Yesterday’s issue of Promotional Consultant Today discussed the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ)—the awareness of feelings in others. It might sound simple, or soft, but this can be a very important tool in the workplace. How you react to others tells a lot about yourself as a leader or manager. Today, PCT shares these four ways to manage your EQ.
Recognize your own emotions. Awareness usually requires practice. You’re in a meeting, and Bob says something that you know is absolutely wrong. “How could anyone be that stupid?” you think. Your first instinct is to call him out and show him his errors. But you’ve been down that road before and know it will only embarrass Bob and ultimately make you look small. Besides, you may not even know all the facts that are behind his opinion.
Fortunately, you recognize that you’re angry and you’ve learned to coach yourself to hold back on your response. You slow it down and engage your cognitive quarterback to come up with a plan B.
Manage your emotions. Your goal is to respond with honor and respect because that’s one of your personal values. One that might work is to say something such as, “Bob, I had not thought of it like that before. Can you explain the logic of how that would work?” Of course, tone of voice and body language are very important to pulling this off because they are two of your strongest communicators of emotions. Once Bob gives his explanation, more than likely you will see that he’s just operating with a different perspective. You’ve managed your emotions and maintained your decorum–signs of a good EQ.
Recognize the emotions of others. On the way back from the conference room, you run into Jane, one of your peers, who seems overwhelmed. You’re depending on her to deliver the data that you need for the next step of your project and the deadline is tomorrow. Your immediate fear is that it’s not going to happen. Now that you’ve been working to raise your EQ, you mentally push back on your fear and consider what your teammate is up against and how her confidence and energy are sagging. It doesn’t take an EQ genius to realize that putting a guilt trip on her is probably not a good idea, but what can you do?
Respond appropriately/effectively to the emotions of others. You focus on encouraging Jane by showing her some encouragement, telling her that you understand things are difficult right now and asking if there are ways that you and your team can help. You also offer to listen to her challenges and brainstorm with her on solutions. You close out by reminding her that she is a great teammate and that you have confidence in her judgment.
In the simplest terms, EQ is about reading the situation and then acting in the most effective manner. It does get easier with practice, and it makes you the kind of leader that others want to follow.
Source: Lee Ellis is a speaker and the author of Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons From The Hanoi Hilton, in which he shares his experiences as a Vietnam POW and highlights leadership lessons learned in the camps. As president of Leadership Freedom, a leadership and team development consulting and coaching company, he consults with Fortune 500 senior executives in the areas of hiring, teambuilding, executive development and succession planning.