No one can make it in this competitive world without strong technical abilities, industry acumen and great critical thinking skills – the IQ part of the equation. The real differentiator, though, is strong EQ, particularly when faced with high levels of complexity. Emotional Intelligence can be described as possessing strong self-awareness of your own emotions, being able to manage those emotions in difficult times, and choosing how we respond rather than responding out of our emotional patterns which are set early in life. As well, EQ is about our awareness of other’s emotions with the ability to stay in a productive relationship even during difficult times. The good news is that EQ can be cultivated, with the goal of staying in choice with our actions at all times.
In terms of the impact of EQ on leadership, Daniel Goleman, who coined the EQ phrase, conducted research with a wide variety of people about what makes a good or bad boss. Here’s what his research revealed:
|Good Boss||Bad Boss|
|Great Listener||Blank Wall|
|Sense of Humor||Bad Temper|
These are all characteristics of emotional intelligence or the lack thereof – and all are in our control to change. One challenge of leaders is a gap between their own and others’ perceptions of them because they don’t get the “real news” from those around them. Thus it is incumbent that you ask and gain honest feedback about your impact on others. And that you exercise discipline in power, never taking advantage of the authority that you have. This is the real rigor of leadership, to manage carefully the impact you have on others so that not only are you building your own emotional resilience but also building organizational resilience.