Increasing one’s self awareness is the foundation for building strong leadership skills, and in my opinion is a continuous lifelong journey. There are some tried and true ways of increasing self awareness, such as uncovering your blindspots (as mentioned in a previous blog post) and taking advantage of a myriad of self assessments to learn more about leveraging your strengths and mitigating your weaknesses. One such assessment tool that I’ve found helpful is the EQi. It assesses emotional intelligence.
Above and beyond cognitive intelligence (IQ), we’ve all heard how important emotional intelligence is for both personal and professional success. As Daniel Goleman says,
“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
But what does emotional intelligence really mean? In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that establish how well we:
- Perceive and express ourselves
- Develop and maintain social relationships
- Cope with challenges
- Use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way
The EQi assessment can help you understand how well developed your skills are in the following areas:
Self-perception includes elements such as: self-regard, self-actualization, and emotional self awareness. Questions that might help you further explore your self perception, might be: Do I feel self-confident? Do I consistently focus on my own continuous development? Do I fully understand my emotions? Are there times when I don’t understand my emotions? Interestingly enough, in their book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 , Bradberry and Greaves reported that in a test of 500,000 people, only 36% of people were able to accurately identify their emotions as they happened.
Self-expression consists of emotional expression, assertiveness, and independence. Questions that can help you explore your self-expression skills might include: How often do I actually say how I feel? Do I feel comfortable standing up for myself? How well do I stand on my own two feet?
Interpersonal Skills is the part of emotional intelligence that delves into your social skills and includes: interpersonal relationships, empathy, and social responsibilities. You might ask yourself: How easily do I develop and maintain good relationships? Do I recognize and appreciate how others feel? Am I actively following up on commitments I make with others and contributing to society?
Decision Making consists of problem solving, reality testing and impulse control. Questions to ask yourself include: Am I effectively managing my emotions when I solve problems? Am I seeing things as they really are or is my perception clouded by my emotions? Am I able to resist or delay impulses?
Stress Management includes flexibility, stress tolerance and optimism. For this part of emotional intelligence, you might explore the following questions: Am I able to adapt to change effectively? How am I coping with stressful situations? Do I tend to have a positive or negative outlook?
The good news about emotional intelligence is that it is not static. You can become more skilled at it! You can actually identify areas of weakness or potential blindspots and with focus and work, improve them.
Interested in exploring EQi, or other assessments like DiSC, Talent Insights, or StrengthsFinder? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Join me this year as we explore leadership competencies that are vital for success in any leadership role. April through June, I’ll be writing about personal leadership and invite your comments.