Nelson Mandela once said: “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
When Martin Luther King Jnr delivered his dream, he promised that a land “sweltering with the heat of oppression” could be “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”
These two quotes have one thing in common: they each contain language that is both evocative and, crucially, emotive and both men were masters of their own emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence affects the everyday decisions and actions that people take, whether it be at home or in the work place, such as who to hire (or fire) and who to promote. It is, according to the World Economic Forum, the sixth most valuable skill that employees will need to possess in the future.
Another survey showed that 71% of employers said they place greater value on emotional intelligence over an individual’s IQ.
In fact, the results of a study published in Forbes magazine found that 90% of top performers score equally high in emotional intelligence. But what makes someone more emotionally intelligent than another person?
I call it the ability to fill up the emotional soup bowl.
Those with a high degree of emotional intelligence not only have higher levels of motivation and focus on what needs to be done, they have a greater ability to recognise and empathise with other people’s viewpoints.
This is critical in avoiding conflict but also enhancing communication within teams, relationships (personal and professional) and trust, in addition to personal development.
We have seen this in our own business. Operating in one of the most competitive and high demand sectors there is, we recognise that the challenges and pressures we face are very similar to any other.
Our experience shows that those Line Managers who seem approachable, trustworthy, supportive and empathetic towards their teams soon find that these are the people who are more than prepared to roll-up their sleeves and do battle alongside their superiors.
Filling up the emotional soup bowl is the very definition of reciprocation. As BC Forbes said: “The bargain that yields mutual satisfaction is the only one that is apt to be repeated.” Emotional intelligence is not simply about having desirable moral qualities. It creates more effective leaders and better teams – people who are more engaged, valued and committed to the organisation.
At a time when competition between organisations is at its most intense, emotional intelligence could be the key differentiator that enables you to stay ahead of the curve, and part of this is understanding that if you continue to take from the emotional soup bowl, you will inevitably need to put back into the emotional soup bowl.