As an organizational effectiveness consultant, I often encounter people at cocktail parties who have never heard of organizational psychology and can’t imagine what it is I do all day. When I begin to explain, a frequent response is to jokingly ask me to come in and help “fix” their company – often referring to misguided strategy, poor processes or not enough focus on engaging and developing talent. These are common yet complex problems at organizations. Studying emotional intelligence (or EQ) over the last couple of years has illuminated for me that a lack of EQ plays a sizable role in each of these common organizational problems. Developing better EQ can allow leaders and organizations to take their business to new heights.
Here are three ways heightened emotional intelligence can elevate your brand:
1. Communicating to your consumers.
Consider for a moment the way that you might communicate to your consumers about a new product or service. There’s time pressure, perhaps a key moment in time you would like to align to. You’re considering which influencer to use, which platform to communicate on and what type of content you want to showcase. Research suggests the average person makes at least 70 conscious decisions per day. How do you decide among the options? One area of emotional intelligence to pay attention to in extremely important, and very urgent, decisions is impulse control, an EQ skill that can prevent us from making rash decisions. When you find yourself needing to make decisions at an ever faster pace and wanting to experience the gratification of making the decision, remember that it will almost always benefit you to slow down just a little, get a different perspective (from someone who doesn’t think like you), and resist the urge to act too quickly on your own. Conversely, if you find yourself making decisions slowly, you might have high impulse control. Consider a deadline to help you make the decision more quickly.
2. Building relationships with colleagues and organizational partners.
Regardless of the business relationship you seek to nurture the common denominator for any successful relationship is trust. In business as in life, for there to be trust, there must first be empathy. In business, we must be able to demonstrate that we understand the world of our clients, colleagues and consumers. This knowledge positions us to best be able to solve a problem or quench a thirst because we deeply understand where it’s coming from. Empathy involves truly recognizing and understanding another’s world or perspective, and being able to articulate that perspective. To apply this in your world of business ask more questions, listen more and talk less.
3. Leading a team or organization.
Leadership and management training frequently focuses on how to manage and engage others to support a vision. These skills are immensely important and cannot be understated, but an area frequently overlooked in leadership is our skill in managing ourselves. Taking the time to get to know and understand our own behavioral preferences and triggers can help us act more rationally when those triggers arise. Understanding our strengths as well as our limitations, while also considering the strengths of others, allows us to shine and to let others shine: a win-win for the organization. Taking time to consider our natural response to change (Do we flock to it? Do we generally resist it?) can help us pressure test our response to changing market dynamics. To be a better leader, start with yourself – ask for feedback to build self-awareness and improve upon your limitations, reflect upon your own reactions to change and ask others how they’ve noticed you respond, shine your strengths, and let others shine theirs, too.
For more emotional intelligence tips, check out this infographic I created on how to boost your EQ.