Emotional Intelligence: The Skills of EQ

Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

Emotions are messy. Period.  Emotions are challenging to control and understand.  Emotions flood our brain when reacting to stimuli without us consciously being aware and then we respond to those emotions with our behavior.  And because the filter by which stimuli are passed through to produce these emotions and behaviors is our belief system, we are hesitant to challenge or look deep enough within ourselves to make a change to those beliefs to which we hold so dear.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

There has been a long-standing debate about whether leaders can be “made” or are leaders just “born” with the ability to lead.  What I have learned to believe is that the answer (like most leadership answers) is BOTH.  As humans, we are born with a capacity for intellect (IQ) and we form general personality tendencies by the time we are young children…both of which change little as we mature.  The one element we can develop is our emotional intelligence.  I’m not saying that by improving EQ, people will become “perfect” leaders.  No.  I’m suggesting that when leaders work to enhance their EQ skills, these leaders can increase effectiveness on their continuum.

How can you do it? 

  1. Self-Awareness – understand your own emotions.  Self-Awareness is our ability to accurately perceive our own emotions in the moment and in certain situations.  Awareness truly is “the first step” to making any lasting change.
  2. Self-Management – practice what you do in response to your emotions.  Self-Management is what happens when you act, or do NOT act, in response to your own emotions.  This is a critical skill in regulating our behavior in leadership…and life.
  3. Social Awareness – read the room.  Social Awareness is the ability to accurately pick up on the emotions in other people and what might really be going on with them so that you can take in critical information to each situation.
  4. Relationship Management – putting it all together.  Relationship Management is where the rubber hits the road.  This is a leader’s ability to use their knowledge and management of “self”, combined their awareness of others to build effective relationships.

Based on the descriptions above, which of these skills is your strongest and share an example?

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