Prof Dr. Leonard Mlodinow , an American theoretical physicist and mathematician, screenwriter and author. He is famous for his work on the quantum theory of light inside dielectrics. In his latest book “Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking”; he wrote The secret to living a happy and successful life is to manage our emotions before they control us. In his opinion, emotions are just as critical as logic in our decision making. Emotions helped our species survive and thrive. Even ‘negative’ emotions like anxiety or anger are beneficial in moderation. Indeed, entrepreneurs look for better ways of doing something because they’re upset, angry, or frustrated at the status quo. However, like everything, too much of a good thing can be damaging. Letting our emotions spin out of control often leads to poor decisions.
According to Prof. Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, there are three approaches that are effective at “emotion regulation.”
The secret to living a happy and successful life is to manage our emotions before they control us. Stoic philosophy is about working on those things we can control and not wasting mental energy on those things we can’t.
Building the skill of “reappraising” events often leads to success in the workplace,” says Dr. Mlodinow. Our brain goes through a complicated process to interpret everything that happens to us. Psychologists call it “appraisal.” It means that our brain makes sense of what just happened and, as a result, develops an emotion around it. When it comes to public speaking, reappraising the event can give you a boost of confidence. Many people are stricken with anxiety before giving a presentation because they’ve created an internal narrative about the event that often isn’t based on objective fact.
Dr. Mldoinow says that even if your negative thoughts don’t go away completely, reappraising the situation will fill you with positive emotions that help you perform your best.
Regulating our emotions isn’t easy. It takes practice. But if you take these three steps, we will be more likely to control our emotions before they get the best of us. Dr. Mlodinow says that many studies over the past decade have shown that “expressing unwanted negative emotion does help defuse it.” Expression means that the act of talking about or writing down your emotion about an event changes the way you feel about it. Let’s say you’re angry over something that happened at work. Studies have shown that simply expressing your feelings in an email, saving it in ‘drafts,’ and never sending the email will often alleviate the debilitating feeling of anger. Once your feelings have subsided, you’ll be in a better position to handle the situation more appropriately.
In 1990, Dr. Peter Salovey and Dr. John D. Mayer first explored and defined Emotional Intelligence (EI). They explained EI as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions,” and presented an empirical model demonstration of how EI could be tested as a mental ability. Since that time, the term has captured the interest of the media and the general public, as well as researchers and professionals.
Emotional intelligence in leadership is comprised of empathy, social skills, self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation. With the rise of AI in HR, it’s become more important than ever for leaders to display emotional intelligence (EQ). In the context of business and HR, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage your emotions, as well as the emotions of other people in the workplace.
Difference Between IQ and EQ (or EI)
Before elucidating the difference between IQ and EQ, let us first understand, what these terms actually mean. EQ or say Emotional Quotient refers to a person’s ability to understand his/her emotion along with the other person’s emotions, whereas IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient indicates a person’s intelligence level.
Many people hold that IQ is more important for a person to achieve success in life while researchers hold that people with high EQ are more successful in their careers. So, it is one of the hot topics for debates, that which is better than the other.
While IQ is a number that indicates a person reasoning or logical ability in comparison to the statistical norm. Conversely, EQ implies the level of person’s emotional intelligence.
The major differences between IQ and EQ are explained in detail in the following points:
- An individual’s level of emotional intelligence, which is represented by scores obtained in the standardized test, is called Emotional Quotient or EQ. Intelligence Quotient or IQ is a number obtained from standardized intelligence test, which represents an individual’s ability of logical reasoning.
- A person’s success in school depends on his IQ level, whereas a person’s EQ level reflects his success in real life.
- EQ measures an individual’s social and emotional competencies or one’s ability to recognize one’s own and other person’s emotional expression. Conversely, IQ measures a person’s academic competency and reasoning ability.
- Emotional Quotient is acquired and improved. As opposed to intelligence quotient is an ability you are born with.
- A person with good EQ can recognize, control and express one’s own emotion’s, perceive and assess other’s emotions. On the contrary, a person with a high IQ can learn, understand and implement knowledge, and possesses logical reasoning and abstract thinking.
- High emotional intelligence can be seen in leaders, captains, managers and people with social challenges. Unlike, Intelligence quotient identifies people with high intellect, common sense, mental challenges, etc.
Importance of EI for leaders and managers
Someone needs to hold it together when the workplace erupts, or when negative emotions simmer just below the surface, creating a toxic working environment. A leader with high Emotional Intelligence can also help to foster a workplace culture that doesn’t become toxic in the first place. As Dr. Chris Underwood’s feature on “the vital role of emotional intelligence” points out, leaders with high EQ can celebrate team balance and diversity, motivate and influence people as well as make decisions using critical thinking and positively influence strategy.
Top 5 characteristics of EI in leaders?
According to Dr. Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who popularized the term ’emotional intelligence’, EQ consists of:
- Social skills
As a self-aware leader you know how you feel. You recognize how your emotions affect those around you. Your self-awareness isn’t just restricted to emotions, either. You acknowledge your ego and are aware of both your strengths and weaknesses. You aim to ensure your ego and personal traits work for the benefit of the workforce and organization.
Picture yourself as your own boss – firm, but fair. You stay in control of your emotions. You don’t lash out, and you don’t compromise your workplace ethics. You hold yourself accountable to your actions.
When you are calm, other people around you are reassured and motivated to take positive action.When you hold yourself accountable and act accordingly, you are upholding organizational ethics and leading by example.
Motivation partly stems from understanding WHAT you want to do and WHY you want to do it. Getting to grips with the ‘why’ part often requires a degree of self-reflection, which is where high Emotional Intelligence comes in.
As a leader with empathy, you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This ability will help you develop people on your team, challenge stereotypes and unfair assumptions, deliver critical feedback wisely and be a good listener when your team need someone responsive in charge to help them navigate difficult situations. An empathetic leader builds a positive work atmosphere upheld by team loyalty and mutual respect.
5. Soft skills
A leader should be a ‘people person’ or having great social skills. Social skills are about the art of making an emotional connection with communication. Leaders with good social skills are able to deliver bad news and celebrate good news in a way that makes people feel boundless actionable opportunities for improvement exist. Leaders with high communication skills are also talented at resolving conflicts and managing change in a diplomatic fashion that is in keeping with the sensitive nature of the situation.
When people’s lives will be affected by a decision, leaders with high Emotional Intelligence will demonstrate they respect the needs, fears and hopes of the people involved.
EI in Leadership
Emotional intelligence is defined as a critical group of non-cognitive skills, capabilities and competencies which help individuals to control and manage their emotional response to events and pressures.
A Higher Emotional Intelligence Quotient Is Linked to Greater Employee Engagement. When organizations go through challenging times like the recent pandemic, employers depend upon employees to help the organization come through strong and equipped for the future. If employees are committed and engaged, they’re more productive, which positively impacts organizational profitability. The reverse is also true. On the other hand, our researchers have found that empathy in the workplace (a factor closely correlated with emotional intelligence) is positively related to job performance. Managers who show more empathy toward direct reports are viewed by their bosses as better performers in their jobs. So, increasing our emotional intelligence quotient will directly increase our effectiveness as a leader.
How to Increase Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Effectiveness?
4 Tips for Leading with Emotional Intelligence
To be more empathetic, and to drive higher engagement in the workplace, you will want to increase your emotional intelligence quotient. Taking the following actions will help you build your emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness.
1. Listen closely and withhold judgment
It all starts with having strong active listening skills, and striving to try to see the world as others see it. Really listen to, and consider, their perspective, keeping your attitude as open as possible to create a safe space for sharing and a sense of psychological safety at work. Work to understand the other person’s feelings and reflect them back to the person. As you listen, pay close attention to the values and emotions behind the facts themselves. Communicate your understanding of that person’s feelings to assure people that their feelings and values are really understood.
2. Connect with employees on a personal level.
When you demonstrate a willingness to help your employees and to recognize their efforts, you are leading with emotional intelligence, showing that you care about them as individuals. This act of caring builds trust between leaders and their employees. Empathy has long been a soft skill that’s overlooked as a performance indicator. Our research, however, has shown that today’s successful leaders are showing kindness in the workplace and are more “person-focused,” making them better able to work well with people from varying teams, departments, countries, cultures, and backgrounds.
3. Unlock motivations.
As important as compensation and benefits are, we know they are not the only things that matter when it comes to keeping employees productive and engaged. These benefits are a part of a larger motivation equation.
Most of the time, understanding what motivates your employees is as easy as asking them — and really listening to their responses. Once you understand your employees’ motives, you can boost employee engagement and motivation, increase job satisfaction, and improve retention.
4. Seek to understand more about others and yourself.
Leading with emotional intelligence requires managers to harness the power of their employees’ diverse experiences and consider people’s different lived experiences to help their teams achieve their full potential. Your ability to understand where your employees are coming from — including their social identity and how their experiences may have informed their perspectives — demonstrates a willingness to see the world as others see it, without standing in judgment. Even if you have high emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness, it’s not easy to get to know every employee below the surface. It’s challenging to see the world as others see it and to accept a variety of perspectives in a nonjudgmental way.
Building those skills requires understanding how aspects of identity can affect the way you lead, and a willingness to learn and recognize your own emotional triggers and weaknesses. Leader effectiveness is constrained or amplified based on how well leaders understand themselves, their awareness of how others view them, and how they navigate the resulting interactions.
One other reason that leading with emotional intelligence is so important: when an entire organization is full of people leading with emotional intelligence front and center, it can create a stronger culture.
Conversations, even hard ones, are more honest, productive, and respectful. Everyone feels a strong sense of belonging and ownership. Empathy and inclusion are particularly imperative for organizational diversity initiatives to be successful.
The author, Mr. Nazir Ahmed Shaikh is freelance writer, columnist, blogger and motivational speaker. He write articles on diversified topics. Mr. Shaikh could be contacted at nazir_shaikh86@hotmailcom.