Written by Clay Smith
Emotional intelligence (EI) is important for healthcare leaders and is a skillset we can learn. The four domains of EI include: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
Why does this matter?
EI is associated with benefits in healthcare: “enhanced patient satisfaction, lower burnout, lower litigation risk, and enhanced leadership success.” Feist et al followed 80 UC Berkeley science graduates for 40 years and found, “emotional competencies were deemed fourfold more important than their IQ in determining their professional success.” EI matters!
Emotional Intelligence > IQ
Emotional intelligence defined
Emotional intelligence – the capacity to understand your own emotions and those of others with the goal of bringing positive change to the people you influence (modified from the article).
Four key domains of EI
Self-awareness – We are emotional people, and our emotions profoundly impact the way we think and act. Emotions are extremely powerful for good (or for bad). We can learn to be aware of our emotional state.
Comment: My advice is to also ask a trusted friend to help you see your blind spots when it comes to emotions.
Self-management – Once we recognize our emotions and the impact they have, we can proactively learn to control them, most importantly emotions that are hurtful and disruptive to ourselves and especially others.
Comment: Don’t be discouraged; obstacles and opposition are normal. Smooth sailing is a myth. Also, I am just going to say this out loud – I have had to get some help with my own emotions from an amazing professional counselor. It has been a game-changer for me personally, with my wife, with my children, and at work.
Social awareness – Other people have emotions too. We can learn to recognize the emotional state of others and understand their perspective. This is an amazing thing called empathy. On a macro level, sensing the emotional pulse of those within our organizations can help us interact with decision makers and grow in awareness of the politics around us.
Comment: The goal of empathy is to serve those around us, especially our patients. When we focus on this, a lot of decisions become crystal clear.
Relationship management – Recognizing the importance of emotions in ourselves and others, we can learn to harness the power of emotions to bring positive changes in the people around us through inspiration, vision, persuasion, conflict resolution, and building camaraderie and teamwork.
Leadership Essentials for the Chest Physician: Emotional Intelligence. Chest. 2020 Sep 19:S0012-3692(20)34514-1. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2020.09.093. Epub ahead of print.