Emotional Intelligence. Have you lost it? Part II

Today’s guest blogger is Morag Barrett, the founder of Skye Team and author of Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationships. This is Part 2 of 2. Read Part I.

The more I read about Emotional Intelligence the more fascinated I become about its impact in both the workplace and at home. I am also conscious that awareness is not sufficient, as my earlier example shows, knowing what I should have, or could have done different is not as effective as actually doing different…

Now if you are raising your eyebrow and thinking “that would never happen to me” or “this is a business, there is no place for emotions in business” or “I’m a tough leader… I don’t get emotional.” Then take a moment and humor me for a moment. I want to show you how quickly emotions drive behavior. How quickly emotions drive YOUR behavior.

My team and I start our EQ workshops with a discussion and activity that demonstrates how emotions and feelings are at the root of all our actions and drive behavior, performance and leadership. Here is a quick example of how emotions impact and drive behavior…

Imagine you are walking down the street… around the corner comes your Nemesis, your archenemy, what are you thinking and feeling in that moment?

Here are some of the things we hear from workshop participants:

• Dread
• How can I avoid them?
• I feel myself get defensive

When we then as what happens next, participants will say they:

• Cross the street
• Pretend to be on a phone call
• Avoid eye contact
• Walk quicker (so as to spend as little time as possible with them)

Now imagine its your best friend who turns that corner… What are you thinking and feeling in that moment?

• Excitement
• Pleased to see them
• Maybe you have a quick flashback to your last evening out together

What happens to your behavior this time?

• Smile
• Walk quicker (to be able to spend more time with them)
• Make eye contact

Even in the classroom we can see participants visibly tense up in the first scenario, and then relax and smile in the second, even though their best friend is not in the room, they are only mentally picturing the encounter.

This is a simple but powerful example of Emotional Intelligence in action. Emotions are part of our DNA, our operating system, and try as you might, you cannot leave your emotions at the door. They are with us every minute of the day. Emotional intelligence is about recognizing this fact, understanding the emotions we are experiencing, why and how best to leverage that emotion to achieve a successful outcome.

Emotionally Intelligent leaders are aware of the emotions they experience in or about work. Consciously and unconsciously these emotions impact the how you communicate and the messages you send to those who work for and with you.

• When was the last time you laughed at work? Why did you laugh? Did others sense your positive mood?
• When was the last time you were frustrated? How did this impact the atmosphere of your team?

My advice? Don’t dismiss EQ as a fad, or as something you don’t need. “I have got to where I am today without it, why would I need to know this?” Think of it more in terms of where do you need to be in the future, to what extent does that rely on building effective relationships and managing your responses in given situations? Emotional Intelligence is the game changer that differentiates great leaders from the pack.

You can learn more about emotional intelligence at Morag Barrett’s SoundviewPro course A Leader’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence.

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