In the most recent issue of MDM Premium, I wrote about a session on emotional intelligence that took place during last month’s ISA Women in Industry virtual event, powered by W.I.S.E., Women Industrial Supply Executives. It is a most timely topic, with the pandemic making it clearer than ever before that EQ has an impact on our performance at work. Even, or perhaps especially, when we’re not physically present with our colleagues and customers.
Kelly Newman, emotional intelligence consultant and leadership facilitator with consultancy BlueEQ, argued that the stronger our emotional intelligence is, the more it can help us to guide our thoughts and behaviors and better manage ourselves and others.
Most importantly, he noted that our emotional intelligence is not a fixed personality trait. We can learn and improve our EQ.
Three dimensions of EQ that have taken a hit during 2020 include self-confidence (down 6.5% worldwide), stress tolerance (down nearly 16%) and influence (down 5.1%).
Newman shared tips on what you can do now to improve each.
Self-confidence means believing in yourself and your abilities, feeling self-assured and trusting your own judgment. A few ways that having low self-confidence can impact your work performance include relying too much on the opinions of others, becoming easily discouraged or expecting to fail.
According to Newman and BlueEQ, here are some best-practices to improve your self-confidence:
- Prioritize competing demands. Identify what you will say no to.
- Increase your networking. Reach out to a new person.
- In your time management, do the hardest things first.
- Take a chance on something that is risky but worthwhile.
Stress tolerance is positively dealing with stressful or difficult situations, overcoming rather than becoming overwhelmed by adverse circumstances. People will higher levels of stress tolerance see the bigger picture, stay positive and accept challenges. Some best practices to improve your stress tolerance, according to Newman:
- Step back from your problems and look at them in new ways by keeping a long-term perspective.
- Avoid people who cause you unnecessary stress.
- Use humor to diffuse tension and stress.
- Go for a walk or exercise when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Influence means having an effect on others, shaping their actions through persuasion. Influence matters because it is the primary tool of a leader and, without it, you cannot achieve and sustain high performance. According to Newman, ways to develop your influence include:
- Build trust with others so that they can predict and rely on your behavior.
- Follow through on personal commitments.
- Show responsiveness when things go wrong or contrary to plan.
- Listen carefully to others so that they know you understand their questions or concerns.
Did you know you have free access to two Premium articles on MDM.com? For much more on EQ, check out the full article, “How Emotional Intelligence Improves Workplace Efficiency,” in the latest issue of MDM Premium. Visit blueeq.com for more information on Newman and BlueEQ.