Emotional Intelligence is defined as:
“The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” (Oxford Dictionary)
In an increasingly technology driven and digital age, where many customers will seek out options to self-serve using digital or bot-assisted channels as their primary communication method, there are fewer opportunities to have voice to voice or face to face interactions with your customers.
Additionally, with technological innovations taking care of an increasing number of simpler business transactions, our human-supported interactions are typically more challenging and complex. Studies show that customers are becoming less patient, more demanding and harder to please – often commencing their interaction already annoyed with their inability to manage their enquiry via a self-service channel.
Therefore, your team member’s ability to quickly understand your customer’s emotions and needs and adapt their own approach accordingly is the secret-sauce that will set your business apart and drive extreme customer loyalty.
EQ in Leadership & Management Roles
Verbal communication is a dying art – while as a society we are communicating more than we have ever before and consuming more information than any other time in human history – much of this is done via digital channels. Younger generations will choose sit in the same room and communicate via their devices rather than participating in a verbal interaction.
Further, the rise of a society where one is defined by their ‘profile’ over their real personality is driving a lack of self-awareness and emotional control across many generational groups.
The interpersonal art of conversation to draw out someone’s fears, wants, needs & desires, develop real rapport and establish trust is a critical skill for today’s leader or manager, however is harder to foster than ever before.
Research conducted by the Gallup Organisation indicates that most employees rate having a caring and understanding boss higher than fringe benefits or money. The research was conducted through interviewing over two million employees at 700 companies and found that the longevity of an employee’s time at a company as well as their level of productivity is directly influenced by the relationship they have with their immediate manager.
Practical Tips for Enhancing Your Team’s EQ
Studies indicate that higher levels of EQ in the leadership of a company has a direct impact on the retention of quality employees and productivity in the workplace.
There is no doubt that there is a significant benefit and an increasing necessity for EQ skills to be developed within your team in order to ensure both great leadership and customer loyalty.
The question then becomes, is EQ a natural skill or can it be learned?
Studies have shown that while some people are naturally gifted with a high EQ, the core elements that make up EQ (self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy and social skills) can be learnt or improved upon.
4 practical tips you can start using immediately to enhance the EQ in your team:
Test for EQ – understand your baseline and know who in your team has strong EQ skills
Talk about it – incorporate the language of emotional intelligence and the associated traits within your company, and celebrate demonstrations of strong EQ skills the same way you would strong technical skills
Recruit for EQ – make these capabilities part of your critical skills for customer facing and leadership roles
Train key team members – identify those key team members who would most benefit from enhancing their EQ skills and train them up!
About the Author
Frances Quinn is the Founder and CEO of Athena – a consulting firm specialising in driving operational excellence and customer experience through on-point strategy and masterful execution.