Emotional intelligence is defined by the Institute for Health and Human Potential as the awareness that our emotions greatly influence our behavior, and the behavior of others. The ability to manage and express emotions appropriately is necessary because it allows for greater success within the workplace, personal relationships, and with oneself. High emotional intelligence has benefits for one’s self awareness, self management, motivation, empathy and social skills. Discover helpful ways to improve these rewarding skills by checking out our tips below!
1. Listen to, and accept yourself
Take a moment to objectively observe how you feel at different points throughout the day. In the hustle and bustle of life in the 21st century, it’s easy to neglect our feelings in the interest of saving time. Re-familiarizing yourself with your emotions can help you to understand yourself and your behavior. Effective means of engaging in this observation are practicing yoga or meditation, journaling, or simply defining times throughout the day at which you will reflect momentarily.
2. Take responsibility
During this observatory time, take responsibility for your feelings. Understand that there is no right or wrong way to feel, and accept the way that you naturally react to things. Accepting your feelings will assist you in being able to ultimately control them. To do this, you must acknowledge your triggers, both positive and negative. Then, it is essential to put this information to action by seeking relationships and situations that present you with positive triggers, while eliminating or minimizing negative ones. For example, if you often find yourself feeling unhappy at work then it could be helpful to explore a job more suited to your passions, or build stronger relationships with your coworkers.
3. Set goals based on your findings
Set personalized goals based on the observations you have made about yourself. Know who you are, and compare that person to who you want to become. Then, set goals accordingly. For example, if during your observation you discover that you have a short temper, actively seek out ways to correct this. Solutions may include exercising to focus your rage on other things. Ensure to define and follow through with your goals because self awareness is useless in the absence of agency and action.
4. Concentrate on yourself
Focus on yourself without comparing your achievements to other’s. Every journey to emotional intelligence is different, and therefore incomparable. Technologies such as social media have endless benefits, but also promote constant comparison. If necessary, it could be helpful to take a step back from social media and online engagement to truly focus on yourself. It is important to consider that you are only in control of your own emotions and behaviors, and not to get caught up in the actions of others.
5. Be realistic, but aspirational
It is important to set goals that are achievable. When you reach these goals, it is also important to reward yourself. However, your goals should not be so attainable that you are not challenged. Set goals that will challenge you, but that you can ultimately accomplish. A great way to ensure that you stay accountable is by committing to goals publicly, so that the friends and family in your social circle can assist you by keeping you motivated.
6. Reduce negative emotions
A positive outlook is essential to remaining motivated. Anticipate roadblocks, but know that you can overcome them. If you are mentally prepared for potential problems, you will be more efficient at solving them. Don’t forget, you’ve made it through all of your previous worst days!
7. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes
The most effective way to practice empathy is by actively listening to others. Do your best to understand what others are saying, prior to considering your response or reaction. Acknowledge that the experiences that have shaped you are different to the other person’s, and remember that there are always at least two sides to every story.
8. Trust others, and they will trust you too
Trust is a fundamental part of being empathetic. In order to experience empathy, you must allow yourself to experience vulnerability.
9. Listen to and accept others
Different people will inevitably react differently to their emotions and situations because everyone experiences things subjectively. Learn to accept other’s feelings even if they are different to yours. An effective way of engaging in this acceptance is by practicing empathy, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Below are a few examples of individuals demonstrating high emotional intelligence.
In this scenario, your boss pulls you into a meeting to discuss your recent work.
Boss: I wanted to sit down with you to acknowledge the fact that, recently, I’ve been finding your work very sloppy and I’m unimpressed.
An individual with high emotional intelligence would listen to the superior’s concerns, reflect, and potentially realize that his or her work has been lacking recently. A highly emotional intelligent person would be able to identify that he or she has been distracted at work due to increased stress in other aspects of life, and be able to relay this to the superior.
Employee: I’m so sorry that my work hasn’t been satisfactory, I’ve been distracted due to problems in my personal relationships, but this is no excuse for my poor performance this quarter. In the future, I will be sure to work harder to keep my personal and professional life separate. Would you mind sharing your specific frustrations so that I can actively work to correct them immediately?
This instance demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence because the employee responds to the boss with an acknowledgement of his or her wrongdoing, an apology, and a plan of action for the future to correct the undesirable behavior. The employee does not react with rage because time is taken to reflect on the situation, prior to the response.
In this scenario, your close friend is going through a hard time and is confiding in you.
Friend 1: My family member is ill and I am worried.
An individual with high emotional intelligence would demonstrate empathy for the friend. The best thing to do is actively listen, and allow the friend to speak about the experience. Then, offer to help in any way that you can.
Friend 2: I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time, I am here for you! Is there anything that I can do to help?
A large part of emotional intelligence revolves around the ability to recognize the emotions of others, and respond accordingly. Striving to understand the hardships of others helps you to build more connected, and longer lasting relationships.
We hope that these tips help you in your personal and professional environment by providing you with insights into yourself, and others. Keep following Speak to stay informed about how to communicate better.