Today’s workplace environments are more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous than ever before. Leaders must find new ways to navigate these challenges. Creating a more agile workforce could be one way to accomplish this. But, where to begin?
Becoming more agile requires a new way to approach workplace interactions. It demands that we develop and use our emotional intelligence (EQ). It can all seem quite intimidating.
What Is EQ?
Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It generally includes three skills:
- Emotional awareness,
- The ability to apply those emotions to tasks or situations, and
- The ability to manage emotions when needed.
Author Daniel Goleman writes extensively about emotional intelligence and believes it is an essential ingredient for reaching the top of any field, including leadership.
If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. – Daniel Goleman
Our EQ is not fixed. That means we can develop our own EQ competencies and improve interactions at work.
Becoming More Agile
Emotional intelligence shows up in different ways and especially in different situations. Before we can become more agile in how we apply our EQ there are some things we need to consider.
- Become aware of our own EQ strengths. Everyone has EQ mindsets that come more naturally to them. Mine include being resolute (standing my ground), being self-assured (asserting my opinions), and being objective (separating facts from emotions).
- Recognize where we have potential for EQ growth. We tend to apply our familiar EQ mindsets to every problem we face at work. When a co-worker is upset, my objective approach won’t feel very supportive. In cases where empathy is required, I need to stretch quite a bit so the other person knows I care.
- Learn about, and practice using, all the EQ mindsets. Even if we are less skilled in emotional intelligence, we can study workplace scenarios that require different mindsets. We can practice being agile by testing strategies and tactics that will help us to improve. We can discover the hidden needs that prevent us from using other mindsets.
Being a better leader takes effort and requires discipline. Many times, we don’t improve because we aren’t aware of our own blind spots. We may also assume we can’t change very much.
Emotional intelligence is one area where everyone can learn and grow. I can teach your team members to read the emotional needs of a situation and respond accordingly. The path to creating your own agile workplace culture is just a phone call away.
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