Emotional intelligence is not something somebody else was born with, it’s a skill caring leaders work to develop.
April 15, 2018 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
It’s amazing that even in 2018, many of us find it increasingly difficult to connect with ourselves, others around us and the ever dynamic world. Most times, it’s a struggle we’re unaware we’re constantly dealing with. I once had a colleague who got overtly sensitive when she was asked to pitch to clients at meetings. Public speaking wasn’t her strong suit, and our boss at the time couldn’t take any excuses. It affected her output and delayed her career progression in the firm simply because the boss wasn’t emotionally intuitive to put her in the right role.
Needless to say, a very important factor at play in interpersonal communications and conflict resolution is emotional intelligence. EQ, as it’s commonly called, is the aspect of human intelligence that governs our ability to recognize our feelings, those of others and manage emotions. In other words, it constricts you to pay attention to your soft side and that of others — something my boss lacked at the time.
Interestingly, the smartest people don’t necessarily make the pool of successful people. I’ve realized that intellectual intelligence (IQ) is not enough to guarantee success. For a human resource fueled business to thrive and be sustainable, more attention must be placed on the soft side of the human capital. Thankfully, according to a research by CareerBuilders, more than one-third of employers are beginning to place more emphasis on hiring and promoting people with emotional intelligence, post recession.
In line with the dynamic demands of the workplace, I’ve learned a few ways EQ can play an almost more resounding role than IQ in increasing productivity.
1. It affects physical health.
When your emotions are not properly managed, it is more likely to translate to stress, which is harmful for the engine on which your business runs — your body. You’ll be amazed at how much damage stress can cause. Uncontrolled stress creates a ripple effect that spans through high blood pressure, weak immune system, increased risks of heart attacks, infertility and more. Luckily, a better dose of emotional intelligence can diffuse the stress bomb.
2. It affects mental health.
Four months before I resigned from my former place of work, I was constantly fighting bouts of depression. I was unsatisfied with the culture at my workplace. My boss constantly attacked my work. I was dealing with a heart break, and I completely lost the passion to add value to the firm. I had to learn to sieve out the toxic emotions, switch to a better job and surround myself with the positives. Sadly, 1 in 6 people experience varying degrees of depression, and it most often leads to anxiety.
Research from World Health Organization (WHO) shows that 350 million people worldwide suffer from varying forms of depression, with women more likely to be diagnosed than men. With outcomes like these, it is expected that one’s relationships with others will be flawed and work output stunted. However, strategies that feature emotional intelligence have been known to improve mental health.
3. It influences relationships.
With emotional intelligence being exercised in the work place, more respect is accorded to every colleague as their emotions are being carefully managed. Luckily, I groomed myself to manage my anger and not react aggressively when hurt, and that helped with communicating better with others. On the contrary, a lack of emotional intelligence will mean an utter disregard for the feelings of fellow workers and leads to a dearth in strong and meaningful relationships in the workplace.
With the continuous disruptions by new technology and innovations, EQ is becoming increasingly important. Not only will EQ help protect the business from potential risks, it will also to preserve personal relationships which may experience various kinds of hiccups, when effective communications become a chore.
4. It improves conflict resolution.
I once came across a Dale Carnegie quote which helped shape my perspective in interpersonal communications. He’s quoted as saying, “when dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotions, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”
In exercising emotional intelligence, we listen, talk and resolve conflicts in a more sensitive and productive manner.
5. It builds better leaders.
Emotional intelligence is widely known to be the key fabric of effective leadership. It contributes almost 80 percent of success rates, with IQ sitting at 20 percent. The ability to be perceptive and in tune with the emotions of the followers stems from a healthy dose of emotional intelligence. A leader who gives himself to this mode of thinking is more self-aware, self-managed, emphatic, better at managing relationships and communicates effectively.
Emotions are strong enough to get in the way or get you well on the way to success. Renowned psychologist Dr. Martyn Newman in an interview said, “the set of skills we need to meet business needs are rooted in our emotional and social behaviors, and studies also show that as you grow a culture of emotional intelligence in your organization, levels of absenteeism drop and engagement levels increase.”
Investing in EQ is guaranteed to yield you more committed employers and relationships, as most people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.