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How to Develop Emotional Intelligence

develop emotional intelligence

Greene Resources was the presenting sponsor of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Women’s Professional Luncheon on January 22, which featured a panel of local experts discussing how to successfully manage and develop emotional intelligence (EQ) in the workplace. The panel was moderated by Wendy Gates Corbett, president of Refresher Training, LLC and included K. Melissa Kennedy, founder of 48 Innovate; Heather Lee, senior partner of Developmental Associates; and Mary Tomlinson, president of On-Purpose Partners.

Now more than ever, hiring managers in most industries are looking at individual’s emotional intelligence as part of their interview and hiring process.  Managers are interested in finding candidates who can not only perform the duties of their role, but also possesses soft skills, like effective communication, empathy, and self-awareness. 

Here are some of the insights shared by the panelists:

  • Defining emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence (EQ) is essentially understanding and managing emotions effectively in order to better build relationships with those around you.
  • EQ in your personal life: Take the time to reflect on your own emotions and how you manage them. When faced with an unexpected or unpleasant situation, do you react, or do you respond? Responding to a situation involves self-awareness and understanding the situation from a holistic perspective, while reaction is a gut instinct that focuses on yourself and how the situation exclusively impacts you, not those around you.  By being mindful of your own feelings as well as the feelings of others, you can learn to respond appropriately to negativity or frustration.
  • EQ as a leader: The days of “leaving your emotions at the door” are over. Effective leaders today understand that emotions are intrinsic to who you are and who your employees and customers are. Instead of focusing exclusively on data, facts, and analysis, leaders should also focus on how their customers and employees think, feel, see, and do.
  • Include EQ in your recruiting process: There are a multitude of validated assessment tools and interview questions that can help your team determine a job candidate’s EQ. Your interview process should not include many “yes/no” questions; encouraging candidates to expand on their experience will help you get a clearer picture of who they are and how they may fit in your business.  Studies indicate that IQ and cognitive abilities only account for around 30% of a new hire’s success at their company, with the remaining 70% dedicated to soft skills and their ability to work with others.  Ensure your organization’s culture prioritizes emotional intelligence and provides regular training, assessments, and workshops to ensure your team is regularly developing their EQ.
  • Practice empathy when communicating: When communicating with others, take the time to listen and ensure you fully understand the other person’s position before providing your own opinion. If you are not clear with others when communicating, the other person or people involved in the conversation are going to fill in the gaps of the conversation with their own interpretation, which is likely different from what you meant. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, communication is a skill you develop, not intrinsically tied to your personality.  Determine where there are typically gaps in your communication style and work to achieve clarity and establish an action plan at the end of your conversations.

Communicating with others is one of the first things we learn how to do in life, and can be one of the hardest things we do.  Developing self-awareness, practicing empathy, and taking the time to understand your emotions and the emotions of those around you will make you a better leader, employee, coworker, friend, partner, or parent.  At Greene Resources, our mission every day is to put people first by taking the time to understand the needs and goals of our clients, job candidates, and employees.  We would love to hear how we can help you achieve success and meet your goals.

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