Joshua Freedman, emotional intelligence expert, reports that organizations who prioritize emotional intelligence are 22 times more likely to be high performing organizations. To put this finding in perspective, let’s consider another statistic: data shows that people who smoke are eight times more likely than non-smokers to get lung cancer. Folks, it’s widely accepted that smoking leads to lung cancer, yet smoking increases the likelihood of cancer by a factor of merely eight. This statistical link has made most of us put down the cancer sticks. Prioritizing emotional intelligence increases the likelihood of high performance by a factor of 22. If we know there is something that will make our organization 22 times more likely to be high performing, why aren’t we in hot pursuit of it?
Perhaps it is because we simply don’t know how to prioritize it or even what it actually means. Emotional Intelligence (also known as EQ) isn’t something we grew up talking about or took as a requirement in business school. Even if we have read a book or a blog about EQ and accepted its importance in the workplace, knowing something is not the same thing as doing it. That is what Marissa Levin, Founder and CEO of Successful Culture, believes may be the missing component in building a culture around EQ. We have to first build more EQ into our own leadership practices before we can instill emotional intelligence in our organizations.
Levin suggests get a jumpstart on assessing our own EQ as leaders by asking ourselves these questions about our workplace emotions and behavior:
- Am I aware of my emotional triggers and how to deal with them in an effective manner?
- Do I practice being calm, even in stressful situations?
- Do I set the tone with positivity?
- Do I consider other people’s point of view?
- Are my words and body language congruent?
- Do I show my team appreciation?
If the answer to any of the questions above is not affirmative, what action can you take to improve? Consider putting reminders in your calendar to practice specific thoughts or behaviors, getting feedback from colleagues, or asking a teammate to hold you accountable in that area. When we honestly assess and take steps toward improving our own EQ as a daily practice, we can work toward making emotional intelligence a true priority in our organization.