I must admit, I’m an enthusiast for developing emotional intelligence. It’s one of the reasons I became a certified facilitator for EQ-i. But, the real shame is why I got certified. The short answer, I often let emotions overrun my intelligence, and I needed to further develop my own skills in this area.
It’s been proven to me over and over by my own experience – and through research – that high IQs don’t make for great leaders. Nor does high task or job competency. Multiple degrees, classes, and high grades in school don't make you a great leader. This holds true for men, women, CEOs, leaders at all levels, and the average front line worker.
Your best decisions overall come from a confluence of recognizing and identifying your feelings, taking time to listen to your gut (intuition, instincts, etc.), weighing the facts, and analyzing data. Better decisions make us better leaders in the workplace and generally create a better personal life. So yes, my experience and studies agree, you may "stop stupid" and improve your performance by improving your emotional intelligence.
Try These 3 Emotional Intelligence Action Steps
Emotional intelligence is a critical skill for successful leadership. Work through the steps below to discover ways that you can sharpen your skills.
- Write a positive script. Don’t let negative messages drift through your mind and take over. These are your scripts that replay themselves automatically, sort of like your favorite vinyl (album for old schoolers) with a scratch in it playing over and over. (For example, "I'm a terrible sales manager. I always let my team get away with these mistakes. I never seem able to inspire this rag-tag team to reach our monthly goals.") Take a moment to choose a situation like this in your business life that is holding you or your team back. Now - write out your new script.
- Reconsider. Have you made assumptions about others' emotions or intentions? Challenge such thoughts; consider that there is another explanation. Bypass the wasted emotions or assumptions and use your emotional intelligence to reconsider the situation. Is there a more positive way to think about it? Can you think of a situation that you tend to consider negative, hurtful or as a failure? Make a mental note to think differently about the situation.
- Reframe. Can you think of a way to reframe the situation? For example, the loss of a team member, business, or customer account may bring about negative feelings. Reframe the scenario by asking yourself what you have learned from the situation. It could be as simple as asking what you will be able to accomplish with your time now that you are not servicing that particular customer, and so on. Think of one loss you’ve experienced, what you say about the loss, and then try two different ways to reframe the situation.
In order to stop stupid, you must leverage your emotional intelligence. There are recent studies indicating that emotional intelligence falls in the top five most critical skills for leaders today. The findings are consistent with my decades of experience working with companies, teams, leaders, CEOs and startup experts. Stopping stupid is closely tied to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Use your experience, read books like The EQ Edge by Steven J. Stein, Ph.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D., consider taking an emotional intelligence assessment like the EQ-I, and get yourself on a smart journey. I hope you’ll become as enthused as I am, gain greater emotional intelligence, and implement changes before your emotions overrun your intelligence.
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