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Emotional Intelligence is the X-Factor for Successful Leaders: Ush Dhanak

In this exclusive interview from our event 'How to Lead a Winning Team in 2018', Azal Khan talks to Ush Dhanak, Emotional Intelligence expert and Founder of Collaborate HR, about what it takes to be an emotionally intelligent leader.


Azal Khan: Hi, I’m Azal Khan from Elite Agent Magazine and we’re here today at our event, How to Lead a Winning Team in 2018. I’m lucky enough now to be joined by Ush Dhanak. She’s an expert in emotional intelligence and she spoke to us today on how to become a more emotionally intelligent leader. Ush, there’s a lot of talk about being an emotionally intelligent leader and making workplaces more emotionally intelligent. So, how does an EQ leader lead with change and how do they respond to change?

Ush Dhanak: I think change is happening in the workplace just absolutely everywhere and I think the key signs of a leader that is highly emotionally intelligent is the ability to lead their team through that change and actually teach them what resilience means. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from any setbacks and it’s the perseverance to carry on.

I think in change, what happens is teams are unsettled. If there’s not good communication, they don’t really know what’s happening, they’re a bit lost, and a good leader can actually pick up on those cues. They’re really aware of what their team are feeling and they can share information, they’re transparent, and they can go, you know what, it’s okay, we’re going to get through this.

Azal Khan: Ush, as you know, in our modern life, meetings have become the bane of our existence, so how can a leader with a high EQ conduct a really effective meeting?

Ush Dhanak: What I’ve been encouraging my clients to do is to have stand up meetings, so it’s to have a meeting every morning and it should be no more than 15 minutes and you literally go around and the question there is, “What is your biggest win?” Get everyone to share their biggest win and really celebrate that success of that win for the team.

The second question they go around is what is a struggle for you this week? So you’ve really got the win that you’ve celebrated with them there and then on the spot, and then you found out what challenge they have, and if that challenge is something that needs to be worked on, what I suggest is take that offline and create a separate meeting one on one with that person to have that challenge.

That way you’re having 15 really productive minutes in the morning to the start of each day, it energises the team, it makes sure everyone’s turned up and no one sits down, and in 15 minutes you’re done and then you can book in some meetings afterwards.

Azal Khan: Ush, you’ve written a lot about this topic and one stat you’ve mentioned is that only 15% of workers out of a one billion population of full time workers aren’t engaged at work, so what’s the missing link? Is it EQ?

Ush Dhanak: Yeah. The mistake that’s happening is people are hiring managers or people leaders based on their technical ability, which obviously means an increase in IQ, and that’s fantastic because it shows that they can do the job but what people are not actually looking for when they’re for talent is their ability to manage their emotions and the EQ aspect.

I think the EQ is the X factor and in one of my articles said that it’s that magic sauce that McDonalds has that you just never know what’s in it but it’s so good. You look at a people leader whose got higher EQ and you go, there’s something about them, I don’t know what it is but it’s that X factor. I think we just need to really educate businesses to go when you’re hiring, please don’t make it all about their technical ability to do that job. That stuff can be taught, but what’s difficult to really gauge and look for is that EQ, and that’s where people like us come in.

You can do assessments for EQ, so rather than doing the usual psychometric tests, like DISC profiles, you can do emotional intelligence profiles as well and really understand where they sit on that spectrum.

Azal Khan: It’s understood that people are often born with their IQ but what about EQ? Can it be learnt?

Ush Dhanak: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got clients that are in their 70s that are learning about emotional intelligence. With EQ, it can be learnt at any stage and I think … I look at myself and I’ve been trained in it for two years and I’m still a work in progress myself, even as an EQ coach, and it’s something we constantly develop, and it’s something we constantly learn.

Resilience, personal power, they’re some of the aspects and competencies of emotional intelligence, and it’s not something that can be learnt overnight, it’s something … It’s like training, it’s like fitness, it’s using a muscle, and it’s building that over time, but anyone can learn it.

Azal Khan: As always, thank you so much, Ush. It was so interesting to chat to you.

Ush Dhanak: Thanks so much.



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