Have you ever wondered what sets high performers apart from the rest of the population? How can two people with identical skill sets, similar work and life experiences, and equal amounts of training or education have completely different experiences with success? We’ve all seen it with colleagues, clients, friends, or family. Some people just have that edge, charm, energy, and that special something required to truly soar. Here’s the thing: that special something you can’t quite put your finger on is actually Emotional Intelligence (EI).
For years as a society, we’ve focused solely on academics, IQ, and traditional measures of a person’s ability. Thankfully, over the last couple of decades there’s been much more research, data, and discussion around the importance of emotional intelligence. In fact, there’s more and more evidence to suggest that emotional intelligence is the key driver of success.
But what is emotional intelligence exactly? Why does it matter? And how can EI help you to elevate your own potential?
What is emotional intelligence (EI)?
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand, and respond to our emotions and the emotions of others to deliver the best possible outcomes. It may seem like an incredibly simple concept - one that all of us ‘should’ already have a grasp on. In reality, EI is a skill. Like all skills, it can be learned, strengthened, and used to help you succeed.
“Emotional intelligence accounts for nearly 90 percent of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.”
- Harvard Business Review
Why is emotional intelligence important?
Right now, we’re all living in a world that’s being challenged. Things are changing in every way possible and there are growing levels of uncertainty and complexity in all aspects of work and life. This means we need to adapt and innovate faster than ever before. We need to find new ways to create and connect using, you guessed it, EI skills.
When we understand emotional intelligence and practise it in our lives, we get the best out of ourselves and others. If you’re in (or want to work in) a position of leadership, it’s even more important because emotional intelligence helps you connect, coach, and collaborate with others in the best, most productive way.
“Imagine if we could upskill ourselves, the people we work with, and our clients to increase our levels of emotional intelligence so we not only survive, but thrive.”
- Deidre Dattoli, Certified Meditation Coach
How is emotional intelligence measured?
A number of different assessments have emerged to measure levels of emotional intelligence. One such approach is Roche Martin’s Emotional Capital Report (ECR). With a strong foundation in the science of both personality and emotional intelligence, it's one of the most advanced technologies currently available for measuring EI.
The process focuses on 10 competencies that fall under the following three categories:
Inner focus - Awareness of your own feelings, values, and intuition - and the ability to manage yourself well. This focus enables you to develop your leadership presence and communicate authentically and openly.
Outer focus - Understanding the larger forces and systems you must navigate to determine the best strategy going forward. Outer focus enables you to take on new challenges and respond creatively and effectively to new opportunities.
Other focus - This focus allows leaders to read people well, which is key to managing relationships – the art of leading itself.
Emotional intelligence is now firmly on the agenda when it comes to growth, development, and high performance. To be considered for almost any life-changing opportunity moving forward, you’ll need to demonstrate advanced levels of EI.
Emotional Intelligence in Leadership
Leadership is a critical area where emotional intelligence comes into play. Leaders with high levels of EI can connect, coach, and collaborate with their teams in the best, most productive way. In fact, research shows that emotional intelligence accounts for nearly 90% of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.
Effective leadership requires a strong inner focus - awareness of your own feelings, values, and intuition - and the ability to manage yourself well. This focus enables leaders to develop their leadership presence and communicate authentically and openly with their team. It also helps them to stay calm and collected in high-pressure situations and to make thoughtful and strategic decisions.
Leaders also need to have a strong outer focus - an understanding of the larger forces and systems they must navigate to determine the best strategy going forward. This outer focus enables them to take on new challenges and respond creatively and effectively to new opportunities. Leaders with high EI are able to stay agile and adaptable in rapidly changing environments, which is critical for success in today's fast-paced world.
Developing emotional intelligence
But the importance of emotional intelligence extends far beyond just the workplace. Developing your emotional intelligence can have a positive impact on your personal life as well, from improving relationships with loved ones to managing stress and anxiety more effectively.
So how can you develop your emotional intelligence? There are several ways to begin:
Self-reflection: Take time to reflect on your emotions, both in the moment and after the fact. What triggered them? How did you respond? What could you do differently next time? By increasing your awareness of your own emotions, you can begin to manage them more effectively.
Active listening: Practise active listening skills by truly focusing on what the other person is saying, rather than planning your response or thinking about something else. This helps you better understand others' emotions and can improve communication.
Empathy: Put yourself in other people's shoes and try to understand their perspective and emotions. This can help you build stronger relationships and resolve conflicts more effectively.
Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. These can help you become more aware of your emotions and better manage them.
Seek feedback: Ask for feedback from trusted colleagues, friends, or family members on your emotional intelligence skills. This can provide valuable insights into areas where you can improve.
It's important to remember that emotional intelligence is not a fixed trait - it can be developed and strengthened over time with practice and effort.
If you're looking for more personalised guidance and support in developing your emotional intelligence, consider booking a clarity call with me today. I can help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement, and develop a plan for achieving your goals. This is an area where I see a lot of leaders excel with the right guidance and I have a few spots left for 1:1 coaching this year.