By Dr. Karyn
Hello DK Leadership Community!
As most of you know, the heart of what we do at DK Leadership – for organizations AND families – is focused on teaching about and (more importantly!) building Emotional Intelligence (EQ). We do this by providing leadership events, keynotes, private coaching & online training. Regardless of the format, the challenge we constantly face is that while most people have heard of EQ – the majority of people cannot define what it is, and until we explain it they don’t understand why it is important.
This was confirmed again for me this past month when I was speaking at a business conference. I asked this group of highly educated professionals and business owners, “Who has heard of EQ?” – 100% of their hands went up! But when I asked who could define for us what EQ is – only 1 hand went up in this group of 250 people. This is unfortunately a typical response, and it clearly demonstrates the knowledge gap we are working with!
Researchers at Harvard University have found that
Emotional Intelligence accounts for 90% of what makes people successful
I often share with my audiences – if you want to be successful (however you may define it) – EQ is not a suggestion – it’s a requirement! There has been an enormous amount of research that says EQ is now the #1 predictor for how successful a person will be in their life, both in career and family. But too few people realize this, and even if they did, most would not know HOW to build it, which is the most important part!
The good news is that EQ is simply a set of skills that can be learned by anyone, just like a language. And the first step is to understand what it is and then to become more self-aware.
My personal passion is taking a lot of information, data and research, and simplifying it for all age-groups, and I have been doing this for years with Emotional Intelligence. There are 5 main skills associated with EQ (as well as several more sub-skills), so I created the acronym “CARDS” to help people understand and remember them! As we go through this list, ask yourself: How would you rate yourself (0-10) according to these 5 skills? This is a great first step, and it will quickly reveal for you where you may need to do some self-improvement work! You can also do this simple exercise with your family at home or your team at the office!
C – Communication Skills:
Strong communication is essential for success and overall great leadership! People with high EQ know how to give effective feedback, inspire change in others, and most importantly know how to receive feedback (especially critical feedback), with an attitude of humility instead of defensiveness. They are open to learning their blind-spots and are genuinely hungry to grow and learn!
A – Attitude & Goal-Setting Skills:
Attitude skills include the attitude you have toward yourself, your overall self-esteem, and your ability to set goals. Someone with a high EQ will be confident (not arrogant), and will be aware of their strengths while also acknowledging their weaknesses. They set meaningful goals for themselves professionally and personally, they seek excellence rather than perfection, and have the courage (and humility) to ask others for help as they move towards their goals.
R – Relationship Skills:
The majority of work I do today with organizations involves building thriving relationships and strong teams to drive performance. People with high EQ seek to genuinely understand each other, and to understand their differences (personality, multi-generational, cultural, etc.). This allows them to create powerful relationships and develop strong team dynamics, which in turn leads to increases in engagement, productivity and building an energized culture.
D- Decision Making, Time-Management & Self-Discipline Skills:
Cultivating good self-discipline, setting priorities and managing time are essential for helping an individual to achieve meaningful goals. A person with high EQ is clear about their priorities, carefully manages their time, makes decisions according to their values and is extremely self-disciplined about executing their goals. For young people in particular, a huge amount of stress and anxiety can be decreased by teaching them the basics of time-management and self-discipline.
My own twins (age 11) exemplify this: they have learned how to eliminate stress in their morning routine by applying some simple time management skills and self-discipline. They now understand that doing their chores first allows them to enjoy their free time afterwards so much more! I love to teach simple habits that have powerful rewards!
S – Stress, Anxiety & Emotion-Management Skills
Teaching emotion-management skills is one of the most popular keynote topics I’m asked to give to companies! Parent / educational groups are also hungry for this topic, given the epidemic of anxiety-related problems we are now seeing in younger generations. Someone with a high EQ will understand how emotions work, is respectful toward themselves and others when under stress, and knows how to manage change effectively. They will also know simple tools/ strategies to decrease their stress and anxiety, and all of this will serve to increase the quality of their focus, productivity, communication and overall mood with others!
So that is a (very) brief understanding of EQ! I hope that it has helped to clarify what the term means, but also that it has helped you to identify some of your own strengths and perhaps also some “growth areas” to be worked on. Make sure to rate yourself, and remember that ALL of us can learn these success skills, but self-awareness is the first step!
Your Leadership & Relationship Coach