My previous post was all about communication and how our body language affects how we feel about ourselves. Now, I want to share with you my thoughts about being emotionally intelligent and how to apply this skill in a business environment. There are interesting questions about being emotionally intelligent: Is it something that can be learned or a talent some of us born with? How does family and culture influence emotional intelligence traits? Who is more emotionally intelligent: men or women?
According to the theory of emotional intelligence, in order to perceive minor behavioral details, we need to read the clues that other people are sending us as well as be aware that other people read our own. Sending the right behavioral messages and the ability to read them helps us in business contexts, enabling us to build trust and be persuasive.
PRINCIPLE #2: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE TRAITS HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON BUSINESS RELATIONS AND THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT, AS A WHOLE.
Your emotional intelligence competency (your EQ) affects how you communicate and how people perceive you. And yes, your EQ is often more important than your IQ. Still, before we get into this, you must understand the following 4 notions and how working with them helps you ethically and successfully manage people and relations:
Self-awareness – this trait enables you to understand yourself, as well as others, and adapt your behavior to different situations. The higher your self-awareness is, the more you are able to stay in touch with your emotions, know how things affect you and predict your reactions. So take a moment and try to assess the impact everyday choices have on you.
Self-management – a quality, which enables you to control how you react to your emotions and what, you let other people see. Using it will ensure that what you say is consistent to your non-verbal signals. This way, you build people’s trust in you and come one step closer to becoming a trusted partner.
Social awareness – the ability which to understand other people’s emotions and read between the lines. By analyzing your interlocutors’ verbal and non-verbal signals -their facial expressions, head movements and body language-, you perceive what is actually going on and you may tell if certain contradictions arise. Once you do this, your chances of getting deceived decrease considerably, while your productivity increases.
Relationship management – once you have enhanced your social awareness, this feature enables you to adapt to different contexts and manage successful interactions in both personal and professional areas.
Developing these four traits enables business professionals to better relate to their team members, understand their needs, respond to them, anticipate moves, foresee and solve conflicts, which, at the end of the day, are some of the most important characteristics that strong business relationship managers possess.
It is no wonder that emotional intelligence factors and the way that they influence professionals are the subject of a continuously growing number of research analyses. During 2011 and 2012, the Hay Group conducted a study of over 17,000 executives and managers, to analyze the EQ levels of respondents and how they impact their workplace behaviors. The research conclusions were that women in managerial positions had higher emotional intelligence, compared to men in similar roles, as follows:
33% of women mastered empathy, compared to 15% of men.
For 51% of women, conflict management was considered a strong asset, as opposed to 29% of men.
32% of women and 21% of men possessed influence as a key strength.
19% of women and just 4% of men showed self-awareness.
The research suggests that, due to the barriers that women face in their careers, they often develop extra skills, which enable them to be chosen over men in positions that they target. This seems viable, especially if we take into account that, as the same study shows, the difference between genders decreased dramatically for individuals in non-managerial positions.
The question that arises is: can you learn how to be more emotionally intelligent? The answer, from my point of view, is yes, but within reasonable limits. According to Tomas Chammoro Premuzic, a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London, and a faculty member at Columbia University, our emotional intelligence is influenced by our background (early childhood) , as well as genetics, so there are certain limits that we cannot overcome. Still, according to this research, there is some leeway and thanks to which you can enhance your emotional intelligence by 25%, if you choose a good coaching program where you work on your interpersonal skills.
Given the fact that emotional intelligence traits help to build trust, my recommendation to all Business Relationship Managers is to turn developing them into a full-time objective. It only by understands yourself and those around you that you can move to the next level of building strong, reliable relationships. I recommend keeping in mind the facts that women in managerial positions are considerably more emotionally intelligent (Yes! They are more likely read your body language and detect your true feelings than men), that emotional intelligence comes to a great degree from family (food for thought for all parents!) and that no matter your current degree of emotional intelligence, you still can improve it up to 25%!
The Emotional Intelligence Competencies of High Achievers – 1998 – Daniel Goleman