How emotional intelligence affects your work in PR

Today’s pros are responsible for more than they used to be. In an agency setting, attributes go beyond a proven track record and prestigious education. That’s where one key trait comes in.

The successful book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” has renewed excitement about shaping the culture of PR—and the workplace.

The focus on emotional intelligence—known as EQ—in tandem with IQ is important to the very survival of any working environment.

Within the PR profession, we have witnessed EQ’s increasing significance, given the existence of 24/7 digital media and growing demands from clients.

Clients are engrossed in their social media presence and how they appear to the public. Deadlines and emotions—along with expectations and results—routinely run high. Some extensive studies state that emotional intelligence drives culture, which in turn affects strategy and business outcomes.

PR pros are expected to master communication and act as a brand’s voice with 100 percent authority and objectivity—every moment of the day.

EQ in modern public relations

A recent definition of PR requires performance recognition in addition to the multidisciplinary purview of agency practitioners.

Professionals with higher EQs often work better in groups. In a typical office setting, teamwork is vital to success, and PR pros are continually working in groups, within their own agency or with clients. Having a high EQ is becoming essential to professional success.

Cultivating emotional intelligence within your established teams and seeking new hires with higher EQs will improve your agency.

The nitty-gritty

Emotional intelligence is defined as being aware, expressing and controlling one’s own emotions and handling interpersonal relationships empathetically.

The four components used to analyze a person’s EQ are as follows:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

As detailed in “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” people can modify their EQ level and practice habits to increase it. Because EQ is malleable, professionals must understand how to improve themselves before they can improve their workplace.

Team members with high EQs often deliver more productivity and less conflict. Though emotional intelligence is heavily equated with teamwork and group interaction, it doesn’t mean agencies should drift away from one-on-one interaction with employees and clients.

Surveys suggest that although certain team leaders might have exceptional educational backgrounds and work credentials, they might not relate to all members at every level within an organization or might be clueless as to their contributions or roles.

That’s where emotional intelligence can help.

Passing the torch

Mentorship often shapes an industry’s future. PR is a two-way street—and so is mentorship. Mentors must educate younger employees, but they should also try to learn from them.

Young adults entering the workforce bring a more passionate approach to the industry and can teach veterans a thing or two about emotional intelligence and its benefits.

The value of mentorship can be tracked, too. Keeping up with past employees and interns to see where they are today can help an organization gauge its value.

Courtney Lukitsch is the founder of Gotham PR, which has offices in New York and London.

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Topics: PR

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