Biz Strategies: The importance of emotional intelligence

With another winter season underway and the pressure that staff shortages put on businesses in the Sea to Sky corridor, it’s timely to look at what makes a good leader.

We often think of leadership skills in terms of managing staff or the ability to execute strategic initiatives, but there is a little something called emotional intelligence (known as EQ) that can make all the difference in determining your long-term success.
Emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

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In broader terms, a leader with strong EQ can manage their own emotions but also has the ability to identify and manage the emotions of others. It is an inherent sense of what is happening behind surface-level communication and how the people involved actually feel about the situation.

Why does it matter? A leader that can steer their emotions and those of others creates a more positive and productive direction thereby impacting the success of organizations and the people involved.

A Psychology Today article recently supported this theory and claimed that “emotional intelligence includes three skills: emotional awareness, the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving and the ability to manage emotions.”

For those who possess the hallmarks of a high EQ, certain qualities and behaviours are consistently present. People with high EQ:

• Are curious about everyone around them, what they’re going through and possess a robust emotional vocabulary to succinctly describe those emotions. This means they can delve into details of how they are feeling, what caused it and what should be done about it.

• Embrace change because they are flexible and adaptable.

• Know their strengths and how to leverage them and recognize weaknesses and how to mitigate them.

• Are self-confident, open-minded and can draw an emotional line so as not to be easily offended when things come at them.

• Can clearly say no if required without apology.

• Let go of mistakes and instead of dwelling, use it as an opportunity to transform failures into opportunities for improvement.

• Are givers without expectation of anything in return.

• Don’t seek perfection because they realize it only ends with a sense of what wasn’t accomplished, rather than focusing on what has been achieved and what can be attained in the future.

• Focus on self-care as they believe building healthy habits, setting boundaries and disconnecting to recharge are key to bringing your best self forward.

• Neutralize negativity. Those with high EQ approach toxic people rationally and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel chaos. They don’t hold grudges because of the negative emotions that accompany them. They avoid negative self-talk because they know the more you focus on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. There is an innate understanding that most of our negative thoughts are just that — thoughts, not fact.

EQ can seem intangible, but is actually an important piece of balancing intelligence quotient (IQ). In fact, research points to EQ as being the critical factor that sets strong performers apart from the rest. It affects how we manage behaviour, maneuver through social complexities and make decisions to achieve positive results.

At Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, Cathy Goddard offers business and life coaching, workshops and is the founder of Lighthouse Mentor Network, a mentor program nominated for Small Business BC Awards for six consecutive years. Vote here: www.lighthousevisionary.com/vote.

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