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OUR NON-NEGOTIABLES: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

By Eric Duea | October 23, 2019

At The Gunter Group, the leadership traits and characteristics that define us are our Non-Negotiables: Collaborative, Integrity, Intellectual Curiosity, Thrives in Ambiguity, Emotional Intelligence, and Grounded Confidence. These traits and characteristics guide us every day in our interactions with clients, each other, and our community.

At the Gunter Group, we consider EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, or “EQ,” essential for understanding and solving complex problems. In short, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage emotions in yourself and others. For us, it’s about more than accurately reading and adapting to social cues, although this is an important part of EQ. It’s pulling from the depths of our intelligence, experience, and heart to show up fully for ourselves, each other, and our clients. It’s an approach that not only feels great but gets the best possible results.

As consultants we’re accustomed to a steep learning curve, but EQ requires serious commitment to truly master and cannot be built overnight.

While emotional intelligence is often referred to as a “soft” skill, we think of it as quite a hard one – both in terms of tangible value and difficulty to master. I recall taking an EQ assessment early in my career for a job in the hospitality industry. What I thought of as sophisticated and mature responses at the time I now think of as cringeworthy. “Where was my self-awareness?!?” I think now, after gaining much experience and insight in the years since. It certainly didn’t come easily or overnight. I’ve learned that other skills can be taught, and as consultants we’re accustomed to a steep learning curve, but EQ requires serious commitment to truly master and cannot be built overnight, hence why it is one of the most important traits we look for when growing our team.

EQ enables us to challenge the status quo and deliver success without pushing too hard or coming in like a bull in a china shop. 

As stewards of our client relationships, our consultants must demonstrate the highest degree of emotional intelligence. With this in place, we can trust them to assess and respond to situations appropriately, enlist support as needed, persevere through challenges, and moderate their own impulses, especially during times of stress. Exceptional EQ also means being aware of potential burnout, building individual resilience, and integrating work into a fulfilling and healthy life. When our consultants thrive in and out of the office, they deliver outstanding value for the long haul.

Furthermore, emotional intelligence is essential for our other five non-negotiables, enabling and amplifying our most important traits. For example:

— Self-awareness, a component of EQ, keeps the ego in check (grounded confidence).

— We can sense when someone feels unheard or steamrolled and adjust accordingly to cultivate trust within a group (collaboration).

— Connecting to our own emotions keeps us rooted in a strong moral compass (integrity).

— Giving, receiving, and integrating feedback makes continuous learning and improvement possible (intellectual curiosity).

— High EQ people are better able to maintain optimism and intrinsic motivation in the face of uncertainty and rapid change (thrives in ambiguity).

Research shows that emotional intelligence in the workplace helps establish the psychological safety proven to increase group intelligence which then drives innovation. As one of our non-negotiables, EQ enables us to challenge the status quo and deliver success without pushing too hard or coming in like a bull in a china shop. 

Finally, when we enter a new engagement, understanding perceptions is crucial. I’ve been on the other side, when your company brings in an “outsider.” It can feel like a stranger who knows nothing about you or your work telling you how to do your job. We understand a degree of skepticism or even resistance to partnering outside your organization. Our clients have tremendous ownership and expertise – they are right to be protective of their work! It’s from a place of empathy and self-awareness that we navigate the at times tricky role of “third party” to eventually become true partners and trusted advisors. With emotional intelligence as a cornerstone, we know from experience that our non-negotiables will always lead to the best possible outcome for everyone.

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