcome?
2. Ask Others for Their Perspective
Do you ask others for their perspectives and viewpoints? Not just because you think you are supposed to, but to genuinely understand where they are coming from. Once you are capable of truly doing that, you will view your team for who they are. Successful leaders adjust their interactions based on their audiences.
3. How Do You Handle Criticism?
Criticism is never easy to hear. If your goal is to become a better leader, it is important to listen to criticism and elicit ideas about where you can improve interactions, situations and outcomes. Effective leaders are always thinking about how they can improve their own interactions and outcomes, as well as those of their teams.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Learning to improve your emotional intelligence is not something that happens overnight. Use what you've learned to work for you and not against you.
Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, Inc. helps companies build reputations and differentiate in a competitive market through thought leadership, public education, issues management, content strategy, and strategic communications. To find out how ICCC can help you and your company build your reputation contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 212-399-0026 or visit www.ivycohen.com.