For decades, we’ve understood that emotional intelligence (or EQ) has the ability to predict success, especially when it comes to leadership roles. We’ve also known that EQ is linked inextricably to an individual’s unique personality.
While a variety of different personalities can have a high EQ, understanding how your personality plays into your EQ provides you with the information you need to perform at your highest level. And, when working with a team, this information allows you to adapt appropriately, providing your team with the strengths it needs you to bring.
Officially defined as “a form of intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and other's feeling and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions”, EQ works with personality traits in tandem. That means that if a leadership program fails to recognize issues with individual attitudes and behaviors, trying to improve “team EQ” will struggle to be effective.
The Relationship Between Personality and EQ
The entire tone of an organization is dictated by how the leader acts and behaves. Even if a leader is viewed as “successful” in terms of numbers or reports, if they exhibit negative personality traits while in the workplace, their ability to really lead effectively will suffer. Understanding what your personality is and what the habitual patterns that come with it are allows you to play to your strengths while strategically working to modify weaknesses.
In order to be the most effective leader possible, an individual needs to understand both their unique personality traits and their EQ strengths and weaknesses. Because subordinates will look up to their leaders, even emulating them, it’s critical that all leaders possess the ability to self-reflect, assess, and adapt.
4 Steps to Develop EQ in Leaders
While everyone has a starting place when it comes to EQ, there’s always room for growth and improvement. Anyone who wants to improve their EQ has the ability to do so. One of the most successful ways to increase the EQ of individuals in leadership positions is to follow these four proven steps: emotional perception, emotional assimilation, emotional understanding, and emotional management.
- Emotional perception refers to a heightened level of self-awareness. This means that the very first step in improving EQ is knowing how to accurately assess — and express — emotions.
- Being able to distinguish between different emotions is the foundation of emotional assimilation. The better an individual can understand and identify their unique emotions, the better they can understand how their emotions impact their environment and the people in it.
- Even more nuanced, achieving emotional understanding means that an individual not only understands complex emotions, but that they also understand that there are transitions between emotions.
- Emotional management is all about control, especially in terms of impulses and reactions. Putting knowledge into practice, individuals are able to assess the situation and respond in an effective, and rational, way.
As you work on increasing your EQ, becoming more aware of your unique personality traits and how they’re influenced by different situations and environments gives you the holistic tools you need to succeed in any setting, especially the workplace.
Choosing the Right Personality Assessment Tool
Any online search quickly reveals that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of personality assessment tools available to use.
The problem is that many of these tools don’t actually give you the insight you needs to be helpful, especially when you’re working to simultaneously enhance your EQ, too. Choosing the right personality assessment tool, then, is key for getting the practical, actionable steps you need.
When choosing a personality assessment tool for yourself, your team, or your organization, keep these features in mind. The right assessment tool should be able to check all of the boxes…
- One of the most important features of any effective personality assessment is that it is able to provide clear insights with usable results. That means that the feedback provided is easy to understand and communicate with others. In order for the results of an assessment to be useful, they need to become a common language for your team, office, or workplace.
- Another key feature of personality assessments is that the best ones ensure that introversion and extraversion are measured separately. By doing this, the test is able to erase much of the evaluative bias that so many personality tests fall victim from. Look for sample questions to be sure the test you’re selecting doesn’t elicit “forced-choice answers” (i.e. “Do you love to be a big parties or do you love staying home with a cup of tea?”). These answers are not only limiting, but they fail to recognize that many people would choose both depending on the circumstance.
- The personality assessment tool you choose should not use stereotypes of any kind. It’s important that the tool you use recognizes the depth of personality, measuring all of your personas by recognizing that behavior (and personality) changes from situation to situation. In general, there are three types of personas (underlying, everyday, and overextended), all of these should be integrated into your results — and without oversimplification.
- Because your needs are unique, a great personality assessment tool offers customizable options, such as individual reports and step-by-step solutions for teams.
- And, finally, your personality test should be credible. While there are a lot of “free and fast” options out there, you’ll want to use a test that you can trust, especially if you’re wanting to use the results to actually make improvements.
The personality test you choose needs to be able to measure all aspects of your personality — and at all times of the day.
When you find a test that is able to do this, you’ll know you’ve found one worth investing in.
If you are looking for ways to further develop yourself – your leaders– or the performance of your team – take our free Lumina Splash assessment right on your mobile device.