Take steps in developing your awareness skills

Dan Barker is a Leadership & Organizational Consultant – He has led and supported teams across the globe

Emotional intelligence is about decision-making. Each person’s IQ is not an indicator of success. However, developing awareness and EQ will help build more prosperous relationships and robust goal execution. The first level of emotional intelligence is overcoming our initial reactions and shifting them into intentional responses. 

What it can look like

The significance of emotional intelligence (EQ) compared to intelligence quotient (IQ) is the ability to develop EQ. Each person’s IQ is set as they approach adulthood. Often, people might describe EQ as “street smarts” or common cents. People relate these skills to awareness and responses from developed emotional intelligence. 

A top performer comes to work daily ready to create win-win experiences for their customers. This team member has been on the team for over three years and has been the reigning top team member for most of their tenure. This team member knows they have a knowledge brand and is often asked to help mentor new team members. This team member makes it a point to talk in the team meetings and share best practices each week. Despite all these efforts, the team member cannot seem to get promoted into a leadership role, something they have been working towards for over 18 months. 

The unpromotoable top performer is a common scenario within almost all organizations. There is a break in the feedback and coaching process. What is not shared is that the team member struggles with change, especially if it impacts their performance. When sharing best practices, the team member often comes across as if their best practice is the only one. Over-talking and being unable to settle on a decision once made is also par for the course. These challenges create an opportunity for stronger awareness from several people within the scenario. 

Awareness creates safety within a team

Developing emotional literacy and awareness is a key to personal development and happiness. EQ is about establishing safety through the highest EQ level, and this level is organizational predictability in an organization. To get there, team members must understand how to speak through emotions in a way that uses them as information to better teamwork and results. 

The ideas around reaction versus response help to understand safety. From day one, each person starts to develop their fight or flight. As we get older, the fight is displayed in many ways. Some undesirable ways are lashing out, lack of ownership, selfishness, and poor crisis management. The contrast is a response. A response is intentional and designed to be productive, move an effort forward, or bring closure to a situation. At its foundation, a response should be reassuring and tailored to the individual’s needs.

Developing safety requires understanding that emotions are information and should be used to help team members understand each other better. It requires taking advantage of coaching moments to help people observe their emotions and determine if it is getting them desired results. Often, those results may be a reaction or response from another team member. When leaders miss setting clear expectations or providing feedback around reactions and responses, they fail to manage safety within their team. 

The holes it creates in an organization

The example of the team member above is not just about missed feedback or the leader’s failure to do so. The result carries over to each team member who watches it happen repeatedly. When EQ is not developed, each team member has different standards based on their reactions. The repeated actions with poor EQ literacy become questionable ethics and challenges within organizational justice. 

Strategies develop intention

Personal development happens once a goal and strategy is established. Often, the desire to change takes from a hard look in the mirror and asking tough questions, a form of dissatisfaction. Developing behaviors that support working towards a goal will create EQ literacy, intention, and overall internal joy. 

Developing strategies to support awareness is vital for EQ growth. Strategies examples are listening more than talking or noticing social queues. Another example of strategy might be keeping a journal that focuses on affirming or positive moments. To change behavior based on awareness is challenging and must be done with intention. 

Execution and follow-through are the most difficult parts of change. Setting goals and getting feedback throughout the process can help to stay on track and support self-accountability. When developing EQ, a mentor or a partner is recommended to help with accountability. Choose someone who can have a challenging conversation and is good at asking questions. 

Back to decision-making

Decision-making is an essential competency within any team or company. The foundation of acumen is about quick decision-making. Team members who are highly developed in decision-making understand how to manage stress and risk to stay focused on priorities and people. Using intention and focus to set goals and respond in a way that supports those goals leads to mastery, a top level of self-management. 

Want more on Emotional Intelligence? Are you looking to attend a workshop or take an assessment to start your EQ journey?

Website: https://idaleadershiplab.com/classes/registration/

Want more details on EQ and the EQ-i: https://idaleadershiplab.com/courses/eq/

Email: dbarker@idaleadershiplab.com

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