Do you consider yourself a great team leader? How do you cope under pressure? Do you take the office home with you or are you able to leave it behind at 5:30 pm? If you have difficulty switching off, beat yourself up over bad decisions and find yourself taking things out on your family and friends you need to learn to be ‘heart smart’ as well as ‘work smart’. This means balancing your EQ with your IQ for a healthy work and personal life. When both are balanced, your positivity will soar and lots of great opportunities will come your way.
So what is EQ? This is the term used to describe emotional intelligence. It should be considered as important as your IQ. When you address your EQ, you are looking for any weak areas in your personality that stunt your progress. This could be detected through failed business relationships, goals which have never been reached or a company which should be generating the ‘big buck’s rather than a menial existence. Most of these emotional issues can be worked on independently but people who become disconnected with their feelings would benefit from the help of an EQ counselor. The aim of focusing on EQ is to alert the mind to situations which cause stress and as such impact business decisions. When you listen to that silent voice which informs you how you are feeling, you can address those feelings of despair, anxiety, fear, sadness and apprehension. When you are able to control these emotions you will stop subconsciously repelling success and naturally draw it towards you.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is centered on four main points:
Self-analyses: This requires you to look out for and recognise those triggers which make you feel weighed down, negative and non-productive. When something or someone pushes your buttons do you become distracted, irritable, withdrawn? Start an emotional awareness diary to express those feelings in greater depth. Words such as rage, loathing, and disgust could be used to describe how an event has made you feel. Do you experience this hurt in any other parts of your body? In essence, you are carrying out an inside investigation to the way you react to negativity. Who is that person behind your name? When you become aware of your thoughts and feelings you are practising mindfulness. We often use negative vocabulary to address those matters which cause us pain. However, EQ teaches us to express these feelings from a positive, non-judgmental viewpoint. Look for situations or conversation which cause you to reach those low points.. Make it an aim to clock in with yourself several times per day to see how you feel. How do you respond when you are reacting to an emotion? Does your voice raise, do you find that you have very little patience? Do you talk quickly?
Self-healing: This is the stage where you learn how to create a better you. You now recognise those negative reactions and are no longer a slave to them. Now you can become the person you would like to be rather than the person your feelings cause you to be. This will stop you from diving in head first and saying/doing things that you may later regret, thus adding fuel to the fire. EQ allows us to respond in a subtle, considered and controlled manner. Think of reasons why a situation or comment occurred and try to look for answers which do not make the feelings so personal. Was the person stressed? Did he seem unwell? Didn’t you hear it on the grapevine that his marriage is on the rocks? Look for your compassionate side and bring it to the surface. Respond with empathy and the recipient is likely to reply in the same way. Anger attracts anger; kindness attracts kindness and so on.
Social awareness: Becoming socially aware means acknowledging the thoughts and feelings of others. Listening is a primary part of social awareness. When you listen to someone, it is not just a matter of lending an ear, it is about really absorbing what is being said. Allow people to speak without expressing an immediate view. Hidden within the conversation will be clues to how they are feeling. Look for words which are used subconsciously, these offer great guidance. Give of your time as you would expect others to give to you. Would you really want someone fidgeting, starting at their watch or interrupting when you were trying to talk? If someone says something which you find offensive, address the matter immediately. Ask the person to explain what they meant. This can be approached subtly with comments such as “so, in general you are happy about this going ahead” or “Gosh, it sounds as though are you a little upset about the way this has been handled”. This way you do not run the risk of causing a potential argument for no apparent reason. Finally, do not make the mistake of mocking someone’s thoughts or opinions. That person may be going through a particularly bad time and have reason to speak with such passion, far better to respond objectively.
Business relationships: Emotional intelligence is something which can also be used in the workplace to motivate, inspire and influence people. Whilst we all want to make those big sales, we must accept the fact that clients have feelings. As such, we need to build a rapport with each and every one of them by choosing words carefully, kindly and considerately. We want to be classed as friends, someone who can be trusted and someone with whom they can speak openly and honestly. They should know that we value their business and we also value them as people. If we need to attend a meeting, we should show respect by turning up early or on time. If we are delayed, we should stay in contact and explain what has happened. If we have promised to deliver items on a fixed date and/or time we should ensure this happens. If for any reason, we fall short of our promise, we should not wait for the client to draw our attention to the matter we should step in straight away, apologise and offer something in the way of a discount as a gesture of goodwill.
The business world has no time for people who sit on the fence. It requires a strong mind set and a determination to succeed against all odds. This often causes a disconnection with our emotional side and can cause us to run like a machine rather than a human being. When we rely solely upon our IQ and lose track of our EQ, business relationships may start to crumble and we will wonder why everything seems to be going wrong, hence, the reason why emotional intelligence has to be merged with intelligence to create a balanced individual.
When you work with your emotions you will instantly recognise those ripples of unease which compromise your personality. EQ provides the tools to reinstate that feeling of calm which many of us may not have experienced for a long time. Running on adrenalin all day is the fastest way to end up in Accident and Emergency. When we can slow everything down, the mist begins to dissipate and we can see clear solutions. They were always there but we were too stressed to see them.
An emotional intelligence training course will focus on the way that we react to stress, not just inwardly but outwardly too. We will become aware of how our body language changes whilst under pressure. We will notice the facial expressions we pull along with the amount of eye contact we allow. Without knowing it, our body language could display signs of mistrust, insincerity and fear. We could scare clients off without uttering a single word!
One highly effective way of lifting the mood is to use humour as an effective tool. EQ encourages us to turn tears into laughter simply by seeing the funny side of disappointments, upset and frustrations. It can also help to dispel awkward or embarrassing circumstances and rev up that va va voom when we feel tired or depleted.
When we are able to laugh in the face of adversity we quash our stress levels, raise our hopes and soothe those frazzled nerves. We emerge from the deep dark depths of despair and rise like a phoenix into the light.
Such a course may also require input from friends, family and work colleagues. Your superiors may be able to provide feedback on how you cope under pressure. All this information will be used to build up an image of your personality. This allows a counselor to evaluate how certain circumstances affect you emotionally. From this blueprint, it is easy to pinpoint those key areas which need to be addressed and customise a programme which will correct your thinking habits.
Whatever your personality and whatever your profession, a course in emotional intelligence can allow you to really get to know who you are as a person. When you are able to recognise your emotional troughs and turn them into peaks, the only way for you is up. You will soar through every challenge that life presents and continually climb the rungs of your career ladder.
When you have worked through such a course, negative stimuli will bear no significance on your emotional response. Not only will you bring out the best in yourself, you will bring out the best in others too. Many of us were lucky enough to sail through exams at school and pass every training course but we still remain at the lower end of the business scale. If this seems like you, a course in EQ will reveal those areas where your emotional intelligence is lagging. No amount of qualifications will improve your EQ. You need to take one further training course, the one which will make the biggest impact, a course in emotional intelligence.