If you have been fortunate to work for a great manager, one who brings out the best in you, inspires you, helps you grow and makes you feel valued and respected, have you ever stopped to think about what it is about this person that makes them such an outstanding leader? Very few people usually refer to the person’s technical skills and are more likely to comment on their softer competencies like self-awareness, empathy, vision and ability to relate to you as an individual.
Right there is your answer to what differentiates an average performer from a high achiever: it is their ability to think, feel and act in a way that demonstrates an understanding of their own emotions and the emotions of others. The ‘E’ word in the workplace is often met with some disdain and perceived as just the ‘warm and fuzzy’ for which the HR or Marketing department is responsible. Not anymore.
“Sustained High Performance today is driven more by emotion than competence and the key to understanding this is Emotional Intelligence,” Anna-Lucia Mackay, Director of HCM Global, Executive coach, speaker and author, explained to a room full of eager minds at our 5th FlexConnect event. “Fortunately, unlike your IQ, your Emotional Intelligence (EI) can improve and expand with a deeper understanding of what it is, some introspection on what your emotional triggers are and how you can manage them for more positive outcomes”.
Emotional Intelligence definition: It is the capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships – Daniel Goleman, 1998.
Emotional Intelligence is the key ingredient for success in today’s business world.
Becoming more emotionally intelligent: 4 steps to get you started
Anna-Lucia delved into the a range of competencies emotionally intelligent people display and shared these steps to help you start your journey:
1. Become more self-aware. Think about the way in which you manage and conduct yourself and how you manage your interactions with others? To do this you must understand your hot and cold buttons so you can better manage your own emotions and anticipate those of others.
2. Learn to override your emotions. This means learning better self-management to prevent the knee-jerk responses in emotionally charged situations. ‘Self-management is a key trait of positive role models. Learning to control your emotions and respond in a controlled manner is not about suppressing your feelings but about building your capacity to cope and ability to stay on task. Being able to self-manage will have a significant impact on your business success because it is contagious, both good and bad. Find your outlet channels where you are supported and not judged.”, Mackay explained.
3. Be careful with expectations – outside of work. Having expectations can cause unnecessary frustration, misunderstanding and conflict – often leading to relationship breakdowns at home and with family members. Remember the only thing you have control over in your life – is yourself. When we pin our hopes on expectations of others we will often be disappointed.
4. Empathise. Believed to be a critical skill in business today, those who can connect, internalise and act will rise to the top with a cast of supporters alongside them. The biggest barrier to becoming a leader is judgement through lack of understanding.
“How we think and feel about ourselves will absolutely dictate your performance and future potential”, she explained. She asked the room one final question before closing an incredibly insightful session, and it’s one we should all think long and hard about:
Do you spend more time fuelling your success, or undermining it?
Lauren Hill has 15 years of marketing and communications experience across two continents and numerous industries. Now with 3 beautiful children, she is redefining success and the way I work as a career mum.
Specialties: Direct Marketing, Brand Management, Sponsorship Marketing, Communications, Digital Marketing, Strategic Planning, Campaign Management and Multi-channel Marketing