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Are you a cat, elephant, honey badger or golden retriever in your inter- and intrapersonal and professional relationships? Which one do you think is your ‘spirit animal’? Not sure? Try a fun yes/no quiz and then read up on your result.
If you’re a honey badger, you’re ambitious and driven. You’re also incredibly tenacious and you don’t take no for an answer. You manage relationships in a way that best benefits you – if someone’s useful, you are friends; if someone’s standing in your way, well, that might be a different story.
If you’re a cat, you’re probably an introvert, shy away from open plan, hate being micro-managed, like working solo and tend to not always be aware of others’ emotions and daily ups-and-downs. Relationships are on your terms.
If you’re an elephant, you’re a team player through and through, your EQ is sky-high, and you’re super tuned into others’ feelings and day-to-day happenings – to the point of distraction. You’re an empath – you tend to ‘absorb’ all the emotions of the people around you. You’re also an oracle of sorts – you give the best advice!
If you’re a golden retriever, you might be a bit of a people pleaser. This makes you an amazing team player but it also means you might struggle to say no sometimes. You’re acutely tuned into those around you, but you can rely a little too much on their affirmation to feel good about yourself.
That fun little exercise was meant to give a bit of insight into something very important: your emotional quotient (EQ). We’ve spoken about this before in this article. Essentially, your EQ is a measurement of your Emotional Intelligence (EI). Those with high EQ are very attuned to self: you’re aware of your own emotions and reactions to others. You’re also extremely aware of other people’s emotions, what’s happening in their lives, and how they respond to you when you interact.
As we mentioned in our previous blog, the World Economic Forum believes 90% of top-performers have high EQ – it’s a powerful indicator of success. It’s also something you can learn… which might be good news for the cats and honey badgers out there. It starts with something called personal mastery – knowing yourself. That’s effectively how you acquire the ultimate intelligence.
Personal mastery encompasses many things, from setting a vision for yourself and writing down goals, to prioritising tasks and establishing routines. Before any of this can be done, however, you need to get acquainted with…you. What makes you tick? Do you know what makes you happy, sad, mad, reflective, energized or passionate?
Harvard Business Review unpacks internal vs external self-awareness. Internal is all about understanding your values, drives, emotions and reactions. External is about your impact on others, how you influence and interact with your team.
Your main internal awareness question could be: Why do I react to people in the way I do? How can I consciously reach out to have more genuine interactions with others?
Your external awareness question might be: By letting other people’s emotions get to me, do I unconsciously project these on to my team?
You might want to ask: How do I sustain relationships with team members who don’t play any part in furthering my career but do care about my wellbeing?
You could question: How do I say no more in my interactions with others, in a way that’s constructive for both of us?
As a leader, emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in the way you influence and lead your team. As the person at the top, all eyes will be on you and your mood and attitude will have a profound impact on everyone around you. You must know yourself in order to control this. If you know you’re likely to react to a particular person in an irritable and aggressive way, you need to stop, take a deep breath, and reflect on how to convey a demeanor of calm when you meet the individual. If you know you’re guilty of always finding certain situations triggering, understand why, and find little rituals and routines that steady you and take the emotion out of the scenario.
Personal mastery. That’s what it’s all about. The most successful leaders are the ones who have this down-pat. Luckily, it’s something you can learn. Join us for a week-long course to get the journey underway.