The Importance of Emotional Intelligence When Influencing Change — Propel Solutions

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence When Influencing Change

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The Importance of Emotional Intelligence When Influencing Change

If you are reading this you are likely: a) experiencing challenges in your business, or b) you have decided to make business improvements. Either way, you are in the right place so read on, the result will be a transformation, and your emotional intelligence (EQ)[1] will play a leading role in its uptake.

In addition to the change management strategies discussed in previous Propel Solutions blog posts (see here and here), it’s crucial your EQ game is on point. To that end, I will present Dr.  Goleman’s four personal abilities that comprise emotional intelligence and how they impact change management:

Self-Awareness is our ability to monitor our thoughts and feelings, our strengths and weaknesses, our own self-work and capabilities, and how these interplay with our surroundings; including our colleagues, subordinates, and superiors. Self-awareness leads directly into self-management, because the person leading the change (I shall call this person the “changemaker”) must be aware of their feelings, impulses and strengths before they are able to manage them. Additionally, being self-aware allows you to lead from competence (authentic management) which engenders productivity and team cohesion.

For example, my leadership style is inspirational, emotional, and includes the development of heart in my team (imagine nodding heads, knowing smiles and internal motivation). But I didn’t always know that. I once tried to get my team riled up into a frenzy of excitement (imagine fists raised and screams of LET’S DO THIS!). It was a disaster…anyways, I learned quickly to lead from my strengths.

Self-Management is our ability to keep our disruptive emotions in check, maintain integrity, adapt well to change, act on opportunities; and pursue goals and achievements.  The people who will be undertaking the change need to believe in the changemaker’s ability to lead them through the (potentially) muddy waters ahead. To lead the charge effectively, the changemaker must be able to be an optimistic and motivated presence that continues to move forward despite setbacks.

Social Awareness is our ability to sense others’ feelings and perspectives, understand the organizational structure of a group (including power relationships that go beyond titles), and anticipating/recognizing the needs of those around us, including our customers. Social awareness allows changemakers to organize communication plans and training in ways that appeal to various perspectives. It also means you are able and willing to listen to what others are saying – including their concerns. You can then use this information to redirect your focus or reinforce the change.

I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. People tend to hide what they are truly feeling, particularly if you are their superior in a work environment. Luckily, if you are struggling in this area and haven’t noticed discontent until late in the game, social awareness (as well as the other three abilities) are learnable.[2]

Relationship Management is our ability to influence others, manage change, inspire and develop your people, resolve conflict, and work with others.  Relationship Management may be the most obvious ability related to change management: To lead effective change, the changemaker must inspire others to want to adopt the change. The ability to influence, inspire and develop others while negotiating conflict resolution is key to facilitating change adoption.

Change Management is “managing the people side of change” with a good handle on these four EQ abilities your transformation will be a success. The only constant in life is Change during transformation your EQ abilities will be tested, but they will be the key to the transformation’s success or its failure.

Let me know how you have harnessed the power of EQ to transform your organization. If you are struggling and need a hand with your Change Management strategy, feel free to give Propel Solutions a call.


[1] EQ is a term coined by Dr. Daniel Goleman (psychologist and science writer) and Dr. Richard Boyatzis (Yale Professor).

[2] See Dr. Goleman’s website for more information if you know you need training in one or more of these areas.

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