Emotional Intelligence in Executive Protection
Updated: Jan 26, 2021
Emotional Intelligence is something I have needed work on in the past and continue to work on now. I never really heard the term EI (Emotional Intelligence) or EQ (Emotional Quotient) until I was working in the corporate setting. A highly spoken two words and a skill set often required of everybody but especially required for any type of promotion. That's right I said skill set. Just like you might practice a sport or playing a musical instrument you must continuously practice the skill of emotional intelligence. Trust me, some of us definitely need more practice than other. "I am an Executive Protection Agent I don't need any of that," you might say. Au contraire my friend. So what are these skill sets I must learn? You might ask. And, what is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Skill #1 the art of self-management. When we become overly stressed, we can lose control of our emotions and the ability to act thoughtfully and appropriately. Have you ever had a principal that doesn't meet their own agenda. Perhaps they come to the lobby later or they prefer to catch a ride with another principal. How about that phone call you receive where a principal wants to go to a location that hasn't even been advanced yet? Stressful definitely, however, this is what they want to do therefore we channel our stress and we get it done. With the ability to manage stress and stay emotionally in the present you can learn to receive adverse information without letting it override your thoughts and emotions.
Skill #2 is self-awareness. This can be a hot one. In an era of a pandemic, protests, elections, and other debatable topics I am certain we have our own opinions but the trick is how well we can keep them to ourselves. Whether you are a security driver or a close protection agent you will hear a great many conversations, some you won't agree with. Now it is common knowledge that you should never reach a point that you are in a full blown argument with your principal. What about the small micro expressions? You know an eye roll, a deep sigh, a adversarial smirk. We must be mindful and focus our attention on the present and without judgement.
Skill #3 is social awareness. As executive protection professionals we must recognize and interpret the mostly nonverbal cues that others might be using to communicate with us. This makes you aware of what your principal is really feeling, how their emotional state is changing from moment to moment, and what's truly important to them. Remember, what's important to them may not be important to you. You can't pick up on subtle nonverbal cues when you are in your own head, thinking about other things. Social awareness requires your presence in the moment.
Skill #4 lastly, is relationship management. Working with others is a process that begins with our emotional awareness and our ability to recognize and understand what others might be experiencing. Recognizing our nonverbal gestures that we send to others can play a huge part in improving our relationships. Conflicts in a protection profession can happen, but it is our job to resolve the conflict in a healthy and constructive way which can strengthen trust between our team and our principal.
When it comes to a productive relationship between agent, team, and principal emotional intelligence does matter. By fostering and developing our emotional intelligence we can build stronger relationships and achieve projected goals.