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Emotional intelligence is key

Nike Lawal offers you some self-improvement advice

August 2015

To be effective as a finance professional you need to be able to communicate effectively and have the ability to build strong, productive relationships that get the job done. All of this requires emotional intelligence. The origins of emotional intelligence can be traced to David McClelland’s landmark 1973 article ‘Testing for Competence rather than Intelligence’. The study identified that what differentiated the top 10% of performers from others was emotional intelligence – how we manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
And research over the past 40 years has demonstrated time and again that what distinguishes performance, and is the key factor in terms of progression as a leader and effectiveness at any level, is not technical ability or IQ but emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they are feeling and what their emotions mean (self awareness) and know how these emotions can affect other people and they are aware of how other people are feeling (social awareness). They are also able to:
• Manage their emotions so that they don’t negatively impact what they are trying to achieve (self management).
• Use their self-awareness, self-management and social awareness to manage their interactions with others in an effective way (relationship management).
The good news is that emotional intelligence is something we can all develop – it’s a skill.
Transactional Analysis (TA) is one of the many models and approaches we can use to develop our emotional intelligence. Don’t confuse it with transactional analysis in accounting terms – but there are some parallels. The accounting process starts by analysing the effect of transactions – any event that has a financial impact on a company.
TA is a communication model and psychological theory developed by psychologist Eric Berne in the 1950s. It is in effect an ‘analysis of transactions’: it gives us a language to interpret and analyse the ‘transactions’ or interactions with others and communication with ourselves. It’s a very simple tool to help us to decode tones, gestures, body language, facial expressions and micro expressions, so that we can manage ourselves and interactions with others in a considered way: an emotionally intelligent way to achieve our desired outcomes.
TA is a model increasingly being used within business as it enables us to diagnose very quickly what is going on in any ‘transaction’ (communication). Some people develop these skills from an early age and we call them ‘intuitive’. What we now know is it’s never too late to develop intuition!

• Nike Lawal is accredited coach for the Hay Group’s Emotional and Social Intelligence Competency Inventory (ESCI), and a director at Mindsight Coaching (UK)

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