In the workplace, emotional intelligence, or EQ, is valued more than IQ. 75% of responders to a classic CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers said they cared more about employees’ EQ than their IQ.
“Technical competency and intelligence are important assets for every worker, but when it’s down to you and another candidate for a promotion or new job, dynamic interpersonal skills will set you apart. In a recovering economy, employers want people who can effectively make decisions in stressful situations and can empathize with the needs of their colleagues and clients to deliver the best results,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.
In other words, leaders with high EQs are more skilled than their lower-EQ counterparts in a number of ways. They’re better able to resolve problems and conflicts, listen to others, and seek out and apply constructive criticism to their habits.
Employees with lower EQs are more likely to be overly critical of others, fail to take responsibility for themselves or be able to work well with others.
Even with a high EQ, connecting with your team members isn’t always easy. How can you connect with others on a deeper level?
Understand how to use the five tenets of emotional intelligence
There are five key aspects of emotional intelligence. These include:
- Social skills
So, to make sure you’re connecting with others on a deeper level, consider ways to use each of these hallmarks.
- Building your self-awareness could involve assessing what gets you down or makes you angry, creating a morning routine that puts you in a good mood, and recognizing you’re not in an emotional state to make decisions.
- Self-regulating involves participating in hobbies that calm you down, recognizing what you can and can’t control, and pausing before addressing difficult situations.
- To become more empathetic, get to know your employees, ask for and thank them for their opinions, and aim to see the world from their points of view. Empathy can also help you make better decisions, says Colin Baker of Leaders magazine. “List out the potential outcomes of a decision and how it affects team members,” he suggests.
- If you want to become more motivated, consider taking on projects that interest you and building an optimistic attitude.
- Building your social skills can involve listening actively and asking questions, reading non-verbal cues, and even practicing speaking in front of a mirror.
Ensure your team feels valued in their communications with you.
One way to ensure your team feels valued is by elevating your communication style.
Instead of sending an email, for instance, you could talk to the person face to face when you see them. Or, if your team works remotely, make time to meet with them virtually on video call regularly.
When you have meetings, look your colleagues in the eyes and demonstrate your interest by nodding. Speaking about a colleague, one executive noticed how keenly his peer made eye contact with others.
“Look at his eyes. When someone speaks, his eyes never leave theirs. He listens with rapt attention. He knows that even if a person isn’t a charming conversationalist, he can be a big hit as a charmed listener,” he said.
Treat each of your team members as individuals.
People feel connected with you when they feel like they know you.
Ask your team questions about what they’ve done before, their strengths and weaknesses, and their goals. Then, you can build your team culture and cultivate unique plans that help your colleagues feel valued.
You should also consider ways to recognize your team members for their contributions. For instance, you might think about writing handwritten notes instead of emails.
Take this example from a psychology professor who sent cards with the message “Congratulations, you should be very proud” to 12 people he’d selected at random.
“Everyone who received a card replied with a hearty “Thank you.” They reported new promotions, new grandchildren, new home purchases, and sports and school victories. Some of them were surprised by the professor’s acknowledgment, but they all felt they had done something worthy of praise. The moral is obvious: 1) Everybody wants recognition; 2) it’s easy to give; and 3) there’s always something you can recognize,” explained Alan Zimmerman for Entrepreneur.
Connecting with Others on a Deeper Level
Emotional intelligence is all about understanding yourself and others better.
You can’t empathize with others if you don’t know what excites you or gets you down. So, the first step in boosting EQ involves figuring out what makes you tick.
Then, the cornerstone to connecting with others is treating them as individuals with unique needs, goals, and expectations. Your team will respect you if you make them feel worthwhile and valued.
Want to improve your EQ but are unsure of where to start? One of Ivy Exec’s career coaches can help you identify your blind spots.