How Emotionally Intelligent are you?
I had lunch with my assistant before I left my corporate world. She is fabulous and the best I ever had, I love her. She smilingly asked me if I remember what I said to her when she told me a couple of months ago that she needed surgery. I honestly did not remember what I said to her. She helped me recall that the first thing I said was to request for the calendar. We looked at how many days she was going to take off, when that would be and how the work can be handled while she was gone. That was my first impulse, first thing I said!. Of course, I cared about her, but I was more focused on the task. To this day, I am so embarrassed about my behavior, I commit to be more sensitive to others in my relationships, but that time, I did not know how. In hindsight, I knew that at that moment, I lacked empathy and was totally unaware.
Dr. Relly Nadler and I had a wonderful time facilitating our workshop: Leading with Emotional Intelligence for the HR Professional at the San Francisco office of SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management). As a recovered task focused, hard charging HR refugee, I had fun teaching the concepts of Emotional Intelligence with our participants. Here are some take-aways from the workshop:
1. One aspect of Emotional Intelligence is about being aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment. When you are in the midst of a debate or argument, or under a tight deadline, what do you do? You may opt to continue to work just to get the task done. The emotionally intelligent person will know when to take a high quality break. Yes, the quality of the break matters. How can you best relieve your body and mind of stress that could drop your decision-making ability and IQ points? Take a brief walk around the block, journal your thoughts and feelings or talk to a trusted friend for at least 20 minutes, then go back to the task at hand. Sitting in the couch watching TV or reaching for that candy bar will not improve your EQ and will make you sluggish when you get back to work, dropping IQ points.
2. Honestly think about your relationship with your boss. A Hay study found out that 50% of life satisfaction comes from your relationship with your boss and 75% of employees say that dealing with their boss is the most stressful part of their day. If you do not have a good relationship with your boss or if you are in denial about how bad your relationship is with your boss, you may be losing IQ and EQ points that affect your work or may be getting sick without you knowing it. Find out what you can do to improve this relationship, if all else fails, find another job.
3. The good news about Emotional Intelligence is that it can be learned and improved, unlike IQ which is set. It is never too late to improve your relationships at work and at home. The first place to start is not to focus on other people’s short comings, but with yourself. Participants in the workshop took the Nadler EI self assessment and were paired with peer coaches to focus on at least two strengths to leverage and potential derailers. The participants created an action plan to develop their EQ.
Emotions are like the flu, they are contagious. Just watch your boss’ emotions and it travels like wildfire. Leaders underestimate the impact they have on people. It is not just their decision-making and analytical ability that impacts the team, it is also their emotions. As a leader, how much emotional self-control, self-awareness and relationship investment capital do you have with your co-workers and team members? How do you increase this to be at the top of your game?
Liza Sichon is an Executive Coach, Speaker and HR Consultant located in Silicon Valley. Visit her website at http://executivehrcoach.com