Leadership entails many responsibilities. One of them is the responsibility of making good decisions. The challenge often lies in discovering what the right decision is, especially when your team will be affected by your decision. Whether it’s deciding whether or not to invest money into a deal, whether or not to take on a partner into the business, or whether or not to employ someone, so often these decisions need to be made in a limited period of time. So often there just isn’t enough time to be too analytical and to weigh up all the pros and cons. The wonderful thing is, we don’t have to rely solely on an analytical approach. In fact, leaders who do rely solely or predominantly on such an approach can get into trouble. Beyond the pros and cons of a situation lies a bigger power tool towards making successful decisions.
“…our minds are not designed like a computer, to give us a neat print-out of the rational arguments for and against a decision…it weighs the emotional bottom line from those previous experiences and delivers the answer to us in a hunch, a gut feeling.” – Goleman
The emotional aspect of making a decision is imperative. Even when there is sufficient time to analyse a matter, a combination of a rational approach and an emotional approach should be used: Your gut feeling “should be weighed with the facts.” – Daniel Goleman. Why? Because your gut feeling is much larger in purpose and value than what it appears to be.
The secret behind your gut feeling
First of all, what exactly is that little, typically subtle and fleeting feeling and why is it so important not to underestimate it, but to make use of it?
Every single experience that you have an emotional reaction to, regardless of how subtle it is, gets encoded (permanently stored) in the area of your brain called the amygdala. This amygdala feeds us with information every time we make large or even the smallest of decisions. It automatically jumps in to guide us – the brain does an emotional calculation. Therefore, this function literally grows stronger, because with every new emotional response stored, the amygdala becomes wiser. According to Goleman, it is a “repository of life’s wisdom” that cannot be ignored without negative consequences.
The next important question you may be asking, since all this activity takes place in the brain, is: Why is it called a gut feeling? The physical movement of messages via nerve pathways in the body can cause a somatic response – a literal sense of feeling in your gut.
How all this is related to your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
The quality and smooth running of the whole process described is strongly affected by your self-awareness. The reason for this is that healthy self-awareness levels are linked to:
- Greater emotional awareness
- More accurate self-assessments
- Greater confidence
If you learn to be emotionally aware, you will build healthier and stronger links between your feelings and what you think, do and say. The end result: The ability to be a fantastic communicator who can make shining decisions.
At My Pocket Coach we understand that all these factors are interconnected. Therefore, our approach to coaching and training is holistic.
We invite you to discover what your EQ level is by doing a Reuven-Bar-On EQI test through My Pocket Coach. The results will be a clear indication as to where your strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of EQ. Leading from that, our specialists will work with you to heighten or refine your EQ to an optimal level. After all, your EQ has a 93% responsibility towards your success, while your IQ contributes only 7%.