The Silent Power Behind Emotional Intelligence
If our skills, competencies and judgment get us our leadership roles – it’s our Emotional Quotient (EQ), or Emotional Intelligence, that keeps us there and propels us forward into greater leadership scope, work footprint, scale and reach.
If our EQ capacity empowers us to effectively leverage our emotions to bring about better business outcomes, then – our ability to exercise self-regulation powers our EQ capacity.
Consider the following: If EQ is to us, what an engine is to a car – then self-regulation is the drive train that powers how we operate. The drive train or transmission of any vehicle, transfers engine power to its wheels creating forward or backward movement.
“…self-regulation is the drive train that powers how we operate…”
Our capacity for self-regulation acts in the same way. Our ability to exercise self-regulation drives forward our ability for clear judgment. At the same time, our lack of self-regulation can send us careening backward due to missed, unseen and un-acted upon opportunities due to our poor, or cloudy, thinking.
The practice of EQ, and particularly our capacity for exercising self-regulation over emotional reaction, is literally where the rubber of our inner fortitude meets the hard long or short road of our effective leadership.
Our total Emotional Quotient in this model consists of five category areas divided into two dimensions. Those two dimensions are known as Intrapersonal and Interpersonal.
Intrapersonal is defined as the ability for us to understand ourselves and form an accurate conception of who we are, so as to operate effectively in all areas of our lives. The Intrapersonal dimension consists of areas of Self-Regulation, Self-Awareness and Motivation.
The Interpersonal dimension is characterized as the ability to understand other people around us, what motivates them, how they work as well as how to work cooperatively with them. The areas of Empathy and Social Skills comprise our Interpersonal dimension.
Our ability to control our emotions, practice self-restraint and our ability to negotiate effectively are intricately dependent upon each other.
Gain emotional control and you have a far better chance of getting what’s needed.
Lose control. Lose positional power. Lose brand power. Lose situational power. Lose situational awareness. Lose opportunity.
You lose all around.
Either we’re driving ourselves forward to achieve greater neutrality and operational affectivity over our emotional reactions, or our emotions are driving our careers and our possibility for advancement backward due to our lack of control. It’s just that simple. Our situational awareness and emotional control or lack of it moves us forward or backward, professionally or personally.
“…Our situational awareness and emotional control or lack of it moves us forward or backward…”
If self-regulation is a foundational competency every leader needs – then our ability to successfully regulate our emotions is dependent on our faculty to be mindful enough to practice gratification delay. In short…to reign in our emotional reactions.
The other day I had lunch with a now “many times over” successful entrepreneur. He was also a former U.S Marine jet fighter pilot cleared, at the time, to carry tactical nuclear weapons. As the topic of EQ and its role in effective leadership came up, he agreed that those leaders that can delay their need for gratification in the short-term – to gain it in the long-term – gain greater success than those that can’t.
Think in this context how quickly we, or those we see and interact with around us, can give into anger. While we all know better that we shouldn’t – we very often do. Over and over again. Until we learn how to train ourselves not to give into our emotional reactions.
If we look at how we often give in to our anger we see there is a certain pleasure there, a certain satisfaction that is derived from releasing our anger and allowing it to overtake and empower us – for whatever reasons we do so, be they feelings of control, empowerment, spite or revenge.
Catching ourselves before our anger hits (and takes us over) depends upon our level of self-awareness, self-regulation and our willful denial of gratification. We all know that what seems like a simple exercise of will, takes practice before habit and skill takes over and our emotional reactions come under the reign and governance of our control.
Generally speaking, high performance and sustained superior performance is not only the result of the competencies and skills that we bring to our work, but (and maybe even more so) how well we govern and manage our behavior.
“…high performance and sustained superior performance is…the result of …how well we govern and manage our behavior.”
Everyone gets that we need to exercise self-control and greater restraint if we are to be more effective in leading others or getting along with others. Few, though, actually know how to bring those desired attributes, characteristics and virtues about.
Here are 10 proven, simple, but effective ways that can help;
- Set aside critical time for nothing but planning your strategic communications.
- Actually block calendar appointments with yourself.
- Determine what exactly needs to happen, across whom, by when for what desired outcome and what the benefit of getting that communication right will be, as opposed to the costs of getting it wrong.
- Consider carefully the possible consequences of your actions.
- Understand the behaviors of those you’ll be presenting to.
- Understand the motivators that drive the behaviors of those you’ll be negotiating with.
- Understand that the behaviors and motivators of others are often different from your own.
- Role-play with someone you trust – how your critical conversations will go.
- Role-play at different perceived levels of push back and resistance.
- Evaluate the push back you realistically expect based on your real observable experience not on the basis of your own biases and emotional concerns.
Greater focus, observation and practice of self-regulation and gratification delay will improve your EQ capacity and lead you to becoming a more effective, formidable and influential leader – one who others look to follow because of your influence, not your positional power.