What is Emotional Intelligence and How Can We Improve It?

Emotional Intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence and How Can We Improve It?

Basically, emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize, understand and be aware of what your emotions do to other people. When you have high emotional intelligence, you are sometimes able to control how people perceive you and their actions based on the emotions you exhibit. At the very least, a good EQ level lets you be empathetic enough to understand what other people are feeling.

According to Daniel Goleman, the 5 elements of Emotional Intelligence are the indicators of your level of EQ:

1 – Self-awareness. Being self-aware means that you know your own feelings, preferences, personality and self enough to be able to predict your reactions to possible events. You know yourself so you don’t forget how to react appropriately and you’re able to regulate your reactions. The best thing about self-aware people is that they are able to examine themselves. Self-aware people can work on their own strengths and weaknesses.

2 – Self-regulation. Being able to control your emotions is the sign of self-regulation. This means that no matter what the situation, you can filter or suppress the emotions that are apparent in your countenance. You can stop yourself from making impulsive decisions and can think about all the possible outcomes that your reactions may cause. When you are good at self-regulation then you are thoughtful, careful and have integrity.

3 – Sense of drive. When you’re productive and have the drive to succeed, then you are motivated. People with high emotional intelligence have a sense of drive and are continuously working towards their goals. They love challenges and are very effective in whatever they do. In other words they are in their Flow.

4 – Empathy. This is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. This trait helps people maintain and create valuable relationships. Being sensitive to the emotions of needs of others is also a great trait for managers.

5 – Social Skills. Usually known as cognitive soft skills that employers look for, social skills allow you to work well with others and communicate effectively. Efficient team players can use social skills to work with teams to achieve group goals and support the star players. 

How do you improve all these elements?

Here are some great ways for you to improve your emotional intelligence:

  • Ask questions to discover the emotional intelligence of people around you:
    • How do you have fun?
    • What makes you laugh?
    • What job or activites energize you?
    • What are you passionate about?
    • Who inspires you and why?
    • How good are you at accepting and asking help from others?
    • What are the working battles you have each day?
    • What are the working habits that have served you well?
    • What could you do to improve your wellness at work and create more balance in your life?
    • What makes you angry?
    • When is the last time you were embarrassed? What happened and How did you manage the situation?
    • Are you more focused on objectives and tasks or people and emotions?
    • What should I know about you?
  • Put yourself in people’s place. This means that you understand how people feel and you can formulate the appropriate response that can keep the peace or move the team’s action forward. Do you rush to judgment before you know all of the facts? Do you stereotype? Look honestly at how you think and interact with other people. Try to put yourself in their place.
  • Share the spotlight. While everyone wants to be the star, excessive achievement can alienate others in the team. Humility can be a wonderful quality, and it doesn’t mean that you’re shy or lack self-confidence. When you practice humility, you say that you know what you did, and you can be quietly confident about it. Give others a chance to shine – put the focus on them.
  • Self-evaluate. Know your weaknesses. Before you say something or make a decision, it’s great that you think about why you’re choosing that route or what your preferences are. Look at yourself honestly and you can make better decisions.
  • Take responsibility and apologize. Mature people with high emotional intelligence mean that you can admit your mistakes and be accountable. This lets you remember not to make mistakes since you don’t want to repeat the feeling of failing.

Now go and talk to your Manager, Team mate, HR officer, coach or mentor to discus about other ways to improve yourself.

For more information on EQ here is a short 5 min video with Daniel Goleman.

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