What Is Emotional Intelligence?
If you knew that there was one skill you could learn that would propel you towards a more successful career, would you try to learn it?
Enter: emotional intelligence (EQ).
According to Oxford Languages, emotional intelligence is “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” And it is something we can each learn and develop as we look to lead our teams.
That’s why we are diving into this important topic today. To help you gain deeper insights into yourself and to guide you towards more empathy for your team and those around you.
A Quick Glance At EQ
Think about a time when your emotions were running high. As much as we don’t like to admit it, we have all had our moments—both personally and professionally. Maybe it was an email that came into your inbox, sending you into a spiral, or a project that didn’t launch as planned. Or maybe you got your feathers ruffled in a seemingly innocuous situation.
In those moments—for many of us—taking a step back to reflect, light a candle, and journal didn’t occur to us. Instead, we may have been a little frigid in a response or made a sudden change without thinking it through first. In other words, our emotions drove our actions.
After some reflection, hopefully, we saw the flaw in our reaction. We knew we could have done things differently and promised to move forward on a different path.
If this is you, it’s not uncommon. Your past reactions are not your only way forward either. According to a study by Jeremy A Yip and Stéphane Côté, researchers found that “the effect of incidental anxiety on risk taking among participants with lower emotion-understanding ability, relative to participants with higher emotion-understanding ability, was eliminated when we informed participants about the source of their anxiety. This finding reveals that emotion-understanding ability guards against the biasing effects of incidental anxiety by helping individuals determine that such anxiety is irrelevant to current decisions.”
In short, when we know the source of our anxiety or emotion, it is easier to manage our emotions.
So let’s put this all into context. When we know that a disruptive email in our inbox might upset us or that a product launch requires overcoming a hurdle or two, mindfulness can improve our reaction in the moment—helping us to step back and take a more harmonious approach forward.
Emotional Intelligence And Our Teams
But, EQ does not begin and end on an individual level. The importance of emotional intelligence extends to the empathy and care that we show others. It is essential for conflict resolution, team building, and even the psychological safety of the people in your organization. It’s not all about recognizing negative emotions, either. Teams with collectively high EQ give credit to one another, cheer each other on, and help lift each other up in their day-to-day work.
If you are unsure how to relate to your team or how to get started, fostering a culture of support can begin by identifying your individual enneagrams. The enneagram reveals the best way to support each person. By doing this work, you can learn more about one another’s personalities and look for ways to support their needs.
Emotional Intelligence And Our Businesses
In a recent study by Talent Smart EQ, 42,000 people were tested using the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal. What they found was pretty incredible. Individuals with a high EQ earned—on average—$29,000 more per year than those with a low EQ. And, that’s not all—for every point increase in emotional intelligence, the average person earned $1,300 more in their annual salary.
This benefits the individual and the business as a whole. Multiply sales increases generated by EQ by the number of people on your sales team, and you have yourself a highly impacted bottom line. Emotional Intelligence training is good for the overall wellbeing of your business, its individuals, and the systems and structures within it.
Because emotional intelligence can be measured and improved, it is something that all of us can and should be working towards. If not out of the interest of our own wellbeing, then for the overall health of the companies we work within. You can get started today by learning more about your distinct personality through tests such as the enneagram and how to work with it to develop a stronger EQ.Our online resources exist for your benefit, and we offer specific and curated tools like the Enneagram X Burnout Card Deck in our store that can help you through every step of your and your team’s journey.