Emotional Intelligence Identity
Who are you? It’s a question we may have heard before, typically while visiting somewhere new. If you have ever been to networking or conference events, you arrive at the front desk and are greeted with rows of badges of attendees, one of which belongs to you. In order to match you with that badge, the person at the desk asks you that question, “who are you?” The usual reply is simple: your name. If the person wants to discover more, they’ll follow it up with “what do you do?” This is reflective of how most of us see our identities; we wrap it up in our name and maybe what we do as a job or hobby. But our identity is much deeper and richer than that. This week’s blog aims to help us recognise the importance of our ‘emotional intelligence identity’. When we truly know who we are, who others are, and how we connect the two, we will find ourselves much happier with who we are, more resilient in the face of challenges, and better able to effectively connect with others.
“Knowing me, knowing you, a-ha”. This phrase will, for many, evoke memories of ABBA or of Alan Partridge, depending on your musical or comedy tastes. However, as well as a catchy lyric, it also sits at the heart of our emotional intelligence identity. It starts by really knowing yourself. At Everyday Leader, in our work with coaching clients, we help them explore their identity. We help them discover their purpose, values and strengths.
By identifying their purpose, we better understand what drives all the things they love doing, and what brings them and others joy. Simon Sinek described it beautifully when he talked about knowing your ‘why’. When you are clear on your purpose it helps you realise what things energise you. As a result, when you feel a lack of energy or joy, it is likely that you have not been doing enough things that fulfil your purpose. Understanding what your purpose is also helps you understand that your job is just a vehicle for your achieving that purpose.
At Everyday Leader, we also explore the values that mean the most to you. This is knowing your ‘how’. When you know your values, you can understand what is important to you and, therefore, what things can grate with you and cause tension when they are not in alignment or when someone is operating in opposition to them. I know that my core values are authenticity and integrity. So, when someone is inauthentic with me – says one thing to my face and another thing to others – it grates. When someone acts without integrity – breaks the rules in order to make a gain for themselves, or lies or cheats – it grates. Knowing your values then helps you gain a greater self-awareness as to why certain things annoy you to such a great extent. It also helps you realise why certain experiences or jobs bring you such joy.
Lastly, understanding your ‘emotional intelligence identity’ is about knowing your strengths. The brain is hard-wired to look out for negatives and to be aware of threats. Therefore, we are all too ready to find our weaknesses and dwell on them. However, our work with clients has helped them to see the impact of working from their strengths. They can identify what they could bring to situations and can also use the knowledge to recognise when a strength is overplaying and may, in fact, be hindering them. Using the Strengthsfinder assessment, it helps them see their top 5 strengths that energise them. Research has shown the impact of being a strength-based organisation. Gallup did a 26-year study which highlighted that those who worked in a strengths-based organisation had 73% engagement as opposed to 9% in other organisations. Similarly, Judge & Hurst did a 25-year study with 76,000 young people which saw the positive impact of utilising strengths on salary and health. Strength-focused people earned, on average, a £12k higher salary. In contrast, those not strength-focused employees were three times more likely to have health problems at the end of the study. When you are operating within your strengths, it energises you. Knowing your strengths and using them enables you to develop your emotionally intelligent identity.
Once you know yourself, you can then begin to cast the same approach towards others. What is their purpose? What do they love doing? What are their values? What are they passionate about? What are their strengths? We then begin to see actions from them not as a personal dig at us, but as them working their identity out. We can better understand their perspective. Our work with teams has been illuminating. Colleagues have developed a much richer understanding of each other and their motives. In turn, they then begin to see each other as people and develop trust. This trust is the bedrock of an effective team.
This is when the ‘a-ha’ moment comes to fruition. When we understand ourselves and others, we find our points of connection and build bridges from there. It is where our individual identities build bridges and connection to create the team identity and cultural identity. It doesn’t happen by accident. It is about being purposeful and helping your team see the connection of purpose, values and strengths. How have your ‘a-ha’ moments been? Is it time to generate them? Just imagine what a true understanding of identity could mean for you and your team.
Can we help you?
Sometimes a team needs help to form a stronger team identity. As this blog has explained, it starts from knowing yourself and then knowing others. If you need someone from outside of the team to help you, we are here to help. Colin can work with you and your team to get a clear picture and facilitate getting to know one another and build that team identity. Give us a call if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you and your team.
Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you to do that. If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, training or consultancy, do let us know if we can be of help to you. Contact us now: firstname.lastname@example.org