When assessing someone’s capabilities, it is crucial to be aware of the measuring stick you use. For many decades, institutions have used intelligence quotient (IQ) as the most common barometer. While it has value, IQ doesn’t factor in essential qualities like self-awareness, social skills, self-regulation, and empathy. This is why emotional intelligence (EI) has gained notoriety.
In his book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ,” Daniel Goleman posits that more than two-thirds of the skills needed for success fall under the category of EI. Even so, EI must be viewed through the lens of gender, e.g., men and women process and express emotions very differently. You can purchase his book here.
Perhaps our blog title should read, “The Value of Appreciating Emotional Intelligence for High-Achieving Women.” You see, women already score higher on EI tests than men — regularly. However, in a society that traditionally values male qualities, the challenge is for women to own their EI power.
A recent large EI study involving 55,000 professionals from 90 countries found, for example, that women outpaced men in every EI category. The two sexes were ranked closest in self-control. However, female participants scored much higher in:
- Positive attitude
- Coaching and mentoring
Clearly, emotional intelligence is there in abundance. Women have more than enough of the skills needed to thrive as leaders. But if these skills are undervalued — by men, society, and women themselves — they cannot reach their full potential. The solution, of course, is not about women acting more “like men.” Rather, it involves a major shift toward appreciating what women bring to the table.
Women, EI, and Becoming Better Leaders
As touched on above, changes must happen within the system. But that definitely does not mean women must sit back and wait. On the contrary, they can inspire dramatic changes through their own choices. Here are some tips to begin doing this:
Continue to Develop Self-Awareness
This is the key to honing your leadership acumen. When you’re ready to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses honestly, you are better positioned to do the same for others. From there, a high-achieving woman can more easily develop cohesive teams while motivating co-workers and staff. If they see you turning vision into action, you become a role model.
Maintain and Increase Self-Control
This is the EI attribute most associated with men. Societal norms present the false perception that women are “too emotional.” Thus, enhancing self-control serves a dual purpose. You not only engage in self-improvement, but you help shatter long-held falsehoods.
Make Sure EI Skills Are Rewarded
Too many businesses are run on archaic programs. There are an infinite number of ways to measure the value and progress of employees. It’s not all about numbers and statistics. A workplace that honors emotional intelligence would give recognition to, for example, healthy communication, teamwork, and quality interpersonal styles.
Lead With Your Strength
In the realm of empathy, women tend to lap men several times over. Why not lean into that strength and be a role model for a more compassionate approach to business? While such an approach is viewed as challenging “conventional wisdom,” what it actually does is introduce powerful and transformative new elements into the workplace, e.g., flexibility, patience, awareness, and collective effort.
Contrary to popular belief and practice, emotional intelligence is a game-changer for high-achieving women. But this doesn’t change the reality that women face some unique obstacles as they rise to the top. If you feel like this journey has become overwhelming, it makes a lot of sense to ask for help! As a counseling practice that thrives on utilizing and valuing women’s EI, we’d love to help you harness yours for good! Reach out to us here. We’ve got you!