5 Ways to Gain Emotional Intelligence
What is EQ, and how much does it impact your professional success? The short answer is --- a lot!
In fact, recent research found that 90% of top performers have high EQ while only 20% of low performers have it. You can still be a top performer without emotional intelligence, but the odds are stacked against you. The reason is simple. Emotional Intelligence is the determining factor in how well we manage our own behavior, navigate social interactions, and make personal decisions – all crucial to personal effectiveness.
The good news is Emotional Intelligence is largely learned and can be developed with practice.
Two Competencies/Four Core Skills:
Personal Competence This includes self-awareness and leadership of self. The principle here is it is difficult to influence and lead others without first being able to lead yourself.
Self-awareness is your ability to accurately see yourself as you are and to perceive and understand your emotions as they occur. Self-awareness always precedes leadership of self.
Leadership of self is your ability to use this self-awareness to self-regulate --- to develop yourself, to stay flexible, and to respond positively to challenging situations.
Social competence is awareness of others and leadership of others. This includes empathy and engaged listening to understand other people’s moods, behaviors, and motives. Social competence enables you to respond effectively, to collaborate well, and to influence the hearts of others.
Awareness of others is your ability to hear not only what the other person is saying, but to read and understand their emotions and body language to accurately discern what they think and feel. It also means having the ability to anticipate how your actions and decisions will be perceived by others.
Leadership of others is your ability to use this awareness of your own and other’s emotions to manage interactions/relationships successfully.
Tips for Developing Emotional Intelligence:
Reduce Negative Emotions - Perhaps no aspect of EQ is more important than our ability to effectively regulate our own negative emotions, so they don’t overwhelm us and adversely impact our judgement. This means changing the way we look at situations in real time --- practicing objectivity, keeping an open mind, and not making assumptions about other people's intent.
Develop Personal Strategies to Stay Cool and Manage Stress - Most everyone experiences some level of stress in their lives. How we handle these stressful situations can make the difference between being composed versus frazzled, or assertive versus reactive/emotional.
Be Assertive and Express Difficult Emotions When Necessary - EQ does NOT mean never getting angry. Rather, it means knowing how to express negative emotions when it's appropriate to speak your mind. It means owning those emotions and not blaming others. There are times in our lives when it is important to set boundaries and communicate with others where we stand. This may include communicating your displeasure, respectfully disagreeing, or saying “no” without feeling guilty.
Stay Composed with Difficult People - This means maintaining emotional self-control when the conversation gets heated. It also means practicing empathy. Remember, people do things for their reasons, not ours. The more you practice the art of understanding, the better equipped you'll be to respond appropriately.
Learn to Bounce Back from Adversity - Behind every success story is a trail of failures. Case in point: Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections and experienced two business failures before going on to become President of the United States. Everyone faces adversity at one time or another. What differentiates success from failure is resiliency - the ability to bounce back quickly instead of giving up. This means taking 100% Responsibility for how you respond to mistakes, failures, and difficult circumstances.
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