Emotional Intelligence: An Example
Emotional intelligence is the best predictor of long-term success in life. Research has shown that emotional intelligence is the key factor in the ability of individuals to get along well in relationships. Generations will see this play out in the span of their lives: emotional intelligence is valued even more than intellectual intelligence and technical skills.
Many leaders tend to be competitive, hard-driving people. They have high IQs, but sometimes their emotional intelligence lags far behind.
Recently, we sat down with Taylor, a Division One college softball player who was also completing her bachelor’s degree in Accounting at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Taylor shared stories about her experience as a student athlete.
College athletes come from diverse backgrounds each responding differently to various coaching styles. As you can imagine, each teammate was a top tier college athlete, each being extremely successful in their high school athletic careers. They not only need to learn to manage themselves in the college environment but also to form relationships with team members.
As an upperclassman on the softball team, Taylor encountered a Freshman player who struggled finding her comfort zone and where she fit in on this prestigious team. Being an empathetic leader, Taylor noticed the signs of this player’s struggle. Taylor’s first goal was to build a rapport with this player. She went out of her way to talk to her in a kind and welcoming manner. The player responded positively to Taylor’s efforts, and as a result started to develop comradery with others on the team. As she felt more comfortable with other players, she began to take more risks to show them her athletic ability. Because of Taylor’s focus on inclusivity, this player is one of the more successful players on the team.
Taylor was more comfortable with the leadership style described above: compassionate and patient. Halfway through her collegiate softball career, Taylor was designated as the captain of the team. Once Taylor assumed the role of captain, her coach expected a much more strict leadership style from her.. At first, Taylor didn’t believe that certain leadership style (being strict, yelling, etc.) at her teammates was the best way to reach the team’s goals and develop team success. To combat this dilemma, Taylor took her natural leadership tendencies and combined them with what the coach wanted. She kept her teammates accountable and took a no-nonsense attitude about certain things, but also made sure to take a personal interest to help facilitate team chemistry and confidence. Consequently, she realized she could continue to maintain her previous leadership attributes while pleasing her coach. She maintained her kind-hearted mannerisms while making sure everyone was on top of their role as an athlete and teammate.
From Taylor’s experiences, we learned that being an emotionally intelligent leader is being an adaptive leader. Her past struggles show us that you must get to know the needs of those you lead while also being aware of the expectations of your superiors.
Key Questions to Ask Yourself on Emotional Intelligence
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your level of emotional intelligence. For each set of questions, there are a few options to increase your competence.
How well do I know myself?
- What are my strengths?
- What are my core values?
- What is my purpose?
- What are my passions and interests?
- What are my blind spots?
- What are the keys to my personality?
To enhance self-awareness
- Practice some form of self-reflection: meditate or pray, write about your feelings, talk to others about your feelings and listen, really listen to their feedback.
- Set goals – know what you want and where you want to go.
How well do I understand others?
- Do I know how others feel?
- Can I feel how others feel?
- How well do I seek to understand others?
- How well do I read individual differences?
- How sensitive am I to the feelings of others?
- How well do I understand myself in relation to others?
To enhance empathy
- Practice active listening: not debating, not defending, and not counter-attacking.
- Seek first to understand rather than to be understood.
How well do I manage my emotions and my actions?
- How well do I handle stress?
- How well do I manage anger?
- Do I know what I “say to myself” about difficult situations?
- Can I talk myself down from getting upset?
- Can I manage my moods?
- Do I know how to get myself out of a bad mood?
- How well do I manage my time?
- How well do I take care of myself (mind and body)?
To enhance self-management
- Be aware of emotional flooding: the moment your emotions trump your ability to think.
- Be aware of faulty thinking. Bad ideas can lead to bad actions. Example bad ideas include: I must be right all the time. I must never admit vulnerability. I must be loved and approved of by everybody, all the time.
- Avoid counter-attacking.
- Practice delaying gratification.
How well do I display empathy toward others?
- How well are you able to express your feelings?
- How positive are you with others?
- How well do you exercise good self-restraint when dealing with difficult situations?
- Personal and professional elevator pitch: How do I introduce myself to people I meet?
- How are you at asking good questions of others?
- How well do you actively listen to the answers?
- How are you at sustaining long-term relationships (family, social, personal)?
- How would you rate your ability to influence others?
- How would you rate your ability to lead others?
To manage relationships
- Know it’s not always about you.
- Realize we are all on key personality spectra and may need different amounts of time or rationale for decisions.
What to do to improve emotional intelligence:
- Keep a mood log. Several times a day, write down how you are feeling. Look back at the end of the week and assess how tuned in you were to your own emotions. Look for patterns.
- Avoid shaming others. It can be highly destructive. You may be aware that shaming is destructive to others; you must be aware that shaming is destructive to your reputation.
- At school or at home, make a point of empathizing with others. Put yourself in that person’s shoes. Think about what it would feel like to be that person.
- If you’re having a dispute, look at it from the other person’s viewpoint. Try writing out a narrative of the disagreement from the other person’s standpoint.
Summary Assignment for Emotional Intelligence
|Watch my video on emotional intelligence on my website Robpasick.com under Self Awareness books links.|
|Take the online assessment “Do You Lead with Emotional Intelligence” at Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2015/06/quiz-yourself-do-you-lead-with-emotional-intelligence
Do the results surprise you?
Follow their instructions to get feedback from others. Did their feedback surprise you?
|Reflect and write up what you learned in your Personal Development Plan (template in appendices). I suggest four paragraphs: one on each aspect of emotional intelligence. You might start with this prompt to start each paragraph: I rate myself _______ on _______…|