Numerous studies over the past decade have shown the significant connection between emotional intelligence ("EQ") and high performance. In the first known study of EQ and work performance the US Air Force tested potential recruits for EQ abities – only hiring those with the highest degrees of EQ. Within the first year they reported a 92% cut to their financial loses due to higher employee performance and increased retention. A consensus of findings in the studies accumulated over the past years confirm that the most powerful EQ contributors to performance are:
- Awareness of other’s feelings
- The ability to manage emotions
- The ability to be realistic and put things in perspective
- The ability to have a positive disposition and outlook on life
As you can see, people with high levels of emotional intelligence control their emotions rather than allowing their emotions to control them. A study by TalentSmart found that 90% of the best performing employees posses the ability to stay calm under pressure. If you combine all of the most powerful EQ factors you have one incredibly smooth individual who greets stressful situations with unshakable equanimity. No wonder individuals with high degrees of EQ are most likely to be in leadership roles.
The ability to manage your emotions is no easy task but with practice it leads to an increase in your EQ, performance and career sucess. When clients were surveyed in relation to the most desired skills of trusted business advisors emotional intelligence significantly trumped technical knowledge.
Here are four tips, which if practised regularly will increase your overall EQ and in turn promote career success
1)Keep things in perspective
We cannot control everything that happens to us but we can control how we respond to adverse situations. The best way to respond to a stressful circumstance is to ask yourself “what is the worst case scenario as a result of this situation?” This allows you to keep perspective and not loose yourself in a whirlwind of stress. More often than not the worst case will not be loss of life or limb and you will be able to respond in a way that can help to resolve your situation, instead of making an impulsive over reaction. By getting into the habit of instantly asking yourself the worst case scenario question when faced with stress you can avoid an inefficient meltdown.
2) Remain positive
The key to a positive outlook is having a positive mindset. A positive mindset is half the battle to finding a solution to a stressful situation. Instead of giving up when faced with a potential hurdle think “where there is a will - there is a way”. Another great reason to remain positive is because positivity is contagious! Instead of mourning with the rest of the team due to a workplace disaster, be the positive vibe that brings everyone up. Remaining positive in the eye of the storm is a key leadership skill and something that encourages others to rely on you.
3) Get off grid
Working 24/7 damages your body and brain. It's just not possible to be productive when you never have a break. Research proves that productivity diminishes once you hit the 50 hour work week – so just don’t do it to yourself.
In today's connected world it's virtually impossible (no pun intended) to completely disappear - so to really get off grid, you need to switch off your phone and computer. Doing this for a specific timeframe every day can have wondrous results for your work and mental health. Just try for one hour a day, for one week to feel the difference. Control technology rather than allowing technology to control you.
The importance of breathing properly is undervalued. The best way to stay calm is to practice breathing on a daily basis. When we breath properly it promotes oxygen to the brain, allowing us to think with clarity. By simply breathing properly in stressful situations we trick our bodies into thinking we are relaxed - this then triggers our bodies natural relaxation responses, calming our mind, allowing us to asses the situation objectivly instead of through foggy stress tinted glasses. It may seem simple but you would be surprised how tense we become in stressful situations and forgetting to breath properly is rife amongst stress heads.
Just 6 seconds of mindfulness can make you more effective. The practice of mindfulness is now prescribed by the NHS to resolve stress related health issues which is ubiquitous amongst work professionals. Mindfulness focuses on developing a depth of self knowledge, the objective being self-mastery. When you can clearly and objectively see how you are triggered you can begin to effeictivley deploy emotional and mental strategies to skilfully navigate problem situations such as feelings of stress or anxiety.