Soft Skills for Business Analysts: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional competence is the single most important personal quality that each of us must develop and access to experience a breakthrough.  Only through managing our emotions can we access our intellect and technical competence. An emotionally competent person performs better under pressure.  - Dave Lennick, Executive VP, American Express Financial Advisers

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a heavily-touted skill amongst managers.

This is undoubtedly so because it helps in the development of a consortium of skills necessary for attaining and sustaining a leadership role. As a follow-up to the piece on Emotional Intelligence & The Business Analyst, this article describes the characteristics of an emotionally intelligent person and prescribes an approach for developing your emotional intelligence.

Explore the characteristics below to see how emotionally intelligent you are:

1. An emotionally intelligent person practises participative management. This involves seeking input from others and taking their ideas into consideration before a major change initiative is undertaken. Leaders who have this quality are usually able to relate better to others, quash project resistance and foster lasting relationships over time.

2. An emotionally intelligent person is good at putting others at ease. A huge part of emotional intelligence is ensuring that others feel at ease with themselves when they are around you. People who display a strong EQ can control their anger and other emotions without putting the other person on edge. Emotionally intelligent leaders are comfortable in their own abilities, respond positively to criticism and are not overly defensive when confronted.

3. An emotionally intelligent person is self-aware. This has to do with understanding one's strengths and weaknesses enough to control impulses and tolerate stress. Getting unduly anxious is an indication that you are not sufficiently self-aware. Since your feelings and attitude can have a strong effect on those around you, it is in the best interest of everyone (including you) to watch what you say and how you behave.

Emotionally intelligent individuals appear composed during situations of high stress. Poor impulse control can easily translate to being unable to control your emotions.

4. An emotionally intelligent person understands that people work better when they are appreciated and are therefore supportive of them while encouraging them to perform better and meet their objectives within a calm environment.

To keep a tab on your level of emotional intelligence, know your weaknesses, seek ongoing feedback from those around you, reflect on your situation and take the time to learn from any unsettling incidents you may have gone through in the past. Once you understand the areas that need improvement, define the changes you would like to see in yourself and consciously try to improve on these areas.

As with everything else, practice makes perfect.