Why Emotional intelligence is the new black

You’ve likely heard of Daniel Goleman. It was 1995 when he suggested to the world that the ability to manage one’s own emotions and those of others was more important than how intellectually smart an individual is. This was further backed by The Future of Jobs insight report which says emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020.  

Emotional intelligence – commonly referred to as emotional quotient (EQ) – has been said to be twice as important as intellectual ability (IQ) by the highly respected Harvard Business School. That should be enough to convince you this article is worth a read but if not, I challenge you to consider the consequences of not making learning everything about EQ a priority. Also, if you don’t get this EQ thing right you might be called a ‘dumbass’ when you’re not in the room.  

Some people are naturally emotionally intelligent – lucky them. But working with leaders, entrepreneurs and CEOs all around the world has shown me that you can absolutely build your skills and capacity over time with some simple strategies and daily habits.  

Emotional intelligence really is the new black! It’s a hot topic that’s always on the agenda when it comes to understanding the personal potential and what drives highperforming teams. The corporate world wants to know its leaders can express their emotions appropriately and build trust quickly with the people around them. New business owners also know that establishing relationships with their future clients and new teams requires upfront confidence and optimism. The ambitious people out there know that, to progress up the ranks, an ability to build a respected brand requires developed collaboration skills and intuition 

If any part of you is thinking that this discussion is about ‘soft skills’ that are not as valued as the more measurable process and results driven attributes of some leaders then read on. If your current role or the team you are leading need to demonstrate the following skills for success, then investing in building EQ bench strength is possibly the most important investment you will make. 

So, what does a highly emotionally intelligent person look like? They have the ability to:  

  • influence others  
  • negotiate for results 
  • navigate a challenging and valued relationships  
  • engage in healthy and robust conversations 
  • create trust and rapport quickly  
  • make decisions in consideration of others 
  • deliver success and results through people 
  • problemsolve in a respectful manner 
  • be a team member who truly adds value  
  • resolve conflict  
  • innovate through collaboration  
  • manage personal emotions effectively 
  • manage the emotions of others effectively.  

Strong EQ is not just nice’ attribute to have, it’s the greatest superpower you can build in your organisation. If you truly want to drive performance, implement the following strategies for results 

  1. Role model why self-awareness matters. Lead the way by understanding what your people are saying, but more importantly what they are feeling. 
  2. Understand the EQ strengths and weaknesses of your team. Do an audit of what’s working and what’s not when it comes to the relationships and communication styles in your team. 
  3. Build a culture that values emotionally intelligent behaviours. Make these skills part of how you review success and reward those who are doing it well. 
  4. Encourage team members to know each other. The quality and depth of relationships will be reflected in trust across your team. 
  5. Ask questions and know how to listen. Be both present and curious with the people around you. 

Now, just for a moment, consider the importance of brand in the fastpaced world we live and work in. If your team wants to be known as achieving high performance through collaboration, then read points 1 to 5 again and implement those strategies at your earliest convenience!  

I am truly certain that when teams and organisations make effective EQ a non-negotiable, passion and authenticity shows itself and the results come – highcalibre leaders are attracted to the business and the company benefits from an increase in the retention of its best people.  


Lisa Stephenson

Lisa Stephenson is the author of Read Me First (Major Street Publishing), a book filled with thought-provoking coaching questions, strategies for success and life’s must-haves. Lisa draws on decades of experience as a global speaker, leadership consultant and success coach. She is also the founder of the global, Australian-based consulting firm, Who Am I Projects. For more information on Lisa go to www.lisastephensonconsulting.com.au

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