No one cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.
– Theodore Roosevelt
What is EQ? And what does it mean to have Emotional Intelligence?
You could say that EQ is the ability to understand and manage yourself (thoughts, feelings, reactions etc) so that you can communicate with and relate to others – which also includes the ability to “get people”, to see and value other people, to take care of how you impact others, to understand social settings – and much more. Emotional intelligence is about being intelligent with people – yourself and others.
And when it comes to EQ in leadership it’s the same thing – it’s to connect with people in such a way that they bring the best of themselves to work, being as engaged as they can be, feeling important and wanting to do a great job.
Imagine a leader who makes you feel good about yourself, someone who believes in you, who spends time with you and makes you feel like you are important.
There’s nothing new about emotional intelligence (EQ), it’s always been there, although the term “EQ” or “Emotional Intelligence” is only a few decades old. Now what do you think – wasn’t great leadership always about emotional intelligence?
Don’t we all remember those leaders we’ve had (and I hope that you, like us, have had at least one!) who were about more than the job – more than the technical abilities, more than just a “goal achiever”. Someone who just made you want to go to work. Someone who connected with you and your colleagues and who made you see that work could be fun.
When we first became leader, in the early 90’s, there were no great attempts to try to help leaders be just that – people who lead. I might have learned the technicalities of the job as a manager, but I found it very difficult to deal with the difficult situations. A lot of is was gut instinct and either you had it or you didn’t.
Leadership development has come a long way since the early 90’s but sadly very few leadership development activities, even to this day, have the desired effect. Not because they are bad, but because they rarely change behaviours. And that’s what leadership comes down to, behaviours.
Or as Maya Angelou so eloquently said:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
We all have emotional intelligence (in different ways) and we can create more of it. It’s all about our behaviours and how they effect others.
Leadership is changing fast. And emotional intelligence is climbing to the top of desired leadership abilities. We keep seeing that people with high EQ are moving faster in their careers than others.
75 percent of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict;
or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.
Center for Creative Leadership
Watch this space – emotional intelligence will continue to grow in importance. And that’s good, for people and for sustainable businesses.
About the authors
Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.
Their latest book ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions” is out now, published by Financial Times International.
Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”This book is a 21st-century guide on how to build a world-class team. I highly recommend it” Steve Siebold, Founder, Mental Toughness University, Florida USA.