Why Pasifika Leaders Need Emotional Intelligence

We are a passionate people!

We enjoy a good laugh which is loudest when it is at the expense of others. We are competitive and, most especially in sports, we can become a little too aggressive. By default, we are voyagers at the mercy of our emotions which can be as unpredictable as the Pacific ocean that our Islands are anchored upon.

It is because of these reasons that I believe that Emotional Intelligence is a necessary tool to have if you want to succeed in business and in life.

So What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is usually defined as having the ability to understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of those around you. Studies have shown that EQ is just as important as IQ and is something that I believe we, as Pasifika, could work more on.

We’ve all have that older relative that asks awkward questions at the family reunion and gets everyone uncomfortable right? I’m sure we have friends that we describe as “ratchet” or having “no filter”. The ones we warn our other friends about before their first meet.

What we call ratchet is actually low EQ in action! To continue with our “no-filter” friends example, they are usually upfront and brutally honest about the way they view the world. They lack any sense of subtly or the ability to read the emotional situations.

It doesn’t mean they have low IQ though!

They can be extremely intelligent and still lack the necessary skills to understand restraint in tense moments or the right emotions.

Though having someone like that as a friend is awesome and fun, teams don’t work well when their leader(s) demonstrate this characteristic.

EQ and Psychological Safety

Studies have shown that teams with higher EQ are more likely to have an increased level of psychological safety. This is because members feel understood and appreciated by leaders when they are treated more as people rather employees.

You have likely experienced a time when you may have had a bad day that affected your work output. One of two things may have happened to you:

One is that your boss understood that external issues were at play here and asked if everything was okay in your personal life. They would have been genuinely concerned and encouraged you to resolve that external issue and waved off your current downturn in performance.

OR… They did not understand why your performance dropped and threatened to penalize you without a thought to reasons this may have happened.

Which scenario would you have preferred and would you feel satisfied with the organization or not?

Emotional Control and Motivation

You need high EQ to handle stressful situations by understanding the emotions that surrounds this point and figuring out how your emotions could affect it positively or negatively.

Charismatic leaders have an almost super power-like ability to tap into the prevalent emotion at the time elevating it to higher levels or transforming that emotion into something else entirely.

Imagine you’re playing a close game against your biggest rivals and you’re losing at the half time. A great leader could change the mood and momentum of the team just by delivering a speech that is backed by the right kind of emotion. In some situations she/he would have to use anger throughout that talk and other situations would call for a more compassionate approach that could be relatable by the team. The bottom line is that having EQ allows you to evaluate the emotions that the majority of the team is feeling and being able to utilize those emotions to get the results that you want.

Interested Yet?

I sincerely hope that you have been sold on the fact that EQ is an essential tool that you need in your bag to create a better team and organization. Do you think that more leaders in our societies could work on better developing this trait? Are you someone with a high EQ? How would you know what level of EQ you had?

We will dive even further in the next post where we will discover the 5 attributes that make up what EQ actually is and the necessity of these attributes to better performing teams.

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