“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.” - John Hancock
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Following the Dictionary of Psychology by Andrew Coleman, emotional intelligence is “the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goal(s)”.
A leader lacking in emotional intelligence is incapable to effectively evaluate the needs, desires and expectations of his team. Leaders who act emotionally without applying filters can seriously damage working relationships and increase distrust among their teams. Successful leaders must master their verbal and non-verbal communication, they must be self-aware and objective.
What are the benefits of higher Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?
- you are better than other people at understanding your own psychological state, you know how to manage stress effectively – you are less likely to suffer from depression.
Five elements that define Emotional Intelligence
2. Self-regulation (discipline): capability to control or redirect counterproductive emotions or thoughts, adaptability to sudden changes in order to keep the team moving in the right direction with a positive attitude. Leaders cannot lose their temper in any situation. Staying calm and positive allows thinking more clearly and increasing the overall communication and productivity.
3. Empathy and Compassion: ability to understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of another person’s by “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes”. Full understanding of other people’s feeling allows to react in an accurate way, creates desire to help.
4. Relationship Management: development of strong social skills is synonymous to success in your life and career. Leaders must have the ability to manage relationships in a professional manner in order to influence their teams and direct them in desired way.
5. Effective Communication: it is known that effective communication is 7% the words we say and 93% tone and body language. Frustration, bitterness, and misunderstandings - those are the most common effects of lack of communication in a workplace. Stronger workplace relationships and less obstacles can be achieved by effective communication.
Can to improve my Emotional Intelligence?
YES, emotional intelligence can be learnt and developed! Find below some practical ways to improve your EQ.
Practice observing how you feel & behave
Nowadays we are always in a rush, running from one meeting to another, stressing out to submit projects before deadlines and fulfil all our commitments. In all this chaos, many of us lose touch with our emotions and act unconsciously, which in most cases may lead to misunderstandings. Sometimes your emotional state may affect the way you see certain situations. Pay attention to your feelings and behaviour, become more aware about them, take time to analyse them and that would greatly help you manage your emotion better. Take responsibility for your feelings and behaviour. Your reaction is your responsibility, if you feel hurt or fooled in response to something that other person says or does and you attack them you are to be responsible for that. Accepting responsibility for how you feel and how you behave, will have a positive impact on all areas of your life.
Practice responding, rather than reacting
There is a small but important difference between reacting and responding. Reacting is an unconscious process; we experience an emotional trigger and behave in an unconscious way, which expresses emotions. In the contrary, responding is a conscious process; it involves noticing how you feel and then deciding how to behave.
Practice empathizing with yourself and others
Empathy is the cognitive ability to perceive what another human being can feel, about understanding why someone feels or behaves in a certain way. Having an ability to read and interpret well someone else’s feeling helps to communicate in the right and efficient way.
Create a positive environment
Build your gratitude! Thank someone for something they did but were not expecting to be thanked for. Creating a positive environment at your workplace not only improves your quality of life, but it can be contagious to people around you too.
Remember EI is a lifetime process
Developing your emotional intelligence is a lifetime process; there is always a chance to improve it even when you feel like you have mastered these steps.
Written by Jagoda Zdanska