Intelligent, dedicated physicians are frustrated with getting results to improve both patient care and financial outcomes. Nevertheless, physicians who feel better about themselves and their results are alike in one crucial way: They use their emotional intelligence.

Today’s leaders require more than vision and a high IQ. Today’s physicians get results with support and participation of a diverse team. How well you manage yourself and your relationships is a key predictor of success for your teams.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

In his worldwide best-seller, Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., explains that emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize and use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

In another of his books, “Working with Emotional Intelligence,” Goleman demonstrates that EQ represented 67% of abilities necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.

Logic And Emotional Context Help To Solve Challenges

The partial picture from the logical mind about you or your co-workers has to be accompanied by your emotional content. When you understand the whole picture, you have more potential to solve the most challenging issues, which often are people problems!

A Mindful Difference: React vs Respond

We often react defensively when uncomfortable with what is being said or done.

Responding is more thoughtful, more intentional, more active, and guided by logic. A thoughtful response maintains relationships and maintains progress toward your bigger goals.

Avoid Getting Triggered, And Get Better Results

Silvia Dias, the Medical Director of Urology in a large teaching hospital, is struggling to implement much needed changes within her department. Her new nurse manager is inexperienced, which frustrates Dr. Dias and reflects poorly in Dr. Dias’ role.

More than once, Dr. Dias has said things she regretted to her new nurse. The strained relationship has brought progress on departmental goals to a slow idle.

As we discussed Dr. Dias’ feelings and reactions to her nurse, we uncovered her desire to let the nurse know she was not doing a good job. The feeling under her reaction originated in frustration she felt having no input into hiring a key team member. Dr. Dias committed to more intentional responses to the nurse, in hopes of improving the relationship and outcome of team meetings.

Presence Is Key To Accessing Your Emotional Intelligence

Goleman reported that by “using EQ, people motivate themselves to persist in face of frustration; regulate their moods and keep distress from swamping their ability to think and empathize and hope.”

Emotional intelligence is about self-awareness, managing emotions, and handling relationships. Employ the following keys to gain access to your emotional intelligence and stay resilient implementing change:

  • Pay attention to the sensations in your body, and they will reveal what emotional feelings are going on beneath the surface. These sensations may seem tense, light, heavy, or pressure.
  • Adopt a practice of self-reflection to learn what triggers you. Focus on questions, such as: “Which interactions did I feel best about today?” What was it that caused feelings of frustration or inadequacy?
  • Decide how you want to behave. You can’t help what emotions you feel, but you can decide how you want to react to them.

Emotional intelligence is important to physicians to keep momentum of teams moving positively forward. EQ improves your ability to manage your emotions, inspire and motivate staff, and build stronger relationships with team members.

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