Understanding Emotional Intelligence: How to Support Your Veterinary Team's Growth

In today’s guest blog, human savvy expert Olivia Oginska breaks down the basics around understanding emotional intelligence and how to support your veterinary team's growth.

Vet, Keynote Speaker and Positive Psychology Coach, Liv empowers veterinary teams and leaders to create psychologically safe workplaces and positive social connections. Over to you Liv…

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence or EQ is the ability to recognise, understand and manage one’s own emotions, whilst also being open to understanding the emotions of others. It is a key factor in the development of strong interpersonal relationships, managing stress, and making sound decisions.

What I refer to as EQ is incredibly useful for our veterinary world, but first we must understand what it is in order to enhance it. The best place to start is with self reflection in order to learn about ourselves. Emotional intelligence and agility is about understanding the emotions you have in order to utilise them to build relationships and empathise with others in order to have a better understanding of their actions and come closer to working with them for a better collaborative result. How you respond to and read the emotions of others and their body language will define just how clearly and successfully you are able to communicate with them.

How Can Emotional Intelligence be Applied to Veterinary?

We see the greatest impact of EQ in the veterinary world when it is applied by leaders to their teams, for the greater good. Bad behaviours are fed by our inability to acknowledge them. We can be our best selves if we know how to utilise our EQ and what we need to enhance it to have a consistently good level.

EQ is particularly important for leaders as they interact with others constantly, every day. They’re responsible for managing and motivating entire teams of individuals as well as helping them to perform to their best ability, often making them co-gate keepers to even the mental wellness of those they lead. It’s in all leader’s hands to understand how their teams work, both collectively and individually through the 4 most basic levels of EQ.

The Four Elements of Emotional Intelligence

Self awareness: It all starts with both internal and external self awareness; including what you know about yourself and what others think about you. Know your values, your motivators, demotivaters, triggers. Cognitive social awareness and emotional self awareness are crucial for you to be able to build other emotional competencies in order to give good feedback, to communicate and motivate. You can’t do this without first really knowing yourself.

Self management: There’s nothing wrong with feeling angry or overwhelmed, what is important is how we respond to these feelings. Self awareness and self management can complement each other when we understand our triggers well enough that we are able to process our feelings in real time so that we can then manage our reactions.

Social awareness: Similar to empathy, but not quite the same. Social awareness is an understanding that although we may not ever be able to walk in another person’s shoes as their lives are never going to be exactly like our own, we can try to understand the direction in which they’re coming from and why. We can use social awareness to recognise when changes (negative or positive) are occurring; and for knowing how to approach that person in order to find out more. Those with good levels of social awareness are able to listen and take others as they are. Garnering trust in a manner that allows them to help their team members through whatever adjustments they’re going through or possibly need to make.

Relationship Management: We can take SA to a higher level to organisational awareness, to understand ‘vibes’ allowing leaders to be responsive and supportive to any ‘behind the scenes’ interactions amongst your teams. If we use our words and body language wisely we can make sure that we are building relationships within our teams and that this is at the forefront of what we do as veterinary leaders.

Our team members what to know that as a leader we are someone that they can trust and rely on, to create a symbiotic relationship where everyone can collectively support the greater good of the team. In addition allowing everyone to feel that their values are synchronised as they progress as teams, individuals and as a business.

For more on Emotional Intelligence and how to build a positive culture within your business request to watch now:

Dr Olivia Oginska

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