“Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) can be defined as the ability to understand, manage, and effectively express one’s own feelings, as well as engage and navigate successfully with those of others. According to Talent Smart, 90% of high performers at the workplace possess high EQ, while 80% of low performers have low EQ. Emotional Intelligence is absolutely essential in the formation, development, maintenance, and enhancement of close personal relationships. Unlike IQ, which does not change significantly over a lifetime, our EQ can evolve and increase with our desire to learn and grow.” (Psychology Today)
This quote outlines the absolute essential need to understand EI and take your time to improve it. It is in your best interests, your team’s best interests and that of your business as a whole. So how can you improve your emotional intelligence? Here are 4 ways you can help increase your EI.
1. Reduce your negative emotions
The first and most essential step of EI, is identifying and reducing your negative emotions. This can be done through changing the story you tell yourself about any given situation. Instead of flying off the handle when someone cuts you off in traffic, think a little deeper. Could they be in a rush to get to the hospital? Could this whole situation not actually be about you at all and therefore there is no need to take it so personally? If someone says they don’t want to buy from you, try not to get caught in the trap of thinking that they don’t know anything. Again, think deeper, how could the conversation gone different? What was it that I didn’t say or I did say? Could they simply just not be ready?
Next time you feel a negative emotion arise, be curious and think a little deeper. Over time this will allow you to keep those emotions under control.
2. Work on managing your stress
Being able to manage one’s own stress can have major benefits on whether you will be reactive with your emotions or proactive. To make sure your stress doesn’t get the better of you, increase your exercise, take out the frustrations on a punch bag. Essentially increase your exercise as this will help raise your dopamine levels and reduce your stress hormone levels.
3. Take time out
There really is something in this meditation lark you know. It has been consistently demonstrated that by meditating or simply taking a few minutes out to take some deep breathes can have huge benefits on building your EI. By doing these activities you train your brain to stay calmer more of the time. Through this stillness you can make better, more proactive and helpful decisions and not just react to emotional states.
4. Learn to Learn
One of the most identifiable characteristics of people with high EI is the ability to bounce back from adversity. One of the ways you can adopt this and cultivate it is by reframing those difficult situations you go through. Instead of getting down and sometimes castigating yourself for whatever hasn’t turned out as you hoped, just ask what can I learn from this? This will help you grow. Make it your mantra. If you can master this every situation you face will be valuable even if in the past you would have seen it as a terrible thing. This will help you bounce back from anything pretty fast.
So give these a shot and see how your EI increases. If you can master yours you will be well no your way to having the skills to manage any tough emotional situation but also leading a super high performing team.