Workplace environments are fast-paced by nature. It’s easy to make decisions too quickly or lose sight of your goals.
Most of us assume we don’t have time to stop and think about being a leader, when we’re already so busy with the actual leading.
But evaluating your role in the workplace might be more important than you’d think.
We’ve all heard of IQ, but there’s another kind of intelligence that plays a huge role in every aspect of life, including the workplace: emotional intelligence, known as EQ.
Continue reading to learn what EQ is and why it’s important in the workplace.
What is EQ?
Essentially, your EQ is the ability to navigate and manage emotions — both yours and others’.
Dan Goleman, the psychologist who popularized the concept of EQ, split emotional intelligence into four major components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills.
Deep awareness within all four categories fuels many of the characteristics you’d associate with a leader: patience, compassion, honesty and empathy.
So, what are the four categories? How are they different? How do they play out in the workplace?
Self-awareness is how well you know yourself — how you understand your strengths and weaknesses. People with self-awareness understand their own emotions and can ask evaluatory questions about them (“Is this a good or bad emotion?”) and about how the implications might affect their team.
In PR, it’s important to understand the effects of your emotion on a group, or how emotions might interfere with your work. Recognizing emotions is not synonymous with acting on them, but when you’re self-aware enough to understand what’s happening — if you acknowledge your feelings rather than bury them — you have a head start on addressing and dealing with your workload.
Self-management is self-control. It’s the art of managing the expectations you set for yourself, understanding what your environment is asking from you and subsequently acting in a trustworthy, innovative, self-assured way. Essentially, you're acting on self-awareness.
When you’re fully in control of the things you say and do, you reduce the chance of slipping up or acting out of line with your own values. Self-management helps us maintain honesty in PR. More than anything it gives us a chance to act in line with our values.
Social Awareness (Recognition)
Social awareness is the understanding of the emotions of those around you. It’s a counterpart to self-awareness, using empathy for others as a way to understand them.
Social awareness, in itself, is not an action, but a mindset, one that takes hold the strongest when you treat the people around you as individuals.
In PR, this can mean everything from understanding the emotions of your client to understanding how your every member of your staff processes things differently. It’s the recognition that everyone has different strengths, and every strength is contextually unique.
Social Skills (Regulation)
If self-management reflects is the counterpart to self-awareness, social skills are the way we regulate our social awareness.
People with good social skills are often gifted leaders and communicators. They set examples for those around them and successfully rally others behind a cause. They emphasize developing others’ skills, building bonds and recognizing the value of collaborative work. This leads to divergent thinking and daily fun in an office setting, which uplifts the whole group.
Social skills aren’t merely accidental; rather, they’re the product of a careful observer who recognizes coworkers and friends as socially and emotionally unique, and understands the impact of acting on this observation.
Those with good social skills also make efforts to bridge the empathy gap, an important aspect of connecting in the workplace. Check out this video from Inc., which speaks candidly on the subject.
Tying it Together
All of these components comprise EQ, sometimes so smoothly they are undetectable.
People with high EQs are great mentors for incoming members of workplace staff, and they’re great learners, too. Building and maintaining relationships is one of the most important parts of PR, and pros with high EQs are exceptional at cultivating talent, energy and enthusiasm.
And the greatest news is, your EQ is always malleable. Improving yourself ultimately leads to improving your workplace, a goal to which all professionals should aspire.