It’s a common misconception that intellectual intelligence is the most important factor for personal and professional success.

Studies indicate that emotional success is responsible for an astounding 58 percent of an individual’s professional accomplishments, regardless of industry. Another report states that 90 percent of top-tier performers have a high emotional intelligence score.

Unlike IQ, there are ways to improve emotional intelligence. Here’s what you need to know about the value of emotional intelligence, as well as ways to improve emotional intelligence.

A Look at Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, measures your ability to recognize, control, and express your emotions. While it’s essential to acknowledge your emotions and respond appropriately, it’s also imperative to hear what others are saying (via their verbal and non-verbal communication), empathize with their feelings, and respond in a way that strengthens the relationship. You also help your employees develop their EQ through mentoring and coaching.

For example, assume that you’re dealing with a difficult subordinate. You could experience anger and frustration, and your initial reaction is to lose your cool. This behavior is an example of low emotional intelligence.

Someone with high EQ will listen to the subordinate’s concerns and use words that make them feel heard. In addition, they will maintain a calm, encouraging demeanor while troubleshooting and brainstorming solutions with the employee.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Eighty-six percent of workers report that they view colleagues as incapable of controlling their emotions differently. So not only does low EQ potentially harm your professional relationships, but you even risk receiving the label of a “bad boss” or “poor employee.”

Emotional intelligence is invaluable for enhancing communication within your company and encouraging collaboration. When interacting with individuals from different cultures, embracing EQ is an effective way to help these colleagues feel included and valued.

An environment full of uncontrolled emotions, unchecked responses, and lacking constructive communication, empathy, and listening can turn into a toxic work environment. Employees look to their professional leaders for guidance. Using behaviors and responses associated with high EQ encourages a healthy, respectful company culture. Your employees are also likely to model the behaviors that they observe from you.

Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence

There are multiple proven ways to improve emotional intelligence:

Begin by examining your self-awareness.

How do you respond to stress? For example, when frustrated, do you permit your frustration to become evident in your verbal and non-verbal communication?

Don’t assume that you know how you’re responding. Ask a trusted colleague (one whose EQ you admire) for their impressions about your emotional intelligence. Take their feedback to heart and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Take Time to Think Before You Respond

Unfortunately, your kneejerk reaction usually isn’t the behavior or communication you want to exhibit. Remember, you don’t want to react to an emotionally charged situation; you want to respond in a way that inspires and encourages growth.

Before you speak, make sure that you’re calm and respectful. You may need to count to 10 while taking deep breaths or even remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes.

Become an Active Listener

Become an active listener to help your employees feel heard. Keep a neutral expression, and don’t feel as if you must fill periods of silence. Maintain eye contact and mirror their body position to show that you’re listening. Additionally, ask questions and request explanations so that you truly understand their situation.

BOAR Offers Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence

As a CEO, executive, or business owner, are you struggling to develop your EQ? Our BOAR Room Mastermind groups encourage numerous ways to improve emotional intelligence, including providing expert speakers who share their expertise in EQ. You’ll receive practical advice and guidance from like-minded peers to help you better examine your behaviors, assumptions, and reactions. Additionally, we teach EQ to up-and-coming leaders as part of our NextGen Evolution program.

We would love to talk to you about your challenges and explore ways we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.