It's not as hot a buzz phrase as it was a few years back, but emotional intelligence is still seen by many experts as a prime quality of. Have you checked your EQ lately? Take this quiz and see how you're doing:
1. Lara has potential and means well, but even with coaching she makes mistakes that get in the way. What would you do?
a. Keep coaching her; she'll learn.
b. Tell her she needs to shape up or face discipline.
c. Be firm, but imagine how I'd feel if I were in her place.
d. Be hands-off; let the chips fall where they may.
2. Marcus is caring for a child with special needs, and his co-workers have to pick up his slack. What would you do?
a. Reassign duties—even against his wishes—so important work gets done.
b. Give him a break; his life is hard enough.
c. Work with him to flex a schedule.
d. Ask if he's ever going to be able to meet expectations.
3. Natasha's in a high-pressure position, and she's missed work a lot lately with headaches and back pain. What would you do?
a. Help her find ways to better cope with the stress.
b. Nothing—if she's sick, she's sick.
c. Ask if she needs to be reassigned.
d. Remind her that success requires better attendance.
4. Orville gets results, but people say he's a taskmaster and dictator. What would you do?
a. Tell them results are what matters.
b. Tell Orville he needs to clean up his act.
c. Ask for examples of problems Orville causes.
d. Ask Orville what he thinks about the others.
What do your answers mean?
People with high EQ can employ a range of emotional reactions, depending on what will work best. Nevertheless, it's best for leaders to strive to be neither too soft nor too hard if they want to be just right.
1. Being soft on Lara, a, may be insensitive to the team members who have to deal with her errors. But b is too tough, and d's detachment helps neither Lana nor the team. C is the best middle ground.
2. B, c and d all presume, in one way or another, that Marcus is the best judge of his own abilities in this situation, and thus they all potentially add to his stress. As long as Marcus doesn't actually suffer adverse job consequences, a may be the best bet.
3. A is the strategy that would produce the best long-term results for both Natasha and the team. While b, c and d represent different levels of emotional investment, none of them is particularly helpful to Natasha.
4. D should be your first move, since Orville may think the others are lazy or uncooperative—and he may be right. C is a necessary problem-solving step, but you'll still need to hear Orville's side (and get specific examples from him). A and b both mean taking sides, which is what you're trying to avoid.