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The Key to Success and Happiness: Emotional Intelligence

Posted by Richard Bracken on May 15, 2018 8:27:59 PM

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Minimize the gap between outstanding and average performance.

In our wonderful association, there is a premium on strategic and tactical knowledge to help us in our day-to-day efforts. From social media tips and business development strategies to AI and PR, we are constantly arming ourselves with the industry knowledge to make our attorneys and our firms as strong as possible. 

In that pursuit of knowledge, however, is there stress? Are there communication breakdowns? How about passive aggressiveness?

There is one massive “soft skill” that will dramatically improve your career path, enhance your team and, most importantly, enhance you as a person and businessperson — and even improve your non-work life, too.

For almost 30 years, psychologists and clinicians have been testing and analyzing a dynamic we all possess that affects all of our daily interactions: emotional intelligence. Sometimes called “EQ,” emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Studies have shown some impressive statistics and correlations with having a high EQ:

  • People with average IQs outperform people with high IQs 70 percent of the time.
  • EQ accounts for about 58 percent of performance in most jobs.
  • People with high EQ make $29,000 more than people with low EQ, on average.
  • EQ point increases are highly correlated with salary ($1,300 increase per point).

Broken down into two main competencies, personal competence and social competence, EQ is made up of four primary areas of focus within those two main competencies.

Personal Competence

Self-Awareness − People high in self-awareness understand what they do well, what motivates and satisfies them, and what people and situations push their buttons. This is the foundational emotional intelligence skill.

Self-Management − Self-Management is having the ability to be flexible in a situation. High EQ individuals are much more aware of their emotions and direct them in a constructive, positive manner. By being more aware of your emotions and triggers, you will portray a calm persona.

Social Competence

Social Awareness − People with a high Social Awareness score are adept at identifying emotions and reactions in others even if they don’t feel the same way as the person to whom they’re talking. Listening and observing are critical to a high EQ, and critical when working with your attorneys and teammates.

Relationship Management − Relationship Management is a combination of the three previous characteristics combined into one. When you are well aware of your own emotions, as well as those of the individuals with whom you’re interacting, you will possess a greater ability to manage the interaction and achieve ideal results.

Being more in tune with your emotional balance will help you to not only navigate your own day more effectively, but will enhance your understanding and communication with your team, your attorneys and everyone else in your life. Especially if you aspire to be a leader in an organization, 90 percent of the difference between outstanding and average performance is linked to a lack of emotional competence.

The best part about EQ is that you are in control of it and you can raise it with your own focus. This isn’t a tricky, data-driven, back-end analytic concept for which you have to take 10 workshops and a textbook; this is you!

While there are numerous skills you can spend time on to enhance your practice, emotional intelligence is one you can and should practice all of the time with any situation you face.

I’m excited to share additional tips and tricks on how to practice and enhance your EQ during my session at the P3 – The Practice Innovation Conference in Chicago on Wednesday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to noon. If you can’t join us at P3, I would be happy to speak to your regional or city group about effective methods of EQ enhancement.


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Richard (Rich) Bracken, a business development manager at Stinson Leonard Street, is an expert in providing client growth and service approaches. He is also the chair of the LMA Kansas City Local Group, a frequent speaker on leadership and self-improvement and a regular host on Fox 4 News in Kansas City. Learn more about Rich on richbracken.com where you can link to his Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

Topics: Marketing Management and Leadership

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