If you are like 99% of the Australian workforce – you deal with people.
Doesn’t matter if you interact with peers, staff, customers, or your boss – I find one of the best work tools you can have is a highly tuned EQ.
I define EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, as how we manage our behaviour, understand other peoples behaviours, and then adjust accordingly. The difference between strong and weak one is how well we do it!
My favourite work colleagues have always had strong EQ. The best leaders have it, and staff gravitate towards it. There is a saying that staff don’t leave companies, they leave managers – I bet 9/10 times it’s due to their EQ.
I have worked & consulted in marketing communications for 25 years – a social based industry where ego and insecurity rule supreme – and I find that having strong EQ is vital for culture, relationships, staff happiness, self happiness, trust, leadership, and overall business performance. In any industry where reputation is important (which is most), it is vital.
I am always honing mine, and there are three key tools in my EQ kit:
1. Self Awareness
Pretty self-explanatory. Through reflection, its about knowing my emotional strengths and weaknesses. Understanding my values, and the impact they have on others. I am always fine-tuning this, and it can come from feedback, staff reviews, or personal reflection. It helps to identify what you are good at, plus know (and accept) what you can improve at. A deep self awareness leads to greater confidence and the ability to improve in areas that are most important to you or your workplace. I also find that the area of mindfulness is a great practice for getting a greater sense of self!
2. Self Management
Keep your cool. Resist the urge to blurt out the first thing that comes into your head. The team at EYI talk about what goes on in your ‘reactive brain’. Self Management is all about regulating this. Sometimes, I find that I am better off saying nothing vs what my initial instincts might be. I find that listening is one of the most powerful tools in business. Many people like the sound of their own voice. Let them go. Listen. Aside from making them feel better for getting stuff off their chest, you may actually learn something too.
The other area of my self management is around letting go of things that you have no control over. We all get frustrated at work – from another person’s action, a company policy, or any decision that affects you that you played no part in. We can spend an awful lot of energy worrying about these things – but for what gain? I try to understand this, accept this, and work within (or around) these situations. Fighting against them only leads to frustration and wasted energy. Remember, it takes 10 x more energy to be negative than it does positive. Save your energy.
Simple. Pop yourself in the shoes of others. This is my go-to tool in business & in life. Almost every time I see a situation from the others perspective, and then act accordingly, it leads to a successful outcome. This is not about lips service – have you ever said ‘I hear what you are saying, but….’? It’s about actual behaviour change. The more we relate to others, the higher chance we have of understanding their motivations, what is important to them, and why they may be doing or saying something a certain way.
Remember, this is an evolution. I am always working on myself and I find when I get these 3 things balanced, a healthy EQ ensues and the benefits flow……
Media & Communications Consultant
Andrew Lamb Consulting