Tai is known around his office as a “people person” and is a well-liked sales manager. His interpersonal skills are energetic and fun, and he’s incredibly empathetic and supportive to his team. During his end-of-year reviews, his director always comments on his emotional intelligence as a strength. But when it comes to Tai’s team’s sales performance this year, he’s starting to fall a bit short compared to the other managers around him. His team’s numbers aren’t keeping up and he doesn’t know why. He feels like he’s always hearing how important EQ is, but now it’s failing him.
Tai is falling prey to a common misconception about EQ: he thinks it can be boiled down to likability, social skills, and empathy. In reality, EQ is made up of a broader set of competencies. While Tai and his director both see how well-liked he is and attribute this to a high EQ, Tai’s EQ is actually imbalanced in a way that’s hurting his performance.
How can Tai better recognize his blind spots? Like athletes watching footage of themselves after a game, or novelists using beta readers before they publish, the fastest way to improve your EQ skills is to get feedback from an outside perspective.
One way is to simply ask people around you what behaviors they see are getting in your way. One person’s perspective may be biased, but a group of observations can help level out biases. For Tai, this might mean asking members of his team or his director. The problem with this approach is that the questions he asks, his relationship with each person, and the way he asks his questions will influence the responses he receives.
A second way to try to improve is to watch how other people succeed. For Tai, he could compare his approach to that of more successful sales managers to see what it is that they’re doing well. The problem with this approach is that what works for one manager with one group of people may not work for Tai with his group.
A third way to get at your tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses is to take an emotional intelligence self-assessment (link) which helps you break down specific elements of emotional intelligence compared other working professionals so that you can better see what you’re doing well and which EQ behaviors to improve. Often, by breaking emotional intelligence down into its parts, you begin to see areas that need your attention or that you hadn’t considered previously.
Perhaps the best way to gather feedback is through a 360 assessment which evaluates both the way you see yourself and the way everyone around you sees you. Your leaders, colleagues, and direct reports assess you on the same emotional intelligence behaviors that you rate yourself on. They also write up comments on your emotional intelligence based on their experience working with you. The results allow you to draw a direct comparison between your self-evaluation and the way others see you. This brings your blind spots to life with both data and specific examples from work. For Tai, he will discover through a 360 assessment that while he’s brilliant at connecting with people, his team doesn’t feel like he really understands their long-term goals or gives them the tough feedback they need to grow.
From Insights to Actions. The good news when it comes to emotional intelligence is that research has proven it’s a highly learnable skill. When you assess your EQ, you immediately begin to build your awareness of your tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses, which all offer a means by which to practice and improve. For a leader like Tai who already has the trust and respect of his team, this heightened self-awareness will set him up to excel as a well-balanced, high EQ leader.
To learn more about emotional intelligence and TalentSmartEQ’s emotional intelligence products and services, contact TalentSmart at 888-818-SMART or visit us at www.talentsmart.com/contact/.