As a leader, a large part of your role is unlocking the potential of your team. This includes equipping and enabling team members to do their jobs well, or simply getting out of the way and removing blockages. Valuing excellence is essential in delivering high-quality results, services and products. Three EQ skills that enable this are Stress Tolerance, Impulse Control and Self-Actualisation. 

Stress Tolerance involves “coping with stressful or difficult situations and believing that one can manage or influence situations in a positive manner” (MHS, 2011). It is a crucial ingredient in equipping your team to deliver competently. Team members who are overly stressed and unable to cope with high pressure are unlikely to sustainably and consistently perform well. But not all stress is bad. In fact, the right amount of stress is beneficial, increasing performance, motivation, focus, growth and even positive emotion. However, when there is too much of it, stress can be unhealthy, leading to decreased performance, fatigue, exhaustion, negative emotion and eventually burnout  (Nelson & Simmons, 2003). Developing your team’s competence is directly linked to how well they can tolerate the stress they face, and balancing the right amount of stress and pressure to ensure optimal performance. And the reverse is true as well – if you want competence, develop your team’s stress tolerance.

Impulse Control is being able to “resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act, and involves avoiding rash behaviours and decision making” (MHS, 2011). Distraction and procrastination greatly hinder productivity and competence. In order to achieve the goals that your team has, it is important they are able to remain focussed on them. Impulse control is a skill that will help them do that. Further by-products of impulse control are delayed (and increased) gratification and improved focus – both of which correlate with increased productivity. 

Self-Actualisation is the “willingness to persistently try to improve oneself and engage in the pursuit of personally relevant and meaningful objectives that lead to a rich and enjoyable life” (MHS, 2011). Team members who feel they are working in a way that is improving themselves, and contributing to their own growth and development, are more likely to work competently. They have a personally vested interest in the quality of their output and are motivated to improve.