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Home > Crew Matters > Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

In May we, as a business, shone the spotlight on the subject of Emotional Intelligence and received so much incredible feedback and insight from our attendees that I wanted to share some of the content we explored in our webinars and online sessions for those who might be interested in this subject.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions and recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others.

EQ is the measure of our levels of emotional intelligence and there are any number of ways to get a measure of your EQ (get in touch for more information about how).

IQ is the measure of your intelligence, but what is intelligence?

I heard a wise man speak on the subject of intelligence and of intellect when I was visiting Rishikesh in Northern India some years ago.

He said that intelligence is simply memory, it is the ability to recall something you have learnt, from a book, from training or from a teacher. He suggested that intelligence, therefore, was learning something someone else had already figured out. He claimed that ‘Intellect’ on the other hand, was about original thought, working things out for yourself, seeing patterns and being creative. He valued intellect more highly as a means of progressing humankind. Mensa measure both, and so for the purpose of this explanation we will assume IQ relates to Intelligence and Intellect.

I rather liked that explanation and added to the subject of Emotional Intelligence, it gives us a much deeper insight into our potential and where we can develop.

Interestingly… IQ (Intelligence Quotient) contributes to around 20-25% of our success personally and professionally whereas EQ (EI quotient) contributes 75-80%.

If you’re in any doubt about that, let’s explore.

If I asked you to tell me what the attributes of a great leader are you might say…

  • Great communicator
  • Firm but fair
  • Role Model
  • Inspiring
  • Empathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Caring
  • Driven
  • Motivated….

If I asked you for the attributes of great friend or colleague you might say…

  • Collaborative
  • Inclusive
  • Caring
  • Responsible
  • Self-motivated
  • Self-aware…

…etc. you get the idea.

All of these attributes are reflected in the pillars of Emotional Intelligence as described by Daniel Goleman in his book of the same name.

They are;

  • Self-Awareness – the ability to understand your own emotions and how they impact on your performance and your relationships. Knowing what you are feeling, and why and also how others see you.
  • Managing Emotions – the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses or moods, suspend judgement and think before acting.
  • Motivation – a passion beyond money or position that gives you the ability to pursue your goals with energy and persistence.
  • Empathy – the ability to understand the emotional responses of other people and skill in treating people according to their emotions.
  • Social Skill – proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, the ability to find common ground and build rapport.

None of them refer to IQ and yet without them you would struggle to get people to follow you, or to work well with you.

Now let’s think about roles which do require high levels of IQ and technical proficiency. They include jobs such as Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Strategists, Pilots, Astronauts, Captains…! You have to be able to remember what you have learnt (intelligence) and to be able to solve complex problems and resolve technical issues within your area of expertise (intellect).

But how many times have you met someone technically brilliant at their job and yet lacking in any or all of the attributes of empathy, social skill, self-awareness, motivation or the ability to manage their own emotional responses… how do you feel about them?

There is no doubt that the lack of emotional intelligence in any person, however technically competent they might be, will impact on their ability to connect with others and build trusted relationships which is almost always unsustainable in the long term.

Let’s think about how these work in the context of something we are all talking about at the moment. Systemic racism.

Self-awareness is your ability to recognise when you might be making a judgement about another person which causes you to behave differently towards them, to favour them or not, to befriend them, or not.

Managing emotions is your ability to halt your emotional response and to think about what is happening before you act, example; you see a kid in a hoody approaching you on the pavement, you feel fear or anxiety, you give them a ‘look’ and either make yourself look more threatening, or step off the pavement and cross the street. Why? Can you control that emotional response?

Motivation, what is your motivation for changing the way you view those people who are different from you? Let’s remember that we are all subject to some form of ‘ism at one time or another. Ageism, sexism, racism and judgement based on our accents, our levels of education, our sexual preferences. We have to truly WANT to change in order for it to happen.

Empathy. You may not be able to truly feel the way another person does if your situation is different. I cannot truly feel how racism against the BAME community feels because I am white and I have never experienced that form of racism.

There are three levels of empathy.

The first is Cognitive. Simply put, this is the logical form of empathy, the ‘I can see how that would hurt you’ response. I can imagine how it might feel to be subjected to racism because I know how it feels to be subjected to sexism, I can therefore make a cognitive connection and empathise on that basis.

The second level is Emotional which is when you feel the same emotions as that person, usually because you have had the same experiences or something very similar.

Third is Compassionate, this is a blend of both Cognitive, and Emotional and allows us not only to feel how that person might be feeling, but also to consider the situation rationally.

Social Skill. Do you really make the effort to talk to people who are different from you? Do you seek connections? Ask them questions about themselves and show a genuine interest? You’d be amazed how much you have in common with almost everyone you meet, wherever they might have come from, whatever their skin colour, age, sexual orientation or gender.

Whatever your role in life Emotional Intelligence and your own EQ can impact and affect how successful you are in your chosen career, your relationships with others and with yourself.

Grab the book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ by Daniel Goleman or get in touch for our EQ measurement tool or more information about how you can develop your own EQ and live a more successful, happier and more fulfilling life…without prejudice!

Sara Ballinger