Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is an incredibly important concept. Research now suggests that your EQ has more to do with your success in life than your IQ. That might scare you. But it shouldn’t. The great thing about EQ is that it CAN BE LEARNED. So take the steps today to master your emotional intelligence. It can be done. And you will be more successful because of it.
We’re more stressed than ever. We know that. The statistics on burnout, suicide and workplace violence are just some of the indicators. And on top of that, employee engagement at an all-time low. As leaders, we often don’t know what to do. What we do know is that we cannot survive if this trend continues.
So how can raise the quality of our work-life? How can we develop better relationships with those we work with. We know that a higher EQ will lead to higher productivity and a happier work environment. So how do we get there from here?
Establish a Baseline
Before you can know what you need to do to improve your EQ, you need to figure out where you are today. There are a number of assessments available. Some are even free, or quite inexpensive. I provide a fantastic EQ assessment that measures five key components of Emotional Intelligence.
The five elements we measure are:
- Self-Awareness – How aware are you of your feelings, emotions, moods and drivers?
- Self-Control – How able are you to control or redirect impulses and think before acting?
- Motivation – Do you have the internal drive to pursue goals with energy and purpose?
- Social Awareness (Empathy) – How aware are you of the emotions of others and the impact of your words and actions on them?
- Social Regulation (Social Skills) – How able are you to manage others through your relationships?
Determine Areas for Improvement
After analyzing yourself on each of the five measures, you should be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have a clear picture, you can work to master your emotional intelligence by taking specific steps to improve your skills in each area. Here’s a few ideas for each area.
Pay special attention to your emotions and feelings. Keep a journal and document how you are feeling. Share this with a spouse, friend, trusted advisor or coach. Work to identify the source of your feelings and how they reveal themselves. Look for trends (times of day, days of the week, or after watching a specific TV show).
Take care of yourself physically. Eat healthily and get exercise. Science has proven that better physical health leads to better emotional health. Exercise helps clear your head.
Additionally, set some specific goals in regards to avoiding circumstances that negatively impact your mood.
Catch yourself before you react negatively to a situation. Develop healthy ways to divert your emotions and give yourself time to think before you act. Develop strategies that help you with this.
Example: Many years ago I had developed a bad habit of quickly responding to email if I was upset. This quick reaction got me in trouble a time or two. I implemented a rule in Outlook that held emails for five minutes before sending. My giving me a few minutes to think about it after clicking “Send”, I had time to rethink, stop and reassess what I had sent. This little procedure may have saved my career a time or two!
Exercise and health are also important for self-control as well. Taking care of yourself physically will help you keep a clear mind and control your emotions before you act.
Establish goals in regards to personal and business success. By establishing specific goals you will create specific action plans to help advance your career. By creating a personal strategic plan, you take control of your motivation and serve as the primary driver for your growth. Consequently, you take the responsibility of personal development away from your boss or company and put it squarely where it belongs, in your hands.
Social Awareness (Empathy)
Seek to understand the emotions and feelings of those you interact with. For those whom you have a strong relationship, use your interactions as a way to test your understanding of your emotions. Ask clarifying questions to make sure you are properly understanding their emotional state.
Strive to understand people with a non-judgemental attitude. Seek to understand without criticizing them for how they feel. As a result, you will develop stronger empathy for their circumstances.
While you are seeking to understand others emotions, balance that activity with understanding your own emotions as well. Analyze whether there is a correlation between your understanding of their emotions and how your emotions color each situation.
Identify situations where you do not feel comfortable and seek to understand why. You may talk to your advisor or friends to assess why these situations occur.
Pursue quality relationships over quantity. Work to develop deeper relationships with those you feel comfortable with. Talk to these people about how you can be a positive influence and help them through your relationship.
Demonstrate curiosity with others and strive to remember unique facts. Demonstrating a true interest in their lives will strengthen your social skills and improve your overall EQ.
Master Your Emotional Intelligence, Starting Today
Emotional Intelligence can be learned. In each of the five areas, I have given you suggestions on how to improve your skills in each area. You can take control of your EQ. You can master your emotional intelligence.
I offer assessments, workshops and coaching in emotional intelligence. Therefore, if you are interested in learning more, contact me today.
I am offering a free workshop on mastering emotional intelligence on September 18th at Story Louisville. If interested, register here.
Take control of your emotional intelligence. Above all, master your EQ. Certainly get a coach or advisor. Start making improvements today. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.