The rising discussion on the importance of emotional intelligence for lawyers is music to my ears. It encapsulates so much of what I found difficult about working in certain environments and why I enjoyed working in-house so much. As co-founder of Halebury, EQ is an essential part of our recruitment process and the skillset of our team. When you are being parachuted into a team and business to help on strategic projects or even BAU, the ability to "monitor your own and other people’s emotions, to distinguish between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use this information to guide your thinking and behaviour" (a definition set out in this article), has to be part of your skillset.
The leadership abilities and skills of lawyers are being called on more than ever and as this article highlights, EQ is one of the key differentiators of great leaders.
EQ as a core skill matters now more than ever, because work has changed in ways that favor emotional competence and soft skills. If you can develop these traits — self-awareness and adaptability, collaboration, and empathy — early on, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from your peers and build a life and career that is successful and satisfying. According to a 2013 study by American Express, EQ is one of the biggest predictors of performance in the workplace and a strong driver of leadership and personal excellence. As Daniel Goleman wrote in HBR in 1998, “Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”