Speaking of Emotional Intelligence…

…which is what I was doing a little over a week ago at a conference for an organization called Extendicare. I spoke to a group of about a hundred dietary managers and program managers about navigating one’s work-life (and personal life) with emotional intelligence. This was connected to the concept of TGIM (thank goodness it’s Monday….or any other day of the week)…i.e. about being engaged with your work and dealing with the hurdles, the challenges, the ambiguity….no small feat!

I had a chance to meet with many of the participants before the presentation. As I walked around the room introducing myself, I asked people “how’s your work-life?” 

Nine out of 10 responses said the very same thing – literally in one word: “BUSY!!” It was as if they had rehearsed it! This particular group has been experiencing tremendous change over the past few years: new demands; more pressure; not enough time……yada, yada.

 Sound familiar? No matter what profession it seems this is true for anyone working these days….managing heavier workloads; faster paces; ambiguity…..and doing double duty with responsibilities in your home and personal life.

Work is getting harder. And it’s not likely to let up.

Ask Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of ‘Blink’ and ‘The Tipping Point’….or pick up a copy of today’s Globe and Mail. In an interview with a reporter from Report on Business, Gladwell says if you feel work is getting harder, you are not imagining it. The mental demands of the workplace are steadily growing — and we’re all going to have to smarten up if we want to succeed. As well, he said: “I’m quite prepared for the possibility that the next revolution is not going to come from a machine…..it’s going to come from creating a more thoughtful work force and giving people the opportunity to be thoughtful.”

Hmmmm. Sounds very ‘EQ-ish’. I fully agree that takes a whole bunch of smarts to cope with the demands and complexity of work (and life) today. Technical work smarts are important (and will always be) but they won’t be enough.  There’s a plethora of skills associated with social, interpersonal and emotional demands of today’s worklives. Fluency in these areas will be key indicators of one’ potential to cope and/or thrive as work (and life) gets harder.

Think this is just about soft skills? Think again….

Problem solving. Interpersonal skills. Self management. Resilience. Optimism. Empathy. Flexibility, social responsibility….and much more.

These are just a few areas within EQ that will need to be shored up in individuals and workplaces to cope, compete and survive work as work-life gets tougher, harder, faster…..

And the good news is these skills can be developed. EQ can be measured….and it is coachable. Smart companies will consider that in their leadership development, training and overall ‘people development’ programs. Yes, I know that is a self serving message given my line of work is very tied to EQ coaching (I coach leaders –of varying levels – and organizations on success and engagement issues)….but I truly believe it to be true.

I know in my own personal experiencing navigating my work-life (and personal life) that so much of my own growth and resilience has come from developing the EQ side of things.

Want to hear more, read more? For starters, see my article on EQ at Work in the “In the News” page of this blog; and get in touch with me if you are curious about how to measure and develop your own EQ and/or that of those you work with.

For now, let me leave you with a question or two: 

What is your workplace doing to support the development of more emotionally intelligence workforce? What are you doing individually to develop your own EQ? What difference would it make if those  you worked for and/or with had more EQ skills? What would it be like to navigate your work-life with more ease, joy and peace?

Comments always welcome….in the meantime, to a TGIM work-life…with EQ!


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