“Leveraging Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Superpowers” was written by Jill Hauwiller.
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is an important characteristic of those who are successful in the workplace. According to the Harvard Business Review, EQ is what sets apart nearly 90 percent of high performers from their peers with similar technical skills. But in the field of engineering, which is data-driven, focused on factual information, and male-dominated, the idea of anything “emotional” might be met with skepticism.
So how can you embrace your EQ to improve your team, business, and personal results? By developing and leveraging the natural EQ superpowers found in women in the workplace.
What are those superpowers? The best-in-class EQ assessment tool, the EQ-i 2.0, identifies and measures 15 EQ-related characteristics. Of these there are three skills that are statistically stronger skills for women: empathy, emotional expression, and self-awareness. That means that as a woman in business, these may be natural strengths that you bring to the work environment.
But what does that mean? How can you use those superpowers at work? Here are three ways you can use these strengths for the benefit of your organization and your career:
Bring a wider perspective to problem solving through empathy.
As an engineer, you’re designing and building solutions that will be used by others. If you have and can tap into your empathy, which is your ability to see things from another person’s point of view, you can better relate to how that internal or external customer might experience the product or solution, resulting in a better output.
Ensure your voice is heard through thoughtful emotional expression.
A well-developed superpower of emotional expression enables you to articulate both your position on a topic and your feelings about a situation in an authentic, passionate, and professional manner. Yet a study by BYU and Princeton found that 75% of the conversation in meetings is dominated by men. Your thoughts need to be heard for the good of the business and your career—feel confident in sharing your knowledge, and don’t hold back in challenging dialogue or situations.
Manage your reactions—and the use of your other EQ superpowers—through self-awareness.
Self-awareness means that you have clarity on your strengths and weaknesses, and that you understand how your emotions impact your behavior in the workplace, and therefore your workplace relationships. By developing your self-awareness superpower, you’re better able to understand how you act and interact. There’s an authenticity that inherently comes with that knowledge, and authenticity improves our ability to influence others. Also, this particular superpower is important to develop to help us make sure that we don’t overuse empathy and emotional expression to the point that they become a liability or hinder your effectiveness.
Now it’s fair that you might feel hesitant about putting these superpowers on display in a male-dominated engineering environment. That’s where situational awareness comes into play: with strong EQ can you adapt given the situation, and still authentically leverage these skills. The intended outcome is not that you stand out as being different, but rather in a way that benefits the business and makes you successful. What does that success look like? Better team results of course, as well as increased personal engagement with your work, and the perception of you as a strong leader, which can lead to new career opportunities.
So don’t keep that EQ superhero cape hidden away. Your powers are needed in the engineering field. By showing up with empathy, emotional expression, and self-awareness, you have the opportunity to bring your best self, and see the best results, for your customers, colleagues, and yourself.
About the author:
Jill Hauwiller is the Founder of and Principal Consultant at Leadership Refinery, and a Forbes Coaches Council Member. For nearly 20 years, Jill has been helping individuals and organizations reach their full potential, working in various Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Human Resources roles for Fortune 500 corporations. In every environment, she is able to assess and develop talent, work globally, and leave a lasting impact on her clients and teams.