My two years back at work since children have been a couple of the most successful of my entire career. I can assure you, that is not because I spent my career break enhancing my technical skills. It’s due to how I have learned to manage emotions day to day.
I put the lion’s share down to growing my EQ, or emotional intelligence muscles in my career break. Management texts now acknowledge coachability, motivation and temperament as much more predictive of hires’ success or failure. If you alienate your co-workers or can’t read situations, you are not going to get very far no matter how brilliant your coding or Scaled Agile project management is.
According to leadership IQ, 26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept feedback, 23% because they are unable to understand and manage emotions, 17% because they lack motivation to excel, 15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job, and only 11% because they lack the necessary skills.
EQ is More Than You Think
I can see this day after day. If you can’t connect with any customer/boss/employee, you cannot understand their pain points and tailor your delivery accordingly. EQ, however, can be referenced too narrowly; it is not just being nice to people.
Entrepreneur magazine says 90% of top performers have a high quotient of the four pillars of EQ: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
Training Ground at Home
I only improved in these areas after children:
I could handle emotional outbursts better because I had been handling toddlers. I managed my own stress level and reactions better because again, I had dealt with tantrums. Negotiating? All day, day after day. Stress management? I’d be six feet under if I hadn’t learned to manage my emotional baseline. Because my instincts had been tested with kids’ illnesses, ageing parents, managing family/school/household diaries my skills of prioritisation are now off the scale.
I can read people because I’ve got several more years of observing, listening for non-verbal cues. I know what’s urgent and what’s important. I can grit my teeth and crunch through the mundane stuff, knowing that the meatier challenges are ahead. I am a whizz with competing priorities.
Patience of a saint.
And you? I will hazard a guess you have similar expertise. By all means go out and do conversion courses, get industry experience and tech up but promise me, you won’t discount the bargaining power of your emotional antennae.
Companies don’t just encompass gender and ethnicity in their diversity quotients, but age and life stage too. That’s down to EQ. And you? You will be EXACTLY the same, before you even sit down to pen the “keywords” in your CV. Well done on developing your EQ during your career break.
Leadership IQ Why New Hires Fail