There are many measures of SUCCESS and even more ways to define it, but one thing is certain: polished skill in emotional intelligence (EQ) can function as a key enabler of it. We used to think that our IQ scores held great importance and up to a score of about 115/100 they probably do, but past that point, research shows that it can be our EQ that gives us a competitive edge over a Mensa genius.This suggests for example, that even if our strategic acumen is through the roof, the best way to ensure realised achievement is to add people skills to our arsenal. Gone are the days of the raucous dictator, of knee-jerk reactions, and ego-driven argumentation. Enter instead, the tactical grace of emotional intelligence, which can be defined as the ability to recognise, understand, strategically use, and most importantly, ‘manage’ one’s emotions and those of others.

EQ aims to accomplish a win by engaging in quality, mutually beneficial relationships. In April 2016, Josh Freedman, co-author of the State of the Heartstudy and Chief Executive of Six Seconds, observed, “The bad news is emotional intelligence continues to decline globally. I hypothesise this is due to growing stress and chaos in the world – maybe that’s also why the analysis found that emotional intelligence is essential for top performance.” Can we grow and develop EQ? Absolutely.

Following are 3 ways successful leaders translate this capability into real-time application.

  • Focus on self-awareness:

Leaders with emotional intelligence have a heightened capacity to recognise emotional states and continually scan the interactive climate. Aware of their own defensive reactions, they are practised at transforming them, in the moment, to responses of a more constructive nature, shifting to empathy or curiosity. In doing so, they have an effect on the conversation and the results that follow. Leaders with underdeveloped EQ skills often find themselves slaves to gut reactions, which burn bridges and diminish their capacity to build effective relationships or to have a constructive influence on a discussion.

  • Apply common traits:

Business leaders proficient at EQ share similar qualities:They take responsibility for their own defensive emotions, with no finger pointing or blame.They work to identify, acknowledge, and accept their personal conflict triggers and are practised at managing them.They train themselves to anticipate rough water in vital meetings and create a premeditated plan for how to stay afloat, objective, and in control, while helping others do the same.

  • Concentrate on objectivity:

Exercising EQ serves to tether interactions to a focus on solutions, common goals and productive results, bypassing the predictable inefficiencies of personal conflict.Through EQ and self-management, leaders diffuse and ease the tense situations that waste time, bruise relationships, and are counter-productive.This generates a group sense of personal safety, opening the door for collaboration, innovation, and co-operation.

Leaders with emotional intelligence are better able to build effective relationships, the very framework that supports successful business results.