Studies show IQ can be important in certain professions, but people with high emotional intelligence might have a higher likelihood of success.
THE CHALLENGE: With so much attention paid to intelligence quotient, a high IQ must mean high levels of success, right? Maybe. Recent studies show IQ can be important in certain professions, people with high emotional intelligence might have a higher likelihood of success. In fact, according to a January 2014 article in Forbes, people with average IQs outperform people with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time, and the difference is widely attributed to EI.
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As a core domain of EI, it’s possible that relationship management might be key. But that’s much more than just being friendly to your co-workers; it requires strategic effort and intention.
How can physician leaders improve these skills and use them to their professional advantage? With a proper understanding of the key components of interdisciplinary relationship management, physicians can benefit tremendously. But many do not have access to resources to improve these skills.
- The best relationship managers are highly self-aware. By practicing self-regulation, leaders can gain an awareness of their own emotional states, in turn allowing them to be more cognizant of situations and more attuned to the emotions of the people around them.
- Self-awareness is key to communication and relationships. The “people skills” that emotionally intelligent individuals possess are also key to their ability to communicate and form relationships with the people around them.
- Effective communication fixes organizational woes. When an organization faces a challenge, the biggest asset a team can have is effective communication.
- Conflict can be productive. When practiced in an organization whose culture is based on open dialogue and relationships, conflict can play a productive role in company dynamics. Mood, tone and timing are all keys to productive conflict.
- Emotional intelligence can be improved. Like almost anything, EI can be improved with continuous practice of the appropriate skills. Mindfulness and self-reflection are two behaviors commonly associated with increased EI.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Emotionally intelligent individuals are good relationship managers; in turn, they are at a tremendous advantage when it comes to identifying with the people around them, communicating and leading the formation of interdisciplinary relationships in and outside their team.
Physician leaders can benefit from understanding the elements of EI, as well as learning tools to improve their own emotional intelligence so that they can use it effectively in their personal and professional lives.
Adapted from Interdisciplinary Relationship Management, part of the American Association for Physician Leadership’s comprehensive online curriculum. Learn more about our educational offerings and credentials at physicianleaders.org/education.