Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, hearing with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.
Something went wrong. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. You prepared and rehearsed. The presentation was going fine until a confrontation occurred with a colleague. You disagreed, dug in, and held firm on your position. Then it happened: You were caught up in the moment and lost control. You failed to maintain composure when you needed it most. The consequence: self-inflicted harm.
From that point forward, it’s likely someone in the room was assessing you in the vocabulary of personal judgments. You are great in a scripted presentation, but can become unglued when provoked. Do you want colleagues to see you as calm, cool, and collected, or overly emotional and out of control? Ask yourself, “What is the consequence of that interaction?" If you are not tuned in to your own emotions, it’s difficult to tune in to others’. It's time to measure and devise a plan to improve your emotional intelligence.
Consider the IQ/EQ iceberg: : 10% of your visible traits are rooted in IQ and represent skills others see. 90% below the surface are attributes they can’t; which determine your EQ, or emotional intelligence. EQ is revealed in your behavior; driven by the ability to control your emotions. This is where credibility and respect are either gained or lost. The good news is these traits can be identified and improved.
Part of my coaching practice is to identify what is below the surface and help others recognize the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. Asking someone to self-reflect is a humbling process. However, it’s essential to discover why you think, say, and do certain things, then devise a plan to improve yourself.
These are not presentation or speaking skills exposed in a prepared or rehearsed presentation. The use of the character traits below the surface happen spontaneously and in unexpected places. To improve your skill set above the water mark, seek to develop those below the surface.
A great deal has been written about Emotional Intelligence over the years. However, I know very few who take the time to develop it. Like any exercise, the first step can be the hardest. However, it's worth your time and effort. Surrounded by people with an abundance of talent, what's your competitive advantage to climb that career ladder? Many great business people, athletes, and performers feel their edge comes from below the surface. By being in touch with their inner selves, they feel those traits below the water drive them them to superior performance. By connecting better to your own emotions, you improve the likelihood of being better connected to others.
To initiate this project in self-discovery: Start with the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Read it, internalize it, take the assessment when you are finished, and relate it to the quad above. You'll learn a lot about yourself. You'll then re-take the assessment at a later date. You'll learn even more. Build that foundation for improved communication and accelerated career ascents.