Emotional intelligence is a term that is quite popular at the moment but what does it mean? It refers to your ability to manage your own emotions and the emotions of others around you. Your level of emotional intelligence will impact on many, if not all, aspects of your daily life. It affects the way you interact and respond to others around you, the types of relationships you have and ultimately the success you have in the workplace. The bottom line is – great leaders are emotionally intelligent.
Emotional intelligence & Your Health:
1. Your Physical and Mental Health
If you are emotionally intelligent enough to manage your stress levels then you reduce your chances of developing many serious health issues including heart disease, immune deficiencies and more. Understanding and managing your emotions also impacts your mental health. Managing stress reduces the likelihood of both anxiety and depression.
2. Your Personal and Professional Relationships
Emotional intelligence helps you understand your own feeling and the feeling of those around you therefore you respond to people in a more sensitive, appropriate way. This impacts not only your personal relationships but also relationships at work as you become better able to manage the socially complex nature of any workplace.
3. Emotional Intelligence & Leadership
So how is emotional intelligence related to leadership? The concept of Emotional Intelligence is not a new one. It became a well known, popular notion after Daniel Goleman published his internationally best-selling book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ in 1995. He argued that non-cognitive skills such as emotional intelligence can matter just as much as I.Q. when it comes to leadership and success in the workplace.
According to Goleman, the 5 main elements of emotional intelligence are:
Goleman found that leadership skills like intelligence, vision, commitment and determination are all needed for success, but they are not in themselves enough. To be a great leader he believed you also needed a lot of emotional intelligence.
This refers to your ability to recognise and understand your own emotions, strengths and weaknesses and the impact they have on others. People with a lot of self awareness are honest with themselves and others. They don’t have unrealistic expectations or react in extremes like highly critical or overly emotional commentary. It’s easy to recognise this quality during a job interview too. Candidates who are self aware will:
* Be honest in admitting to failure
* Are comfortable talking about their strengths and weaknesses
* Are self confident
* Know when to ask for help
* Take intelligent, calculated risks
This refers to ones ability to recognise and control impulsive feelings and behaviors, and how well you can think before you act. People who are in control of their feelings and impulses are remarkably reasonable with those around them and create an environment that is fair and trustworthy. They are also much better at adapting to change because they rarely panic and are not quick to judge. They put their judgement aside, seek information and listen to the opinion of others. The signs of emotional self-regulation that can be seen during a job interview are:
* Individuals who are reflective and thoughtful when giving their answers
* Comfortable with all aspects of change
* Operate with integrity
* Remain calm and level headed
This refers to the drive people have to achieve beyond their own and other peoples expectations. This does not include money or status as a driver for success. Those who have this skill strive to succeed for the sake of achievement and make much better leaders than those motivated primarily by money or status. To show you are highly motivated during a job interview you need to demonstrate that you:
* Have high standards for the quality of your work
* Show great passion for the work itself
* Talk about how you love challenges and learning new things
* Take pride in a job well done
* Constantly strive to do things better
* Challenge the status quo and explore new approaches
This skill refers to the ability to understand other peoples emotions and to then be able to treat them according to their emotional reactions. Empathy is critical for leaders if they want to manage a successful team or organization. Leaders with empathy can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective. They help develop the people on their team, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. Empathy is easy to demonstrate in a job interview and no, it does not mean you give the interviewer a huge hug. To show you have empathy you need to:
* Talk about you ability to see another persons perspective
* Mention that you observe body language in addition to what people say and do
* Highlight relationship wins in customer and client service situations
5. Social skills
This relates to how well you manage relationships and build networks by finding some common ground. It’s not just about being friendly, it involves motivation as well. Using social skills in a workplace situation means being friendly whilst you motivate others toward achieving your goal or vision. To show an interviewer your social skills you need to show you are:
* Very good at managing teams especially if conflict resolution is required
* Motivate others easily by displaying passion for the job overall and task at hand
* Work collaboratively and easily in project teams
* Have excellent networking skills
* Work exceptionally well in cross functional teams
No matter how smart you are or how technically skilled you are those factors alone are not enough to make you a great leader. You must also be emotionally intelligent. Fortunately emotional intelligence can be learned and constantly improved. Work on developing your emotional intelligence and make sure you show that you have these skills in any job interview especially if the role is a leadership position.
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