The definition of success is certainly both individual and contextual, but one thing is certain – polished skill in emotional intelligence (EQ) can function as a key enabler of it.
Travis Bradbury, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 found in his research that “90% of top performers are also high in emotional intelligence. On the flip side, just 20% of bottom performers are.”
We used to think that our IQ scores were key contributors to success, and up to a score of about 115 they probably are. Past that point, author Daniel Goleman suggests, it can be our EQ that gives us a competitive edge over a Mensa genius.
Surprisingly though, with all the hype and positive attention EQ has received over the years we’re apparently not getting much better at it.
In April 2016, Josh Freedman, co-author of the ‘State of the Heart’ study and chief executive of Six Seconds, observed, “The bad news is emotional intelligence continues to decline globally. I hypothesise this is due to growing stress and chaos in the world – maybe that’s also why the analysis found that emotional intelligence is essential for top performance.”
To bring clarity to the term, EQ is a skill set that helps us to generate graceful, and productive, relationship dynamics especially in times of duress. It is the ability to recognise, understand and, most importantly, manage our emotions, when our defensive ego is ready to set landmines and burn bridges.
Can EQ be developed?
Absolutely. And many organisations mandate training in EQ, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. Behavioural change of this kind requires commitment and perseverance but definitely pays dividends. Enhancing your EQ will be a sound career strategy.
Here are 5 reasons to sign up for the course, read the book, or hire a coach well versed in EQ:
Having a heightened capacity to recognise our emotions as they arise, as well as having sensitivity to those of others, empowers us with the opportunity, in the moment, to manage them mindfully, not reactively.
When we work to identify, acknowledge, and accept our personal conflict triggers and are practised at managing them immediately, we are able to bypass the predictable inefficiencies of knee-jerk reactions that inflame.
If we have a deepened sense of self-awareness, empathy and emotional agility, we are better able to take responsibility for our defensive emotions, avoiding fateful finger-pointing and blame. This generates positive interaction dynamics, the very framework supporting successful business outcomes and one of the hallmarks of great leadership.
With the ever-present pressures of a fluctuating economy, globalisation and technological advance, it is more important than ever to develop a mindset that is open, accepting, and adaptive to change at every turn.
By managing emotions and remaining objective during meetings that have the potential to be volatile and unproductive, we have the ability to tether interactions to attention on outcomes and end results.
By working to enhance their emotional intelligence, and with a long-term view of purpose, willpower, resolve and persistence, leaders can generate satisfying levels of both personal and professional success.