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Why Emotional intelligence Can Make Or Break Your Organisation Your success as an organizational leader is directly tied to the health and success of those who report to you

By Caroline Stokes

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The World Economic Forum has named emotional intelligence as one of the top skills needed for success in 2020. But what is it? Too often, people reduce emotional intelligence to what I call "emotional awareness," or the knowledge that cues you into your feelings. "I am happy; I am sad; I am frustrated."

Yet emotional self-awareness is but one very small part of the whole. Emotional intelligence is comprised of five parts: self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal, decision making, and stress management. Therefore, emotional intelligence as a whole could be defined as the ability to know yourself and perceive your emotions, express yourself assertively and independently, have mutually satisfying relationships with others, make decisions from a grounded, secure place, and manage stress well while facing the future with optimism.

An emotionally intelligent person is someone who lives--and works--well.

As a leader within your organization, you should make it your goal to evolve the company's EI. Emotionally intelligent teams are healthier and more productive. They communicate better, work toward goals with enthusiasm and focus, and have stronger relationships among teammates. Thus, your company succeeds and employee retention soars.

How healthy is your company's EI? Here are some signs that it may be time to uplevel emotional intelligence:

  • High turnover rate
  • Stress-induced sickness prevalent in the workplace
  • Culture of backbiting and gossip
  • Communication gaps between managers and direct reports
  • Mistakes are severely punished
  • Select few employees are preferred, while the rest are largely forgotten
  • Personal and professional development is not taken seriously
  • Workplace is not inclusive of employees from diverse backgrounds

Emotional intelligence starts at the top. That means if either of these "warning signs" are prevalent in your workplace, it's incumbent on leadership to create a healthier, more kind environment in which team members can do their best work.

It's not enough to succeed by hitting sales goals, or discovering an elusive algorithm, or landing the biggest client. Your success as an organizational leader is directly tied to the health and success of those who report to you. There's the old saying, "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together."

How successful can you be if a flood of employees leaves every month because they feel that their managers browbeat them? Or if your C-Suite works such long hours that exhaustion-induced hospital check-ins are not unheard of? Or if you've failed to hire diverse candidates for the last five years, and now you are lacking key perspectives and are falling behind the competition?

As a leader, the best thing you can do for your company is to prioritize upleveling your emotional intelligence. This won't benefit just your work, by the way. Since "upleveling your emotional intelligence" could be called "becoming a healthily-functioning human", all your relationships will benefit from taking your EI to the next level.

As a certified Emotional Intelligence Coach, it's a thrill for me when people truly "get" it and reach a new stage of EI development. I've seen co-workers have truthful conversations with each other for the first time in years. I've seen people stop shifting blame onto others and own their part in any dysfunction occurring in the workplace--and hence, see their way forward to the solution. I've seen leaders face head-on the challenges coming toward them via a changing marketplace, and create an informed, grounded plan as to how they'll adapt.

I've been doing this stuff for a while now. They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Learning about emotional intelligence and committing myself to enhancing my EI completely changed my life and career.

It can do the same for you.

Caroline Stokes

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Author, Executive Leadership Development Coach, Facilitator

Caroline Stokes is CEO of FORWARD and author of Elephants Before Unicorns: Emotionally Intelligent HR Strategies To Save Your Company

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