Which of the 12 competencies of emotional intelligence do leaders need to be successful?

How Emotionally Intelligent Is Your Leadership Team?

Emotional Intelligence. It’s an essential quality for anyone to have, but it is absolutely vital for leaders in business. Managing teams requires not only managing your own emotional wellbeing, but that of your employees and sometimes your clients, which isn’t an easy thing to do. In fact, a study published in Great Place to Work indicates that only 16% of American employees feel that they are “flourishing” in their jobs. Now, that number looks grim, but in companies that value Emotional Intelligence in their leadership roles, it increases significantly, to over 50%. These numbers show that leadership teams who make employees feel cared for and valued give their employees a greater sense of meaning in their jobs, which in turn increases productivity and employee retention.

But what is “Emotional Intelligence,” and what do you do if you feel like it’s not something that comes naturally to you? The Harvard Business Review breaks down the concept of Emotional Intelligence into four domains: self -awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Those domains are then further broken down into 12 competencies: emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, positive outlook, empathy, organizational awareness, influence, coaching and mentorship, conflict management, teamwork, and inspirational leadership. Ideally, a leader would be competent in all the above, but realistically, most everyone is more skilled in some aspects of emotional intelligence than others. For example, if a leader is a strong conflict manager, she might be skilled in giving people unpleasant feedback, knowing she can seamlessly handle any fallout. However, if someone is more of an influencer, he may prefer leading by example. Neither is incorrect, but increasing your competency levels in BOTH will help you recognize the situations where one strategy might be more effective than another.

But before you can work on improving your emotional intelligence, it’s helpful to take stock of where your current strengths lie. Simply reflecting on the categories above can be a good metric (if emotional self-awareness is already one of your strengths), but more quantifiable options exist as well. Probably the most widely available of these options is the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence test (often called MSCEIT), but a quick google search yields dozens of other choices that you can use to suit the specific needs of your business.

So now you know what emotional intelligence is and how it breaks down. Maybe you’ve even reflected on your own strengths and weakness or taken an assessment that highlights which areas you need to work on. Your question now is, “how do I do that?” Well, much of it begins with reflection, and a lot of it. Reflect on your emotions and how they affect your actions, reflect on the feedback you get from others, practice active listening, empathize, and try to be as open-minded as possible. These things sound simple but doing them continuously and skillfully in the midst of trying to hit deadlines and other workplace goals is tricky. And that’s where we can help too! Elevating the emotional intelligence of our members is one of the core missions of EFBC, we believe that developing EI skills is essential for personal and professional growth. We’re committed to providing opportunities for our members to enhance these competencies in every aspect of our programming. This includes everything from our Forums both Full and Flex to our workshops, seminars, curriculum, leadership series, roundtables, and committees. Thus, if you’re looking for a more involved (and fun!) way to beef up those Emotional Intelligence competencies, come out and join us!


Emotional Intelligence Beyond EFBC

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is at the core of everything we do. Ask any EFBC member and they will tell you, “EI isn’t about being emotional, but being intelligent about your emotions.” It’s a valuable skill that, when used with EFBC protocols, can bring about endless opportunities. Whether it’s a conversation, a conflict, or a negotiation, EI skills and protocols can turn these moments into an opportunity to connect. At EFBC, we don’t just talk the talk. We put our EI skills and protocols to use. But what about beyond EFBC?

This month, we asked some of our EFBCers to share how they’ve used the EI skills and protocols they’ve learned from EFBC in their daily lives. As a business owner or team member, a spouse or parent, or even a friend, these EFBCers are sharing how EI has helped them become better listeners and communicators outside of EFBC.

I have greatly reduced the advice-giving I would have otherwise provided to my friends and family. This has been difficult for me, as I have been raised by parents that show their love through advice-giving, and I have had to change my habits that I have mimicked for decades. EI skills learned through EFBC programs and protocols have provided me 1) the awareness to understand the challenges with providing advice and 2) the tools to offer assistance in other ways, namely, shared experience.

The protocol I use the most, by far, is to put myself in others’ shoes. I consider myself a good listener but putting myself in someone else’s shoes elevates listening to truly feeling what they are feeling. What are they going through? What are they dealing with personally that they may bring with them to work? It helps me make the right judgment calls and the right decisions. And especially with my kids! Thinking back to being a teenager and trying to imagine all that they are feeling and going through makes me a better parent for sure.

  • George Karavattuveetil, President and Founder – Psyched, LLC

Improvement of EI skills has helped with respect to every one of my relationships. Most importantly, to take the time to listen to others’ perspectives, and understand where they are. As a performance improvement coach, I can only appropriately guide a client to a better place only after clearly knowing where they are coming. In a similar fashion, as a parent, I am most effective when I take the time to put myself in the child’s shoes and look at the current situation from their perspective. I have found that there is more value in them recognizing the time I have taken to be present and the effort to understand, more than providing an answer or solution to the immediate challenge.

Learning about and how to use the EFBC Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills and protocols has truly changed my life. It has influenced me in so many ways that it is hard to pick the area in which it has had the most impact.

After much thought, I would have to select how it changed us as parents. When we first learned of and started practicing EI, our two daughters were teens. Those were some rough years prior to EFBC!

After many blowups when giving advice, our older daughter came home with an issue one day and said, “I’ve got a problem with the dance team, but I don’t want solutions right now. I just want you to listen and validate that I am looking at this the right way.” Wow. We knew we had to change.

Thankfully, that was right around the time I joined the CFBC (as EFBC was known then). Employing listening skills was the first step. Instead of interrupting as soon as we thought we had a solution to their issue or problem, we would listen intently with good body language and eye contact. We would also validate their narrative with nods of affirmation and listen to them until they were finished speaking. We would express empathy for their situation. Next, we added in clarifying questions if needed then sprinkled in some shared experiences, not only telling the story and outcome but also adding in what we might do differently if we had the chance for a “do over”.

Voila! The previous outcome of anger, shouting and stomping off to their rooms lessened significantly. The back-and-forth of sharing and caring blossomed. We feel that by subtly employing EI and protocols, the girls were much more likely to come to us with issues instead of keeping them bottled inside until they reached a boiling point.

I am happy to report that they are now 24 and 21 and are on good paths to happy lives. Hopefully, they picked some of this up that they can use once they start families. If not, grandma, grandpa and the EFBC EI and protocols will be there to help!