Emotional intelligence or Emotional Quotient EQ is vital to all whether you are a leader or team member. As a woman in tech, I felt we do need to pay attention to our EQ as we have a relatively higher IQ.
If one can control and manage their emotions then we can succeed, without doubt, our productivity increases and we turn almost every situation in our favour. EQ makes you self-aware whether you are being unconsciously biased based on few life experiences.
Have you ever walked through an area in your organisation where your IT department or team is based? If so you probably remember a quiet atmosphere, with a lot of people focused on the information on their screen, often with a headset on their head and not a lot of interaction.
But is that impression an accurate reflection of the way IT people work together and with others inside and outside their company? And how does that reflect on the leadership and emotional competence of IT managers?
In general, technical people do not have a reputation in the workplace for strong social skills, excellent stakeholder management abilities or active relationship builders. I know this because I was one of the infamous people.
The business teams and users, see IT specialists as dry and maybe even a bit nerdy and non-communicative.
Nothing could be further from the truth! However, it is a reputation that is prevalent and which people working in IT have to contend with, primarily when working together with people in other departments or with stakeholders. This reputation creates an extra barrier for building productive working relationships which technical or IT managers or leaders need to overcome.
When IT leaders and highly technical teams develop emotional competence, they can bring about significant change. IT teams will be able to achieve the results, create win-win outcomes required to complete projects on time and within budget. They can contribute to the goals of the company effectively.
Why do technical people need to improve their emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence along with high IQ can tip Success in your favour. Emotional Quotient EQ + IQ = the X-FACTOR. It can make everything possible, a true leader and the master communicator.
There have been many types of research conducted since Daniel Goldman popularized the term Emotional Intelligence in 1995. Initially, scientific communities criticised the study and its evidence and then it was widely accepted.
How can you identify an emotionally intelligent person in the crowd or a leader?
An emotionally intelligent person doesn’t have to be scholarly. However, the individual must be able to manage the emotions and understand how to move forward to achieve the goal. Now, people go to the other extreme and become unemotional. Maintaining and controlling emotions doesn’t mean an individual has to become emotionless.
According to Daniel Goleman, the Emotional Intelligence EI model constitutes Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Social Skills, Empathy and Motivation. ref link 1
Knowing and understanding yourself increases the impact you have on others and how to effectively build and maintain partnerships are all critical components of emotional competence. This awareness of oneself is crucial because that will help you have the right conversation.
An Emotionally intelligent person can excel in resolving conflicts, handling difficult and challenging clients, handling passively aggressive sub-ordinate, team members or peers. Every organisation or business have these kinds of people you as a leader or one working with them must be able to handle those individuals. Scientific research has shown that Emotionally Intelligent leaders deliver better results in the workplace, sometimes by 2 to 3 times!. (ref link 3)
IT teams are significant in organizations, being the driving force behind the process and system management and maintenance as well as key players in business improvement and innovation. So when IT teams in businesses contain emotionally intelligent members, it can significantly increase productivity, growth and profits.
We have seen first-hand how teams, where all team members and managers are emotionally intelligent, can perform and that in turn can effectively increase productivity. The projects are delivered on time. IT team implemented new systems and processes with full support and satisfaction of internal and external stakeholders and smoothly fast-track business changes without business interruptions.
We have also worked with clients where the emotional competence of the IT managers was lacking which resulted in conflicts, misunderstandings, project delays and cost blowouts.
The effectiveness and success of an organisation depend on the strength of the teams who work collectively to achieve the outcomes. By improving the emotional intelligence of the influencers to start with, can bring long-lasting results which are beneficial to the organisation.
Emotional Intelligence is “the something” or the “X-factor” you have or don’t have. However, there are ways you can develop your emotional intelligence skills. All you need is discipline, patience and attitude to make it work.
Can you develop your Emotional Intelligence Quotient?
We are aware of ourselves incongruently, that is because we are not conscious. How can you become conscious explicitly?
Yes, you can as with all the skills we can build our emotional intelligence quotient EQ. (ref link 2)
Follow these simple steps;
1. Start keeping a journal. Note down your reactions to happenings throughout the day without judging. It will be hard initially, keep at it.
2. Notice your bodily reactions when you are happy, sad, relaxed, angry, indifferent
3. Notice your body language when you are expressing your emotions.
The most important thing you need to keep is not to Judge your emotions or try to change them immediately. Just observe.
If you could set aside 10-15 mins, then that will be great. Just sit and watch how you will react to certain situations if you have no expectations of how the outcome would be.
Secondly, Self-regulation is not about not controlling the events around you, it is about regulating how you want to react to certain situations based on the outcome.
For example, if you are dealing with a passive-aggressive person who is creating problems then think about what actions will diffuse this passive-aggressive person without encouraging his behaviour. Your efforts must be to revert this person into the best team player. Find the motive for the behaviour and revert. Sometimes, you may have to confront this person openly, do it with respect. Don’t give up.
Thirdly, How can you improve your Social Skills, Empathy and Motivation?
1. Start noticing other people’s body language especially their eyes and hands.
2. Notice their reactions and behaviour to your conversations. This action is also part of your rapport building.
3. Be open-minded; try to control the actions not the responses through empowerment. Let me explain, if a team member is behaving differently than usual, you have an outcome to achieve, and this person is the key then know the reason for his behaviour and empower to unleash the potential.
When we work on projects with our clients, whether during a one on one coaching session, workshops or general consultation, we always include an emotional intelligence discussion as well as EI assessments for the key players.
We conduct regular workshops and coaching where our clients will walk with tools and information to assist them in the process. Speak to us to get more information.