What does it take to be a good leader? Being tuned in to the people you work with, their feelings and perspectives, whether they be clients, agents or vendors.
And to accomplish that, one must have emotional intelligence, also know as emotional quotient or EQ. Much like IQ, it’s a major indicator of one’s abilities, and in a people-centric business such as real estate, it’s crucial to hone this skill.
What does honing entail, and how can we best practice EQ to be more effective and inspiring leaders?
Leslie Appleton-Young, president and chief economist with the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.), sat down with Sue Yannaccone, Coldwell Banker NRT’s regional executive vice president, and Molly McKinley, Intentionaliteas CEO, at C.A.R.’s Woman UP! session at Inman Connect Las Vegas.
What is emotional intelligence?
EQ is all about reading others. It’s the ability to perceive emotions in yourself as well as others.
“Leadership is also about followership,” Yannaccone said. People have to believe in your vision and that happens when you believe in and understand them.
Often in real estate, whether with clients or agents, people are on different pages. They have different perspectives that lend to their outlook. Being able to understand both sides helps you navigate difficult situations.
“IQ is often waiting for EQ to show up,” Yannaccone said.
McKinley says it’s critical to wake up. We spend so much of our time at work. If you don’t bring emotional intelligence to your day-to-day interactions and connect with those around you, you’re basically spending half your lives asleep.
What a waste if you don’t spend your time wisely, she said.
How do you grow your emotional intelligence?
Yannaccone says, sure, you can read about it to learn more, but you also have to be self-aware. That means looking at how you interact with others and how they react to you. It means taking a breath before reacting. It means looking at both sides of a situation.
McKinley said one of the best ways to get in touch with your EQ is to reconnect with nature as well as yourself.
“When you reconnect with who you are, everything else follows,” McKinley said.
She cautions that you have to remember who you in every action. And trust yourself.
“I’ve spent my whole life trying to learn to trust my intutuion,” McKinley said.
How important is EQ in decision-making?
Everyone has that little voice inside. Your job is to tune into that voice, McKinley said.
Sometimes that voice is a naysayer. You have to ignore that voice and embrace the quiet.
Yannaccone said she goes off her gut. She trusts it.
That’s not to say that you blindly make a decision. It’s an informed decision, but it’s what intuitively feels right to her.
Also, as a leader, you have to own your decisions. The industry culture leans hard on data, but data is only part of the equation.
If you’re only looking at the numbers, you’re missing half the picture, McKinley argued. The magic happens in interpreting that data.
“It’s using all of your tools, but also trusting your experience, your gut,” McKinley said.
How does gender play into emotional intelligence?
“I actually think that women are hard-wired to be more intuitive,” McKinley said. She believes now is the time to find a balance between what are traditionally thought of as soft skills, or feminine skills, such as having tough conversations and masculine skills such as being assertive.
Everyone has potential to have both. The key is to find a balance between the two in both men and women.
But having emotional intelligence isn’t the same as having sympathy, Yannaccone said.
Women tend to be thought of as led by emotions, but that doesn’t mean being sympathetic all the time. At the end of the day, you’re still running a business.
Instead of leading with emotions, learn to take a pause. Think about the decision before making it.