EQ: Why leaders are looking for ’emotional intelligence’

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Work­ers are trained to trum­pet tech­ni­cal skills and per­son­al achieve­ments on their resumés, and talk them up in job inter­views. How­ev­er, to suc­ceed at work, either per­son­al­ly or as part of a team, an entire­ly dif­fer­ent skill set is com­ing to the fore. 

Lead­ers are increas­ing­ly look­ing for ‘emo­tion­al ’, also known as ‘EQ’. range of com­pe­ten­cies encom­pass­es our abil­i­ty to under­stand and man­age our own and oth­ers’ feel­ings, then use this knowl­edge to build pos­i­tive, pro­duc­tive con­nec­tions. 

“Fun­da­men­tal­ly, work is about the qual­i­ty of our ,” says UK- Amy Bradley, an adjunct pro­fes­sor of man­age­ment and lead­er­ship at Hult School in Mass­a­chu­setts, and author of The Human Moment. “Work gets done through , and if you’re unable to work with your own and oth­er’s emo­tions, it becomes very dif­fi­cult to get things done pro­duc­tive­ly and sus­tain­ably.” 

“How you deal with con­flict and set­backs, how you encour­age peo­ple when they’re down, your abil­i­ty to nego­ti­ate or get things done ­– all of those things touch on emo­tion­al intel­li­gence,” adds Mark Crae­mer, a US-based organ­i­sa­tion-devel­op­ment con­sul­tant, lead­er­ship coach and author of Emo­tion­al Intel­li­gence in the Work­place. “It’s your EQ that enables you to be effec­tive in your role, get pro­mot­ed and do well in the work­place.” 

In gen­er­al, in an emo­tion­al­ly intel­li­gent way may mean tak­ing a dif­fer­ent approach – instead of putting your head down and pri­ori­tis­ing to-do lists or pro­duc­tiv­i­ty goals, it means putting human rela­tion­ships and our own and oth­ers’ feel­ings first. It may be a chal­leng­ing mind­set tran­si­tion, yet the ben­e­fits can be pro­found, increas­ing morale, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, well­be­ing and per­son­al influ­ence – all traits employ­ers are demand­ing now, more than ever. 

What is emo­tion­al intel­li­gence? 

Tra­di­tion­al­ly work­ers have been expect­ed to keep a lid on their feel­ings in the work­place, even though this might not be a ful­ly real­is­tic expec­ta­tion. 

“We are all emo­tion­al beings by virtue of being human, and we can’t sep­a­rate from that at work,” says Crae­mer. From frus­tra­tion and dis­com­fort, to ful­fil­ment and joy, our work tasks, col­leagues and even life out­side work can be the cat­a­lysts for a range of feel­ings dur­ing work­ing .

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