We live in interesting times. The future of law is changing.
Law consumers are savvier now. They are using a variety of online tools to find attorneys. 74% of potential clients use an online search to find a lawyer. 25% are using YouTube to research their legal issues before they reach you. While people are putting technology to good use, they still want the same thing from a lawyer: your legal expertise and your reassurances.
Legal plan buyers need your legal knowledge but also crave human kindness as they work through their legal problems. Today’s law practice requires you to have a high level of emotional intelligence to navigate successfully when the old rules don’t quite apply.
What is EQ?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor one’s own and others feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and use that information to guide one’s thinking and action. Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer Salovey and Mayer were the early pioneers in developing the field of research known as emotional intelligence or EQ. While IQ measures your intelligence, and is a static measurement, EQ skills measures your ability to manage emotions, can be taught and naturally increase as you age. EQ has been proven to be a key factor in professional and financial success as well as happiness. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence at Work, who popularized emotional intelligence in the 90s, identified four pillars of EQ:
•Self- awareness – Identifying and understanding your emotions and the emotions of others
•Self-management – managing your emotions, adapting to change, taking the initiative
•Empathy and social awareness – sensing the feelings of others, reading a social situation and anticipating needs
•Relationship management – managing conflict, fostering collaboration, inspiring others
Be EQ Strong
Good attorneys are trained in law school to ignore distracting emotion in favor of logic.
Think like a lawyer. Be detached. I know many lawyers who are irritated or dismayed by their client’s seemingly irrational behavior. They fear being pulled into emotional quicksand.
Hence, they take a ‘stiff armed’ approach that distances their client from them.
High EQ attorneys understand that acquiring these coping skills enable them to better serve their clients. They can understand and redirect those negative emotions so clients don’t ‘cut off their nose to spite their face’. Because of their transparency and empathy, these attorneys gain the trust of their clients and retain their satisfied clients longer. This attention builds a bond that leads to more referrals and greater financial success. You can reap the benefits of emotional intelligence too.
4 Reasons Enhancing your EQ is A Good Move lawyer
1. You stress less. Work is easier.
When you have high EQ, you are more able to adapt to change and tolerate the ambiguity that can be part of working remotely. You can let go of issues or mistakes because you have coping mechanisms and feel positive about your competency. You have the communication and social skills as well as the confidence needed to speak up for yourself and set boundaries when necessary.
2. You connect more. Work is happier.
When you have high EQ, you are an intentional listener and more empathetic. You’re better able to identify commonalities and tactfully handle difficult topics, which builds trust. You see the people as balanced with good and less than good qualities without judging. People are drawn to you because they feel heard and acknowledged.
3. You have a growth mindset. Work is more fun.
When you have high EQ, you are eager to try new things. You recognize that failure is part of growth and you have a growth mindset. You aren’t afraid of being wrong or challenged. You have the resilience to try new areas and gain new marketable skills and deeper satisfaction in your work.
4. You know your value. Work is more lucrative.
When you have high EQ, you know your strengths and their value to your clients and the world.
You understand how your role impacts others and you have the confidence and the communication skills to convey your value to others. You also know how to connect quickly with others because of your social awareness high which leads to more clients.
Not sure about your EQ?
Determining your personal EQ is a good idea. You know the benefits of high EQ as discussed above.
Low EQ is a problem. Low EQ is linked to lower performance, lower productivity and lower earnings, per a study by Cherniss, another EQ researcher. People with low EQ are more likely to change jobs, as you might imagine, because their people skills are poor.
You might have low EQ if you are experiencing any of the six statements below as true for you.
6 signs your EQ may be low
1. You have a tough time accepting or making change.
2. You struggle to work in a team setting
3. You have a hot temper
4. You don’t know or care what others think
5. You tend to be negative or see obstacles easily
6. You don’t like to try new things
The best way to determine your capacity is to take an assessment such as the one found at TalentSmart. Travis Bradbury, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, offers a free test with the purchase of his book.
Take the test. No matter how emotionally smart you are there is always room for improvement. This is personal development work that should be part of your life-long learning as an attorney and a person.
I recently took the TalentSmart Assessment after being a conflict expert for 20 years. I was pleased with my score and agreed with both the areas for improvement and the practices that were suggested. You can take the assessment as a bonus when you purchase Emotional Intelligence 2.0
Mastering EQ is a strategic move that can only bring good things into your life and law practice. If you want to be ready for the changes to come and ensure that your work life to be easier, happier and more lucrative then I invite you to explore and enhance your emotional intelligence.
“All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. “
~ James Thurber
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