Over the past ten years workplaces have been rapidly evolving from churn and burn corporate factories (many still are, don’t get us wrong) to more nuanced, human-centred ecosystems. There is more and more emphasis being placed on creating strong distributed leadership throughout teams, meaning employers are looking for candidates who display leadership qualities.
When it comes to recruitment and promotion of tallent, employers often detect leadership qualities by looking out for Emotional Intelligence.
What is emotional intelligence you ask?
Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is loosely defined as an individual's ability to understand emotions in themselves and others. In the workplace high EQ often means more cohesive, creative and healthy teams and effective leaders and managers. Here are the top 5 EQ traits employers look out for in employers and future leaders.
Being self-aware essentially refers to your ability to recognise and understand your own emotions. It also means having a strong awareness of yourself, your characteristics, your strengths and weaknesses and how you interact with others. Employers want to know that you’ve got the ability to be introspective and understand why you are having particular emotions. They also want to know you can find solutions to maximise your strengths and work on your weaknesses, and to be aware of the way you impact your colleagues.
Self-regulation is the step after self-awareness in that it refers to your ability to notice your emotions, process them and take action to regulate your reactions. Basically it’s your ability to keep calm and cool when you are triggered in a negative way - say a colleague is frustrating or you’re angry about an error etc. Being able to self-regulate is essential for leaders and a great quality for everyone to have to produce the most harmonious and safe workspaces.
There is a lot that goes on in our private and professional lives that impact the way we show up at work. Empathy is when you’re able to step into someone else's shoes and understand why they are acting and/or feeling the way they are. Empathy helps to build a kind, solutions focussed and supportive environment and team dynamic.
Having strong social skills requires social awareness, which is essentially your ability to interpret social dynamics and environments and respond appropriately. Having strong social awareness means you can interact with others appropriately and respond to their social cues including eye contact and body language.
Have you ever had the same conversation with someone over and over and over but nothing changes/the thing never gets done? This is most likely because while they are ‘hearing’ you, they aren’t ‘listening’. Active listening means being completely present with the person who is talking to you, and actively taking in and processing what they are saying. Good active listening involves asking questions to clarify and expand on their points, repeating back what they have said in your own words to confirm you have understood their point/request and maintaining eye contact.