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Leading with EQ, not just IQ | Future Leaders Blog

Maya Angelou
No one cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.
– Theodore Roosevelt

What is EQ and what does it mean to have Emotional Intelligence?

EQ can be described as the ability to understand and manage yourself (your thoughts, feelings, reactions etc) so that you can communicate with and relate to others in an effective way. It’s therefore also the ability to really understand people, to see and value other people, to take care of how you impact others, to understand social settings, and much more. Emotional intelligence is about being intelligent with people, both yourself and others.

And it’s the same thing with EQ in leadership. It’s to connect with people in such a way that they want to bring the best of themselves to work, being as engaged as they can be, feeling important and wanting to do a great job.

Imagine a leader who makes you feel good about yourself, someone who believes in you, who spends relevant time with you and makes you feel like you are important.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is not a new thing, it’s always been there, although the term “EQ” or “Emotional Intelligence” is only a few decades old. What do you think – wasn’t great leadership always about emotional intelligence?

Hopefully we can all remember leaders we have had (and we hope that you, like us, have had at least one!) who were about more than just the job; more than the technical abilities, more than just a “goal achiever”. Someone who made you want to go to work. Someone who connected with you and your colleagues and who made you see that work could be fun.

In the early 90’s, when we first became leaders, there wasn’t much done to try help leaders be just that – people who lead. I might have learnt the technicalities of the job as a manager, but I found it challenging to deal with the difficult people situations. A lot of is was gut instinct and either you had it or you didn’t.

Leadership development has moved on since the early 90’s but sadly very few leadership development activities, even to this day, have the desired effect. Not because they are bad, but because they rarely change behaviours. And ultimately that’s what leadership comes down to – behaviours.

Or as Maya Angelou so eloquently said:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

We ALL have emotional intelligence (in different ways) and we can create more of it. It’s all about our behaviours and how they affect others.

Leadership is changing fast. And emotional intelligence is climbing towards the top of desired leadership abilities. Repeatedly we see that people with high EQ are moving faster in their careers than others.

75 percent of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including inability to handle interpersonal problems; unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict;
or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust.

Center for Creative Leadership

So watch this space. Emotional intelligence will continue to grow in importance. And that’s a good thing, for people and for sustainable businesses.

About the authors

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book, multi-award-winning ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”, published by Financial Times International is a practical tool for building winning teams. You can download a free chapter of the book at www.leadingteamsbook.com

Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”Enjoyable to read. Simple to understand. Practical to implement. A must read for team members or leadersDebbie Fogel-Monnissen, Executive Vice President, International Markets Finance Officer, Mastercard, NY, USA

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