Guest contributor – Jenny Holden from Chorus Communications

Shakespeare was a veritable master of emotion – eloquently conveying a deeply accurate understanding of human feeling. But even he could not have imagined that, five centuries on, the harnessing and managing of emotions would be a key business tool for global organisation.

In fact, emotional intelligence is now regarded by companies across the world as a major contributor to improving performance at work – and various studies have confirmed that what distinguishes a star performer from an average performer is superior emotional intelligence. It is a quality that also helps you to recognise and influence the emotions of those around you.

Indeed, emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is acknowledged in some parts of the world as probably the single most effective business skill of this century. And, we know that many employers value EQ over IQ because they consider employees with high emotional intelligence are more likely to stay calm under pressure, resolve conflict effectively and respond to co-workers with empathy

By identifying how your own emotions can affect your work performance, you are on track to develop an international personal development plan that will enhance your capabilities and which, ultimately, improve career and personal success prospects. Realise that emotionally intelligent skills can be used almost anywhere – from managing a board meeting, solving conflict problems, meeting potential clients and being part of a recruitment and selection process.

And have more self-awareness, particularly when it comes to your own strengths and possible emotional intelligence blind spots.

So, is it possible to increase your emotional intelligence and to understand just what a powerful effect it can have on your thinking and behaviour? Taking time to sit down and reflect on your own use of emotions is a start. For instance, think about how you would respond to an e-mail that suggests a business problem is of your making. By identifying your emotions and reactions you become more mindful and start the process of building control.

But remember, apart from self-awareness, there are three other separate aspects to EQ – self-management, social awareness and relationship management – both at home and overseas.

It is important, though, that you consider your own goals – such as, how you perhaps want to improve your performance or in which countries you want to build your teams in the future. If you are only interested because your boss or someone in HR said you should be, then you are at a disadvantage straight away when it comes to cultivating your IQ strengths. However, understanding the impacts of your EQ habits relative to your aims will keep you going as you work on improving your emotional intelligence.

Unfortunately, the fine art of communication – and that includes being able to listen – is not appreciated as much as it should be, especially when dealing with team colleagues. Most of us think we are good listeners but very often that’s not the case. So, if feedback suggests you are not a great listener, don’t see it as an attack or threat – or worse still simply dismiss the criticism – step back and consider your position.

In fact, being a good listener is much more than being silent while the other person talks. Good listening includes interactions that help build a person’s self-esteem and is seen as a “co-operative conversation.” Be a bit like a trampoline – bounce ideas off each other; don’t just be a passive listener, be an active participant in the conversation. Remember, good listeners make the other person feel supported.

If you follow these guidelines then, as Shakespeare said, “all’s well that ends well.”


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