Why You Should Care About Emotional Intelligence, Part 1

One of the ways my company is improving inclusion and diversity at our 3,000-employee company is to invest in our leaders' emotional intelligence. This is a term created by two researchers—Peter Salavoy and John Mayer—and popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to do following:

  • Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions
  • Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today will explain the role of emotional intelligence from business writer and Inc.com contributor, Scott Mautz, and how, by building this skill, you can become a more effective and respected leader.

There are plenty of ways to lead from the heart and showcase your emotional intelligence, says Mautz. There are also just as many excuses for not engaging in such practices.

He refers to a study from Cambridge University. It was the largest study ever conducted to determine whether one's ability to show empathy and compassion is dependent upon genetics. The study proved that the ability to do so is only 10 percent genetic. In other words, 90 percent of the time, empathy is a learned trait.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) doesn't mean that you have to agree with the other person, it simply means striving to understand the other person's point of view rather than immediately labeling or dismissing that person.

Below are three ways, according to Mautz, to show empathy and strengthen your EQ.

1. Situational empathy. This means continually seeing situations through eyes other than your own and avoiding knee-jerk reactions. For example, rather than getting frustrated with an employee who blew a presentation, seek to understand why. Instead of assuming the worst about an employee who is chronically late, understand the core reason behind the tardiness. The more you practice situational empathy, the more it becomes a default approach for almost any situation.

2. Empathy for the impact of your decisions. Leaders, especially entrepreneurs, have to make decisions in rapid-fire fashion, sometimes in a silo. Have awareness of how your decisions affect "the rest of the assembly line," especially those most directly affected by the decision and communicate that you understand the impact.

3. Empathy for the employee plight. Employees want to learn and grow, do meaningful work, be valued and respected and have career opportunities. If you want to earn the trust and love of your team, care about all of this. And show it. Practice the mantra that the company exists first to serve its employees, not the other way around.

PCT returns tomorrow with four more ways to practice empathy and build your leadership EQ muscle.

Source: Scott Mautz is author of Find The Fire: Ignite Your Inspiration and Make Work Exciting Again. He's also an award-winning keynote speaker and a seasoned Procter & Gamble veteran who successfully ran several of the company's largest multibillion-dollar businesses. He's the CEO of Profound Performance, an online entrepreneur, and an adjunct professor at Indiana University. Mautz writes and speaks passionately on how to work, lead and live fulfilled.

filed under October 2018
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