Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the way you manage and behave with yourself and then how you manage and behave with others. Emotional intelligence is an essential leadership skill and is used extensively in hostile situations, negotiations and difficult conversations. Those leaders with great EQ do well and those with poor EQ do less well. Daniel Goleman describes the five elements of EQ as:
- adeptness in relationships
SELF-AWARENESS is the big one and in my view the foundation of emotional intelligence. Self-Awareness can be internal or external. You can be aware of what is happening to you when situations turn tough. Or other people can provide you feedback on what they observe in you, when the situation turns tough. Here are some ways to develop your self-awareness as a leader and ultimately better handle those difficult conversations.
- Be curious on why you behave and respond to certain people and situations
- Be curious to understand the behaviour of others
- Be proactive and try to predict and prepare for potentially difficult situations
- Be curious to understand your triggers so that you can reduce the risk of reacting
- Accept that there is a link between their feelings and what they think, do, and say and how this affects their behaviour and performance
- Knowing that past behaviour is still the best predictor of future behaviour
- Being aware of our blind spots and asking for feedback
Emotional Intelligence and self-awareness are important skills to have as a leader. Self-awareness is one skill that you can develop and enhance through simple steps of being curious, asking for feedback, being self-reflective and being willing to learn and change.