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Mental Health in Cybersecurity: Emotional Intelligence

May 23, 2023

Mental Health in Cybersecurity: Emotional Intelligence

There is no dispute about the relevance of intelligence in the workplace. A person with a high intelligence quotient (IQ) is thought to process information more efficiently and draw better conclusions. But in the 1990s, a new measurement came into vogue and it is widely considered as important—if not more important—as IQ: emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ).

Emotional intelligence measures your ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as those of the people around you. It includes traits such as self-awareness, empathy, self-control, positivity, organizational awareness, and leadership. When you consider the state of mental health in the cybersecurity profession, EQ could spell the difference between security and a breach.

EQ and its role in professional leadership.  

Leaders set the tone for their teams and their organizations. So, it’s no surprise that 71% of hiring managers favor EQ over IQ. In fact, emotional intelligence accounts for nearly 90 percent of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge. And, as it turns out, organizations that value emotional intelligence are 3.2x more effective at leadership development.

Building strong and supportive teams can go a long way toward building EQ in the workplace. It also helps when leaders walk their talk and model desirable behavior. Suggestions for leadership to demonstrate high EQ and encourage their employees to take care of their own mental health include offering flexible scheduling and mental health “sick” days, as well as encouraging employee volunteer and service projects whenever possible.

Building EQ with the help of Fido.

If you want to outsource your EQ-building to a third party, schedule office pet days or bring in emotional support dogs at least once a quarter. Just by being themselves, dogs can lower stress, nurture productivity, improve your mood and make the workplace more positive—all critical elements of promoting and supporting the development of EQ.

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AI vs. EQ: No amount of Artificial Intelligence innovation is able to replace the EQ of an Emotional Support Animal.

While previously considered to be reserved for humans and primates, it turns out we have a loyal mate when it comes to EQ: dogs. A 2016 study shows that dogs can recognize emotions in humans by combining information from different senses. In fact, they are probably better at it than you think. A dog’s intellectual limitations shield them from the more complex emotions that cause a lot of unhappiness in humans, so their energy inspires heightened feelings of love, joy and excitement.

Emotional support animals have been shown to help people manage their mental health issues, with individuals citing the benefits that their dogs, cats, and even ferrets have in managing panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. Service dogs, on the other hand, are specially trained to offer a service—such as providing sight for the blind. Both can provide emotional support.

See how SteelCloud has gone to the dogs (in the best way possible).

In a post-COVID workplace characterized by intensifying cyberattacks, overambitious workloads and tension at both work and home, mental health is a growing issue. In fact, it may turn out to be the issue of the decade. It’s imperative to address this in your teams before burnout and other mental issues happen.

SteelCloud is addressing this, in part, through our partnership with Veterans Moving Forward (VMF). Over the next two years, we will be sponsoring the training of a service dog for a veteran. This dog will visit our office for events and become part of the SteelCloud family as we watch its training progress.

This is just one part of a larger series of things we do to provide opportunities for our people to feel emotionally and mentally supported. What small change can you make today to do the same for your people? Learn more about our partnership and our cybersecurity solutions to see what you can do to ease stress and burnout in the workplace.

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