The Power of Emotional Intelligence

February 1, 2023


We’ve all worked with and listened to brilliant people. Some were great and some, well,  not so great. The smart and sophisticated as well as the mean and meek (and all those in between) can teach us more than they realize.

When we look at extraordinary leaders who inspire and make a difference, they do this by connecting with people at a personal and emotional level. They’re successful at optimizing their soft skills – their interpersonal skills – or what I like to refer to as their “smart skills.” What differentiates these leaders is not their IQ but their EQ – their emotional intelligence.

Your emotional intelligence, also called EQ, is your ability to be aware of and effectively manage emotions and relationships. It’s a pivotal factor to your professional and personal success. IQ will get you in the door, but it’s your EQ – your ability to interact effectively while managing your emotions and others’ emotions – that will determine your success in your professional and personal life. What’s more, people with high emotional intelligence tend to go through life happy and don’t get easily angered
or upset.

“In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels”

-Daniel Goleman

The good news is emotional intelligence is a leadership skill that can be learned and enhanced over time. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and 21st century guru of emotional intelligence and author of the bestseller, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, describes five domains of leadership characteristics of emotional intelligence, which are outlined below. The more you can manage and master each of these five leadership domains, the higher your emotional intelligence and likelihood of professional (and personal) success.

How does your EQ rank? Take the time to truly understand your emotional makeup, where you excel and where you fall short. To attain your goals and full potential, you must want to grow. Emotional intelligence is a pivotal factor to professional success. Develop your emotional intelligence and watch yourself excel in business and beyond!

Daniel Goleman’s five fundamental principles of emotional intelligence:

1. Self-awareness

Those who have high self-awareness can recognize and understand his or her personal moods and emotions and how they affect others. For example, if a person with strong self-awareness is having a bad day, he or she can easily temper their emotions so they don’t appear angry, impatient or rude.

People with self-awareness know what makes them tick. They have a clear understanding of their strengths and challenges. They’re also inclusive and operate with humility, respect and kindness.

How to Improve Your Self-awareness:

  • Ask for feedback about yourself from co-workers you trust.
  • Take a personal assessment: DISC, StrengthsFinders, Meyers Briggs, etc.
  • Know your strengths, take an inventory of your habits, write down your core values.

2. Self-regulation

Self-regulation or sometimes referred to as self-management is the ability to control your emotions or redirect disruptive outbursts and moods along with the tendency to suspend judgement and think before acting. In other words, they keep their emotions in check and don’t lose their temper in front of others. People who have high self-regulation skills rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, gossip or compromise their values. They’re trusted and respected by others.

How to Improve Your Self-regulation:

  • Become more aware of your emotions and how you react to them.
  • Step away from a difficult situation: take a walk, get a drink of water or
    breathe deeply.
  • Make time to think about situations and your emotions. Explore ways you could change what you do or the way you react.
  • Identify emotions and reactions that aren’t useful and replace them with more positive emotions.

3. Motivation

Those with a passion to work and pursue goals with energy, persistence and of love of learning have high motivation. They’ve a strong commitment to their job and duties with extremely high standards for the quality of their work. Motivated people like to help others succeed.

How to Improve Your Motivation:

  • Understand what motivates you.
  • Look for new, exciting sides of your profession and develop differernt skills.
  • Maintain professional and personal development.

4. Empathy

Empathy is the cornerstone of leadership. It’s the ability to “walk in others’ shoes,” because you’ve a keen understanding of the emotional makeup of other people. Possessing empathy allows you to successfully see things from someone else’s point of view and manage a team or organization. Leaders with high empathy have the expertise in developing and retaining people, cross-cultural sensitivity, giving constructive feedback and serving others well. They are excellent leaders.

 How to Improve Your Empathy:

  • Wait until the other person has finished his or her message with their point of view before offering yours.
  • Paraphrase what was said to help clear up misconceptions and deepen understanding. Ask open-ended questions.
  • Avoid being defensive to create a conversation where options can be discussed freely.

5. Social Skills

Leaders with strong social skills have excellent communication abilities, they’re effective in leading change and set examples with their own behavior: They walk the walk and talk the talk. They are adept in finding common ground and connecting with others. They’re collaborative and excellent in managing relationships and building networks. People with strong social skills are approachable and liked.

How to Improve Your Social Skills:

  • Resolve conflicts between others in a constructive, productive way.
  • Improve your communication skills  verbal and nonverbal.
  • Praise others to inspire loyalty and trust.

About the Author: Nancy Schnoebelen Imbs is an empowering professional development consultant, dynamic motivational speaker and author. Highly dedicated and results-oriented, she has the skill and passion for helping individuals become more confident and successful in business and beyond. She and her company Polished help clients focus on key adjustments that result in meaningful impact and effectiveness.

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