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Webinar report: Self-marketing – the magic workplace ingredient of emotional intelligence

In her second of four webinars on self-marketing, Joanna Gaudoin guided us through the subject of emotional intelligence (EQ).

Joanna explained what EQ is, why it matters and how we can develop our awareness and skills as an emotionally intelligent colleague.

Having worked in marketing and consultancy in large corporates, Joanna understands the business world and its challenges. In 2011, she established Inside Out Image, a consultancy firm specialising in workplace relationships and skills that are rarely taught in formal educational settings. Joanna’s clients include HSBC, RPC, Mastercard, Irwin Mitchell, Ashurst and Willis Towers Watson.

Going softly softly on ‘soft skills’

It may be termed a soft skill, but there’s hard evidence for the power of EQ.

As long ago as 1936, Dale Carnegie included an eye-popping study in his landmark book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

The study set out to discover why one engineering firm consistently generated higher revenues and profits than its rivals. It found that only 15% of this firm’s success was attributable to superior technical knowledge. The other 85% was down to the personalities of the firm’s people, their ability to lead others and the quality of their relationships internally and externally.

More recently, co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and co-founder of TalentSmartEQÒ Travis Bradberry found that EQ accounts for 58% of a person’s workplace effectiveness, regardless of the work they do.

Little surprise then that a great deal of research has gone into EQ and its potential to drive business success and personal growth. Among the growing body of work on the subject are Danial Goleman’s five pillars of emotional intelligence, which formed the centre-piece of Joanna’s presentation.

The five pillars of emotional intelligence

1. Self-awareness
Understanding yourself is the starting point of developing great EQ. When you make a point of seeing yourself through other people’s eye’s you’ll start to understand how they experience you as a colleague. Consider too, things and events that act as triggers for you, both positively and negatively. This will help you control your responses and influence how people see you. It’ll also inform how you improve other people’s perceptions of you. It’s not easy in a fast-paced environment but sometimes it’s important to slow down after a challenging event or confrontation and ask yourself what you’ll do better next time. Also, think about the balance of strength vs warmth you project in your interactions. Naturally, you’ll need vary these according to different circumstances but they key point is to be consciously aware of the messages you’re giving out and how you’re adapting them to every unique situation.

2. Self-regulation
Controlling how we respond to triggers at work is central to our EQ. When deadlines change, bad news emerges or simply when we’re having an off day, we can send out the wrong signals by the way we react to things others say or do. We need to be aware of the dangers of poor self-regulation and take time to build on our self-awareness. Having a workplace buddy who you can talk to can help you self-regulate, as can knowing – and being true to – your values. Remember, it’s important to remain accountable for your actions. Don’t rush to respond. Take time to think about your response so that it comes across as measured, appropriate and balanced. A good tip here is to concentrate first on the outcome you want, not on letting off steam. This will help you take negative emotion out of an interaction and increase the chances of a positive result.

3. Motivation
Motivation varies enormously between people. We may be just as determined to achieve things as our team members, yet for very different reasons. This is why understanding both yours and your colleagues’ motivation matters. It’s the basis of your understanding of others and their understanding of you. The five key drivers of motivation are:

Achievement – completing projects, winning promotion, reaching goals and being recognised for contributions to the organisation’s success;

Power – having authority to make decisions, building influence and gaining the respect of colleagues and peers across the wider industry sector;

Affiliation – feeling part of something important and having a sense of belonging. This is often powerful enough to deter people from moving to a higher paid role;

Security – especially meaningful for people who want a job for life. Can also be an unsettling motivation at times of organisational change or uncertainty; and

Adventure – a great motivator for people who thrive on change, new opportunities and the chance to learn new skills.

4. Empathy
Critical to empathy is active listening. Firstly, because it’s impossible to show understanding for a person if we haven’t grasped what’s concerning them. And secondly because listening carefully is, in itself, an act of empathy. Be aware, however, that being able to understand a person’s position on an issue doesn’t have to mean you agree with them. It means you’re prepared to give them time and space to express themselves, hear them out and acknowledge their feelings. Avoid jumping in too early with what you think – people can’t move on until they feel they’ve been listened to. This is especially true if someone is angry or upset. And remember too that, as well as listening and speaking, your body language, volume and tone of voice and eye contact will convey a great deal to others about how empathetic you are.

5. Social skills
If you’ve mastered the previous four pillars, it’s almost certain that your social skills are already excellent. The trick is to combine these skills with good communication and a genuine interest in other people. Think about the words you use – do people understand you? Do you come across as human? Does the way you speak (or write) make people feel valued? Bear in mind that different people respond to different types of approach. The best way to speak to an analytical introvert, for example, will be very different to that for a dominant extrovert. Always be ready to acknowledge the great things that a person has done, yet never shy away from having difficult conversations. Nobody enjoys these encounters, but how you conduct yourself in an awkward interaction will go a long way to showing how emotionally intelligent you are.

You’ll find more self-marketing tips and insights from Joanna in her book, Getting On: Making work work , which is currently discounted to £12.50 for CLL delegates using code CLL232. [discount valid until Friday 28 July]

The third webinar in this series titled 'Communicate yourself effectively at work' takes place on 9 October. Register here.

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