July 17, 2013

Why Emotional Intelligence is Important

Last week we discussed how seeking accountability in our lives and leadership advances our Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence sounds like a personality attribute, like how charismatic or outgoing we are. In actuality, it’s a skill, a highly effective skill of learning how to manage our own emotions and understand the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence is what we are doing when we better understand ourselves: what triggers negative feelings, how we come across to people and how to read others. Being more Emotionally Intelligent means:

  • You want to handle conflict on the job, appropriately and effectively.
  • You want to communicate the right message, at the right time, to the right person.
  • You want to be responsible and aware of your nonverbal cues.
  • You seek to grow the important relationships in your life.
  • You understand that your Emotional Intelligence is directly related to your professional success.

Did you know that the brain processes emotional feeling before rational thought? This is bound to get us into trouble as leaders if we are not adequately prepared to handle conflict with a high level of Emotional Intelligence. If Emotional Intelligence is low, we resort to knee-jerk reactions and embarrass ourselves as well as raise the level of conflict. 

There are four key skills of Emotional Intelligence I try to guide every leader through. These are also outlined in the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Bradberry and Greaves:

Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Self-Management, and Relationship Management.

When a conflict emerges our brains are working overtime. We are constantly sorting, analyzing and strategizing how to resolve the issue. A great approach to help maintain high Emotional Intelligence is to pause a conflict and set a time to discuss it in a few days. Then you can gain council from someone who is not emotionally involved in your conflict. They will provide some valuable outside insight to defuse your emotions and move you toward a more logical, wise solution.

Your homework for Emotional Intelligence this week is to identify a few people who can be “on call” in your life for advice and support. I personally have a handful of precious people who act as mentors and help me to arrest my emotions and determine a right response to maintain a high level of Emotional Intelligence. Give it a shot, this really works!  

To your excellence and Emotional Intelligence,

Greg Salciccioli