EI, EI, Oh!
Is your emotional intelligence on target?
Insurance is a people business. If you doubt it, consider the emotion that rises to the surface during claims. This is where you can lose a customer—or secure one for life. It all hinges on your ability to be empathetic and create a connection. It depends on your emotional intelligence or EI.
Yes, while IQ measures your brain cell book smarts, EI quantifies how well you connect emotionally with others. EI actually encompasses multiple traits or core competencies, including (but certainly not limited to) optimism, transparency, adaptability, innovation, creativity, initiative and self-confidence. Some would argue it’s more important to success than IQ—and if you think about it, wouldn’t you rather partner with someone who “gets you” over someone who is simply a braniac? If interested, you can actually complete an assessment to gain more insight to your own EI, including Daniel Goleman’s Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI), Reuven Bar-On’s Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), and Dr. Laura Belsten’s Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile (SEIP).
Good news is that you can improve your EI. Here’s some suggestions from Harrison Monarth from his article, 5 Steps to Boost the Skills That Will Help You Better Connect to People.
- Learn the language. Understand what constitutes a strong EI and choose core skills you believe will be valued in your own organization and in your own life. Look to the links above to get started.
- Know thyself: Collect feedback. If your organization provides an anonymous evaluation tool, use it to see how you’re perceived.
- Narrow your focus. Don’t work on every EI skill; select one or two depending on your own goals. For example, managers may want to focus on behavioral self-control and empathy, while sales leaders may want to focus on innovation or creativity to help you create new pitches.
- Create your own board of directors. Choose two or three people who don’t compete or work directly with you. Ask for them to keep you accountable.
- Become a work in progress. If you’ve progressed in your first areas of focus, move to the next set of competencies. The momentum can generate even greater personal growth.