All your judgements and decisions (about people, next actions, strategies, issues, etc.) are based on your emotions.
We like to think that we are completely logical and rational in our decision making, but the truth is that our emotions allow us to deal with the overwhelming amount of information available around us by raising certain issues over others into our conscious awareness and then making ‘satisficing’ or good enough decisions based on our ‘gut feel’. Much of this happens below our conscious awareness and has a huge impact on the achievements and overall experience of our lives.
You can absolutely spend time on particular issues and analyse them to the death, but you have a very limited capacity to do this, and even then, you will be very hard pressed to ignore the influence of your emotions on the decision you are trying to make.
Conclusion: You cannot escape your emotions, and you are best served understanding them and making the most of them.
Others cannot escape your emotions either …
Emotions are contagious, and even more so for leaders. If you feel angry or upset, you can bet your job that it is affecting your co-workers, even in this remote world of work. So, whether you are quiet or talking over everyone else, your emotions carry more meaning than your words do. Your emotions also influence your work performance, as is noted here, where higher emotional intelligence scores resulted in overall higher work performance ratings.
Authors like Brené Brown remind us that we are wired for connection. Sam Harris asks us to consider the fact that solitary confinement is considered the worst kind of torture and a punishment in prisons. We prefer spending time with other criminals than being isolated. Even our sense of purpose and meaning in this life is inextricably tied to the value we see ourselves delivering to our fellow humans.
The point is, we cannot (truly) be alone, or get anywhere by ourselves. Everything we do that has any meaning is done together. Also, you are never not communicating. Your communication ‘teaches’ others your beliefs, hopes, fears, and more. so learn how to better emotionally connect with your team members here
Ask yourself: are you mindful of what you are communicating, and is this serving you and your community/organisation?
Emotional intelligence is easy to recognise, but hard to describe.
Emotional intelligence is not a single thing. It encompasses multiple, interdependent skills and abilities.
It is often described as the ability to accurately identify, understand, and manage your own, and others’ emotions. A simple concept, but all pervasive in practice, and not at all easy, especially to practice when the going gets tough!
This encompasses knowing your place in the world (strengths, weaknesses, purpose), perceiving situations with empathy for yourself and others, being able to process and make sense of often uncomfortable emotional situations. Making wise decisions in situations where rationality can easily be coloured with emotional content.
Day to day, in the real world, emotional intelligence is often misunderstood to mean ‘happy all the time’. This is not true - it is actually being able to deal with the reality of a situation (which very often includes a ton of emotional information which will affect the quality of your decisions and is ignored at your peril). Magic happens when we can deal with the reality of a given situation (good or bad) and figure out the best way to work together towards the future we want and bounce back from the setbacks. Having emotional intelligence allows us to do this.
Emotional intelligence is not an assessment, it is your work.
Yes, you can take a psychometric assessment that will measure your self-reported emotional intelligence, or have others rate you on your perceived emotional intelligence. Doing so can save you time in coaching or other self-development settings. What this gives you is a diagnostic of where you are now. Recognise that now the hard work of developing these skills to better serve yourself and those around you begins.
If you are a leader, your job is to figure out how to get the right things done right, together. Emotional intelligence is the work of getting better at 'together'.
Rest assured you will never regret doing this work.
A JVR case study about how following through with an intervention aimed to develop emotional intelligence helped entrepreneurs cope with the pressures associated with being a business owner.