Developing your EQ

In reflecting on the coaching and team development work I have delivered over the past quarter, the leadership competency that surfaced as the greatest area of concern was Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Lacking self awareness on how one communicates verbally and non- verbally, not recognizing personal triggers along with lacking empathy or understanding of others often times results in increased conflicts. Knowing how to prevent or manage conflict relies on development of our Emotional Intelligence (EQ). These challenges are associated with managing successful relationships with key stakeholders groups such as peers, clients, direct reports and one’s  own manager and can occur at all levels of the organization.  

So how does one successfully develop their EQ? Drawing on the Center for Creative Leaderships research and the 70-20-10 rule, I think it occurs in the laboratory of life from both personal and professional experiences. 70% will be from the actual doing, the experiences, and the remaining 20% from coaching or mentoring and the 10% from training. I believe the greatest investment of time and focus needs to occur in the doing. At work it can be in identifying stretch assignments, going outside our comfort zone or areas of confidence and competency. In our personal life it might be identifying a difficult relationship we might want to improve. This is the first step in the ongoing journey of EQ competency development. To ensure success in the learning phase working with a Mentor or Coach to support you with the new learning and providing techniques and resources to assist you along the way will help you to stay motivated.

I incorporate what I call the Tripod method: to be more Open to perspectives of others, to be more Observant to how others are reacting or responding verbally and non-verbally and to my own emotions and to be more Objective, not to take things so personally. In addition, I focus on my breathing, shift my thoughts to a positive outcome or feeling, and let go of any need to be right. In self reflection I recognized what influenced my own EQ development has been participating on teams or working in partnerships to achieve a shared goal or vision, either personally or professionally. In fact, most recently the greatest teachers have been the people I have played volleyball and tennis with, my team mates, or the players I have played against and observing my reactions to their responses. Playing with different people in various tennis and volleyball leagues or tournaments required me to be more self aware. I had to pay attention to who I was playing with; their style, strengths and how to best communicate with them. I then had to adjust my style to be most effective in working as a team. I had to manage my emotions especially of frustration, disappointment or just plain intensity. I learned this along the way as I would receive feedback, either solicited or unsolicited from my teammates. This is when I realized I focused on my intent and others were reacting to the impact.

I encourage you to try these different techniques as opportunities present themselves to you.