Good business: Rudy Miick on emotional intelligence

In his most recent column, Rudy Miick FCSI outlines the benefits of developing emotional intelligence and the return on investment it offers

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is consistently named among the top 10 most important leadership skills. And being emotionally intelligent is more challenging than knowing the concept.   

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to notice, and manage, an emotion bubbling up prior to the “acting out” of that emotion

With practice, EI becomes pro-active. As first feelings of emotion, EI provides the opportunity to share with an audience something akin to, “I can feel myself growing in frustration. Let’s shift (whatever needs to shift, language, tone, name calling, etc) and continue the discussion.”      

The positive impacts of emotional intelligence are tangible. Sales increase, staff/customer retention grows, frequency increases, engagement in staff performance and meeting participation becomes exponential. Dialogue, and decision making becomes more effective.  

These areas of improvement drive our client bottom line performance to what is consistently 3x – 5x times industry median norms. EI works.

Three steps to calm

So, how does one grow emotional intelligence as a skill?

Start by asking, “What triggers me?” In a meeting? In a presentation? At home? Pay attention. Be interested. Awareness grows. Emotional intelligence is not a “once and done” skill set. Being mindful, more aware, more awake, are three actions that evolve to “being conscious.” The more conscious each of us is, the more attentive we can be to focus on emotional intelligence.

Second, breathe consciously. Guiding breath is a powerful skill. Restricted breath is restricted life. Try this, a “complete breath.” As slowly and evenly as possible, first exhale as completely as possible. At similar speed, as slowly as possible, inhale completely. Do this “complete breath” exercise, as long and deeply as possible three to five times. My bet? You’ll find, a calm. You may hear sounds, or “see the room” differently. 

Third, notice what emotion you’re feeling and where in your body you’re feeling what you’re feeling.  

Emotional intelligence integrates these three steps and allows each of us to hear more clearly, allows us to stay calm even in conflict. We can literally be more interested by conflict or resistance than antagonized by it. You’ll find yourself, your team and your clients move more easily through resistance with almost any topic: Level 1: I don’t understand; Level 2: I don’t like it; Level 3: I don’t like you (projection).  

Reaping the rewards

Emotional intelligence supports connection and contact with clients or staff. In his book, Supercommunicators, Charles Duhigg offers the following: “Folks we’re speaking with (in any context) want to be “heard”, to be “held,” or, “helped.” EI skills assist greatly in this. 

Emotional Intelligence provides us with a conscious capability. Imagine effectively managing our emotions as we lead. It helps us to hold the ability to use and/or guide anger, sadness, frustration, joy, happiness, wonder and more. We get to do this in advance of “acting out” such emotions. 

The awareness and skillful application of our awareness assists us as leaders and facilitators. We get to know and guide ourselves, our clients, and our teams. With ever more clarity and skill we get what we want/need from ourselves in any given situation. We also get what we want/need from others in any given situation. Imagine the return on investment.

Rudy Miick FCSI is the founder and president of The Miick Companies, LLC.

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