The measurable edge of Emotional Intelligence

The emotional intelligence of your managers is affecting your business performance.  There is now ample evidence of a direct link between the emotional intelligence of managers and the engagement of their people.  Research also shows that engaged employees are more productive and this has a direct impact on the bottom line.  

But there is evidence that engagement has far wider ramifications.  Kevin Kruse, an expert in engagement, highlights what he calls the ‘Spill Over’ effect.  When people enjoy their work they are very likely to be highly engaged in it, and it creates a virtuous circle.  If they have a fulfilling day at work they bring positive emotions home, this creates a positive and happier personal life, which makes them more positive at work. 

On the other hand, research found that disengaged people are likely to be more stressed, weigh on average 5lb more, and have a higher risk of heart attacks (about the same as if they were smokers).  One 4 year study of fathers and their young children even discovered that when the father had a bad day at work, there was evidence of his children misbehaving at school the next day.  Being dissatisfied at work is seriously bad for your health and the emotional health of your family.  Allowing your people to become disengaged is seriously bad for business and bad for society. 

So what is Emotional Intelligence?
We are all totally unique and have our own particular patterns of thinking and inner dialogue that we have created and honed over many years.  As intelligent creatures we also have beliefs and values that influence our behaviour, even when they are below our conscious awareness.  They give us our identity and our own particular set of drivers and motivators, which include the things that we enjoy most at work. 

However, it requires awareness and skill to tap into people’s complex beliefs, values and traits in a way that engages them and encourages them to move beyond their comfort zone; to become the best they can be.  This awareness and skill can be summarised as ‘Emotional Intelligence’ but what exactly does that term mean?  And how do you measure it?

There are four fundamental domains of Emotional Intelligence:

1.     Self-Awareness

This is becoming one of the key requirements of 21st century leaders.  In order to effectively influence and lead others you need to be fully and consciously aware of your own emotions and inner drivers.  

In this domain it is useful to consider the following: Why do you behave the way you do?  How do your emotions affect your thoughts and behaviour?  What stresses or triggers you?  What do you enjoy most at work?  How can you play to your strengths and develop or mitigate any weaknesses?   How can you fully utilise your considerable experience of life by tapping into your intuition and balancing it with a healthy dose of logic?

2.     Self-Management

In a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) it is important to be able to control our impulsive feelings and reactions in a healthy way.  This means having both high levels of self-acceptance and a strong desire to improve by being open to feedback and becoming a little better every day.  Effective self-management is also about recognising the limits of our comfort zone and being able to step outside it in order to adapt to changing circumstances.  This requires taking initiative, being willing to experiment and having the persistence to follow through on commitments. 

In this domain it is useful to consider the following:  What level of self-acceptance do you have?  How aware are you of the limits of your comfort zone?  How well do you manage your emotions when you step outside it?  How open are you to feedback and receiving correction?  How effectively do you manage the amount of pressure in your work and your levels of stress?  How agile are you in your responses to the VUCA work environment of the 21st century?

3.     Social Awareness

Social awareness follows when we have a high level of self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-management.  There are now more different generations in the workplace and in your market place than ever before, each with their own drivers, wants and desires.  The ability to pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organisation is becoming ever more important.  

In this domain it is useful to consider the following:  How effective am I at team working?  How well do I pick up on the dynamics of a group or team?   How well do I know my people and my customers, or the individual decision makers within my clients?  How comfortable am I socialising in a business setting?

4.     Relationship management

No matter how sophisticated or simple your business is, its success is totally dependent on the quality of the relationships that are in and around it.  There is an ever increasing need to understand the emotions, needs and concerns of other people, from suppliers to clients, potential customers to new employees.  These days if we get it wrong there can be an instant backlash on social media.  I now have restaurant clients who are experiencing customers tweeting about the service they are receiving during a meal; they prefer to complain to their friends rather than say something to the restaurant manager.  Staff can now rate their workplace and manager (Just put ‘Rate your Boss/employer/job’ into a search engine), and many people now look at this to check if they want to work in certain places.  Some of these sites are becoming like Trip Adviser for potential employees to check employers.

In this domain it is useful to consider the following:  How effective is my communication and how well do I build rapport and trust with others in order to develop and maintain good relationships?  How good am I at influencing and inspiring others to help them learn and grow?  How compassionately do I enforce the required standards and results?  How effectively do I assert my needs while being helpful to others?  How well do I handle and manage conflict?

Finding Answers
Finding the answers to all the questions above can take a lot of effort because they are often below our conscious awareness.  It requires some thinking and exploration.  However, emotionally intelligent leaders and mangers are genuinely interested, so they take the time to consider them and seek ways to become even more effective.

Their efforts are rewarded by more effective working relationships, higher levels of engagement and more personal fulfillment.  It also becomes clear that if you are doing everything you can to engage your people but one of them remains disinterested and disengaged, you have the right to have an honest conversation about it and explore what might be missing and if necessary discuss options for them to change roles or to work elsewhere.

It is also possible to measure your own and your people’s emotional intelligence with a number of assessment tools that are now available through Inspired Working.   They allow you to quickly discover your levels of emotional intelligence by highlighting your natural strengths, so you can explore the best ways to utilise them. 

A number of wise managers are now using assessment tools to get a list of the key engagement factors for their people.  For example, what people’s expectations are with regard to Development, Appreciation, Remuneration, Communication, Authority, Social Activity and Work Life Balance.  This means they have all the information they need to have a genuine conversation about the degree to which these expectations are being met or not.  This powerful conversation can then be used to identify what they need to continue, stop or start doing to have a fully engaged team.  That sounds pretty emotionally intelligent to me.

To find out more about these tools just ask Amanda by contacting her on Info@InspiredWorking.com

Remember . . . Stay Curious!

With best regards

David Klaasen 

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