Three Ways To Drive Emotional Intelligence At Your Organization – Forbes

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 8:48 am


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The concept of emotional intelligence, also called emotional quotient (EQ), took the business world by storm when it was popularized in the 1990s, and its showed no signs of leaving the limelight anytime soon with employee experience now on the lips of every HR manager looking for an edge in an increasingly tight talent market.

And that should come as no surprise. When we think about the most inspirational, successful leaders weve worked with, they clearly have EQ. They have a natural ability to read teammates' emotions, understand what motivates and hinders them, and use all of that to drive results.

Unfortunately, though, EQ and IQ do not always go hand in hand. Many individuals develop intelligence related to the nuts and bolts of their jobs and rise the ranks to management, but their EQ gets left undeveloped.

Thats concerning, considering that managing people is a leaders biggest responsibility. The connections between leaders EQ and a companys employee retention rate, productivity and ability to achieve goals are astounding. On the flip side, leaders with poor EQ have a resoundingly negative impact on culture, burnout and turnover.

This is why I believe that while incredibly challenging, nurturing EQ and emotional intelligence should be a priority for every leader, and especially HR leaders.

First, understand what EQ looks like.

The first step in driving emotional intelligence at your organization is for you and your managers to understand the attributes of EQ. Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman offers one of the most comprehensive frameworks for definition, breaking down EQ into four areas of personal ability, each with its own set of competencies:

Self-awareness includes the recognition of ones own emotions, strengths and limits as well as their impact on others.

Self-management is made up of emotional balance, impulse regulation, adaptability, positive outlook and achievement orientation.

Social awareness is the ability to empathize and read a groups emotional state.

Relationship management is influence, inspirational leadership, conflict management, teamwork and the ability to coach and mentor.

EQ is the sum of all these parts. It is a lot to unpack, teach and work on, but not all of it needs to be tackled at once. People have strengths and weaknesses within EQ, so the next step is to identify which competencies to prioritize.

The best tool isnt training its 360-degree feedback.

There are countless personality tests and EQ self-assessments out there, and HR should use these tools to help leaders gain a baseline understanding of their own EQ. However, I believe the best tool for developing emotional intelligence is 360-degree feedback.

Feedback from subordinates, peers and managers should be collected on each manager or leader a minimum of once per year during an annual review. Ideally, it would happen more frequently, with both a written element and a follow-up interview to dig deeper. This 360-degree feedback helps get to the heart of whats really great or lacking in a leader and is a powerful way to help leaders identify their gaps.

The strength of this method is in the show, dont tell approach. Firsthand accounts from real people and valued teammates are much more likely to hit home than, say, responses to an automated quiz. Theyre often transparent, unvarnished and balanced assessments of someones leadership abilities. And while they sometimes can be jarring, they often provide the tough love that some managers may need to truly understand the gravity of poor EQ and the importance of improving it.

With EQ, practice and accountability make perfect.

Once youve helped make a leader aware of where their EQ gaps are and develop a willingness to correct them, you can work with them on becoming more empathetic and emotionally aware.

First, help managers and leaders identify what types of scenarios are prime for them to practice and hone EQ. Perhaps it's the review of a direct reports work they didnt find up to snuff or a team meeting to push for results before the close of a quarter.

Helping leaders identify these opportunities where they should be taking a step back to come up with a game plan before engaging with subordinates will inevitably drive growth. HR can help leaders role-play these scenarios either ahead of time or after the fact, recounting EQ competencies that were or were not used or pair them with a mentor to do so.

HR should also encourage leaders working on EQ to be transparent with their team and involve them in the process and this may be one of the hardest parts. Leaders with low EQ are often defensive or even embarrassed about it. Helping them find the self-confidence to address it with their teams in a productive way is critical. Direct and to the point is the best approach here, and it can be something as simple as a quick message to the team, saying, I have a lower than average score in this EQ area and am actively working to improve it. I know it will help our team, so please help by holding me accountable.

To change the way someone understands, manages and reacts to their own and others emotions is a large undertaking, but it is achievable. It is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs for a human resources professional, and one to which all HR leaders should hold themselves accountable.

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Three Ways To Drive Emotional Intelligence At Your Organization - Forbes

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October 20th, 2019 at 8:48 am

Posted in Self-Awareness