Have you ever been in a situation whereby even if you are a dedicated, technically proficient person, someone comes along and spoils your day? It may well be a lack of interpersonal skills, in particular, a lack of empathy by the other. This lack of empathy for the needs and desires of others, or EQ, has been linked to one of the main causes of poor performance in the workplace, even among otherwise highly gifted people.
I have been astounded by the number of times that I’ve seen poor interpersonal skills exhibited in the organization, and no matter what the vision or mission statements are up on the wall proclaiming, I am surprised that something like EQ which has been the subject of intense study since Daniel Goleman first published his landmark book in the early ’90’s, “Emotional Intelligence….why it can matter more than IQ” has not been taken more seriously by people working with other people.
Of course, since Goleman first wrote his book, there have been countless other internationally respected authors who have also published their findings to help people working in organizations to elicit excellence by producing positive behaviours and eradicating communication flaws that undermine an employee’s performance.
In a nutshell, there are 4 major quadrants or skills sets in EQ and they are Self-Awareness, Self- Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. The first two skills sets are more about you, while the latter two are more about you with other people. Here is a brief description of each:
1. Self Awareness
In self awareness, it’s your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and to understand your tendencies across different situations. A high degree of self-awareness requires you to be willing to tolerate the discomfort of focusing directly on feelings that may be negative.
To improve your self-awareness, spend time thinking through them to figure out where your emotions are coming from and why you feel them. Lean into your emotions. Emotions can be categorized into 5 major classes: love, joy, fear, anger, grief. So next time you feel say anger, lean into it and find out why you’re feeling so. Deal with it, and realize that anger is not intrinsically good or bad, it just is so. Find out what you’d need to do to about it and how to control your anger before you let anger control you.
Are you able to have self-control? What about other factors including having initiative, adaptability, a high achievement drive, conscientiousness to complete what you are supposed to do, trustworthiness? Once you can manage yourself with discipline and focus, then you are in a much better position to achieve what you want in life.
3. Social Awareness
This is about being empathic when dealing with others. It is the ability to feel others’ difficulties, to be able to put yourself into the other’s shoe so that the other person understands that you’re feeling what he or she is going through. Most people want appreciation and understanding, and when you can begin to show that you care by empathizing with others, you will gain their respect. It is also about taking on a service orientation, serving others to ensure their total satisfaction is gained with their purchase of your product or service.
4. Relationship management
In people with high EQ they tend to be able to build strong bonds with others through effective networking. They have the capabilities to develop others, to have influence, to be change agents, be great communicators, manage conflict and exhibit great leadership in their daily actions.
Emotions are a human asset. When you develop your EQ to higher levels, your interpersonal skills will bring you very much closer to the top. Yes, your technical skills are very important. They are a given. People expect you to know your job anyway. But when you couple your highly honed technical skills together with a high EQ, then you will surely succeed in today’s workplace, and EQ will be the major differentiator.