People & Places

Emotional Intelligence: Bettering yourself as an employee and as a leader

Much more to it than just 'people skills'

Gale Mote portrait shoot at KTOS. 22 Jan 2013, (Contributed photo)
Gale Mote portrait shoot at KTOS. 22 Jan 2013, (Contributed photo)

We’ve all heard the old adage “Work smarter, not harder.” But sometimes working smarter doesn’t equate to book smarts or intelligence, but to emotional intelligence and how well you work with other people.

Gale Mote is a local speaker who presents workshops around the country on emotional intelligence.

“The important thing to realize is that we all can improve,” Mote said. “People often think about emotional intelligence like people skills. That if you’re emotionally intelligent, then you have really good people skills.” She said that is certainly part of it, but there’s much more to it. Unlike your personality that is more ingrained from childhood, “emotional intelligence includes behavioral traits that you and I can practice. With discipline and focus and repetition, we can develop the neurons in our brains to make new connections and react differently than we have in the past.”

“If you were to take a Myers-Briggs assessment, a Colors personality test or another personality test, you’ll get the same result,” she said. “That’s where I get really excited about emotional intelligence. People will say, ‘I’m just not a people person or a self-starter,’ and I’ll say, ‘You don’t have to be because you can learn those things.’ Unlike your personality or your IQ, your emotional intelligence is a pliable, malleable thing that everyone can get better at.”

Mote said it is estimated that 25 percent to 30 percent of one’s success at work is tied to one’s emotional intelligence. “So whether you’re a physician or an accountant or a receptionist or on the manufacturing shop floor, about a third of your success is going to be directly tied to these skills.”

Mote will give a leadership workshop on emotional intelligence at HER: Women in Business luncheon in Fairfield on April 25.

When asked, Mote is able to recommend several books that can provide insight to those looking to learn more about emotional intelligence.

“I have several favorites. One is ‘The EQ Edge’ by Steven J. Stein and Howard E. Book. There are a lot of books out there, but that particular assessment is, in my mind, the most robust and highly validated and reliable in terms of its output. Every chapter is an EQ skill, and they give you practical tips on how you can develop it.”

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A second book she recommends is ‘The Ideal Team Player’ by Patrick Lencioni. “One of the keys of being an ideal team player is being smart, but not IQ smart, emotionally intelligent smart.”

She also recommends ‘The Outward Mindset’ by the Arbinger Institute. “One of the EQ skills we talk about is social responsibility, working for the greater good. My whole thing on leadership is you don’t have to be in the C-Suite to be a leader. You have to be thinking about the bigger picture and how what you do impacts others. That’s a big part of emotional intelligence, seeing beyond ourselves. It can eliminate a lot of the blame and silos and frustration that come into a lot of organizations when people get isolated and inward focused.”

A final book recommendation is ‘Fierce Conversations’ by Susan Scott. “It’s critical to interpersonal relationships to be able to be assertive and have a voice. I think she does an excellent job of helping people understand how they can engage in really robust conversations on things that matter.”

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