7 Tips for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Once you are in the field, emotional intelligence emerges as a much stronger predictor of who will be most successful, because it is how well we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how well we do once we are in a given job ~ Daniel Goleman

Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Far from being an unimportant aspect of leadership, Emotional intelligence  is an essential skill for a well rounded leader. Daniel Goleman, the world renowned authority on Emotional Intelligence in his study of over 200 large companies found that the effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. So what is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise and understand the emotions in yourself and in others. This awareness is then used to manage your behaviour and relationships.

Emotional intelligence is said to be twice as important as IQ and technical skills for excelling at your job. The higher and more influential your position is, the more critical emotional intelligence is at excelling in your work.

A high emotional intelligence presents a range of benefits for you as a leader. It boosts your chances of career success, enhances your entrepreneurial potential and increases your leadership effectiveness. In addition, a high emotional intelligence will increase your ability to manage stress and reduce your chances of suffering from stress induced diseases.

Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Improving emotional intelligence should be a priority of every leader and aspiring leader. So here are 7 simple ways to improve your emotional intelligence:

#1. Practice Self-Awareness.

Increased self-awareness is the foundation for improving you emotional intelligence. To connect with others on an emotional level, you must first be aware of your own emotions. Self-awareness helps you discover your true self. And this can be an unpleasant exercise because we almost alway present a masked version of ourself to the outside world.

Here are some things you can do to increase your self-awareness:

  • Know who and what pushes your buttons
  • Stop treating your feelings as good or bad
  • Keep a Journal about your emotions
  • Stop and ask yourself why you do the things you do
  • Spot your emotions in books, movies and music

#2. Get an Emotional Intelligence Coach

Emotional Intelligence coaching has been shown to make a significant impact in recognising and managing your emotions. With coaching, you are able to improve your interpersonal skills, negotiation skills and social etiquette. Coaching will increase your ability to manage stress and improve your leadership performance under pressure.

#3. Get Accurate Feedback

People looking to improve their emotional intelligence need to have accurate feedback on their improvements. Measuring your own progress yourself will undoubtable introduce some form of bias. So you need an impartial source of feedback and information to help track progress and initiate necessary changes.

Using personality tests or seeking opinions from unbiased persons about your emotional competency is a great way to know what aspects of your EI that needs working on.

#4. Be Willing to Change

To increase your emotional intelligence and improve your relational effectiveness, you must be willing to change some of your behaviours. Many of the interventions designed to build your emotional intelligence will be ineffective if you are simply unwilling to make the necessary changes. It is a known fact that those who need the boost most are those who are unwilling to change. By accepting the fact that there are areas of your emotional intelligence that can be improved will make a big difference in your success in raising your emotional intelligence.

#5. Put Yourself in Other’s Shoes

Putting yourself in other’s shoes or empathising will help you build your emotional intelligence. Try to put yourself in someones situation and examine how you would feel if you were in that situation. Think of some of the different issues that person may be going through.

Now try and figure out how you would appreciate being treated if you were in that situation. All these actions will help in empathising, and go along way in developing your emotional intelligence.

#6. Write Your Thoughts

Writing down your thoughts and feelings is another way to develop your emotional intelligence.  We may not always be consciously aware of our moods and feelings, but by writing things down, we examine what goes through our minds and how and why it gets there.

Writing your emotions down allows you to spot patterns of behaviour and serves as a guide to what needs to change and when changes need to be made.

#7. Effective Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Effective communication is needed to for developing and improving emotional intelligence. Learning to identify and respond appropriately to nonverbal cues is important. This is because nonverbal communication often conveys more information than verbal communication. Observe peoples body language and facial expressions to get an insight into their thoughts and feelings.

Having a high Emotional Intelligence is important in your life as a leader and as an individual. High emotional intelligence provides a number of benefits at work and in social settings.

By adopting some or all of these seven simple steps, you can raise your emotional intelligence and contribute to your own success as a leader.

Are you emotionally aware? Why not leave a comment below.