Delivering leadership and management training across the world gives me a great insight into many different types of organisation, whether they be private, public or not for profit.
The thing that really strikes me is the fact that very few have a true grasp of the topic of emotional intelligence (EQ) and that everyone in an organisation can improve this particular personal trait. An improvement in your EQ can lead to many other benefits at team and organisational level.
Whether this be through improved communication, better working relationships or improved customer engagement. The benefits can be wide ranging, but this can only be done through individual or team coaching following an in-depth discovery of your present position.
Firstly, you need to identify where you sit on the spectrum of having little self-awareness to that of having full self-awareness.
For instance, do we know why many of us can’t stop impulse buying? Why do we shout out expletives when we bang our big toe against the corner of the bed? Why do we regret instantly responding to a situation with which we are faced rather than walking away and counting to ten?
Having an improved EQ will allow us to monitor when we are having an ‘amygdala hijack’ and will also allow us to take control in situations where we have previously let ourselves down. The workplace can be a pressurised environment where profit driven situations can lead to decision making without thinking things through.
An improved EQ will allow us to think rationally about all the information and intelligence we have used to make those decisions. We can think more about splitting out fact from assumption and we can consider a range of options rather than having tunnel vision and limiting our scope.
Daniel Goleman (1994) discusses five attributes of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, empathy, relationship management and effective communication.
Goleman argues that it isn’t enough to be very clever and have a high IQ (Intelligence Quotient) in his view, you also need to have a high EQ (Emotional Quotient). He further argues that leaders and managers need to be aware of their emotional states and the impact that these can have on colleagues, customers and suppliers.
A true example that I have come across during my leadership training experience. A senior leader who is superb at making the right decisions for the organisation and to the extent the they have turned the failing company round and it became a high profit organisation within two years.
However, there was a cost to this. Because this leader had a very low empathy score in their EQ test, they managed to alienate the team and, in some instances,, team members either left the organisation or they were off work due to long term sickness absence reasons. Can you afford to have excellent decision makers with very low empathy states? The costs can eventually bring your organisation to its knees.
Rob Hoblin MBA MA FCMI
International Leadership & Management Trainer
Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (EQi-2.0 EQi-360)
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