Leadership skills. Sales ability. Communication skills. Intuition. These are all manifestations of one critical skill–emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage your own emotions, as well as those of others.
It is essential to decision-making and relationship-building.
In fact, research shows emotional intelligence accounts for nearly 90% of what helps people advance their career when IQ and technical skills are similar.
Daniel Goleman popularized emotional intelligence through his best-selling book published in 1995.
The book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”, was written when Goleman chanced upon an article published by psychologists John Mayer and Peter Salovey.
In his book, Goleman presents the emotionally-intelligent person as someone who is self-aware and understands their own emotions.
Emotional intelligence, continues to be an increasingly popular skill to have today.
Major companies have compiled statistical proof that employees with high or low emotional intelligence undoubtedly affect the bottom line.
In fact, companies with employees that have high levels of emotional intelligence see major increases in total sales and productivity.
To get the best out of your team and create a good experience with your customers, adopt these methods to increase your emotional intelligence.
9 Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
1. Emotional Self-Awareness
The labels you give to emotions as you experience them will help you understand how you are feeling and why.
When an employee doesn’t perform to your expectation, instead of getting angry at their incompetence, try to get to the bottom of what made them under perform.
Are they lazy? Was the task too much for them to handle? Did they fully understand what was asked of them?
When you understand exactly what it is you are feeling, you can make better decisions about how to respond to emotions.
2. Emotional Self Control
Increasing self-control will improve emotional intelligence.
An instance is learning to say no. Saying no can be one of the hardest things to do, and it is twofold.
First, learn how to say no to yourself by restraining impulses and delaying the fulfilment of desires.
Then, learn to say no to others when they ask you for something you cannot or would not want to do.
Saying no is not about letting people down; it is about respecting yourself and the obligations you have already made. Once you do, you will be less stressed and more in control of your emotions.
Fear of change inhibits emotional intelligence.
Increase your EI by staying flexible and open to new things.
The current coronavirus pandemic is a good example of how you can evaluate your EI.
How are you managing it?
Are you in denial of what is currently happening?
To grow your emotional intelligence, you must learn to stay agile, adapt and re align to fit the current circumstances.
4. Practice Gratitude
Studies show that a daily practice of gratitude has tangible benefits for well-being. Among the positive effects of being thankful for what you have, gratitude alleviates sleep disorders and mental illnesses like depression, correlates with better academic performance in children and improves physical health for people of all ages.
Practicing gratitude is an easy habit to establish.
As the boss, expressing gratitude to your employees is part of your job and you should make a habit of it.
You can send a thank you note, take your employees to lunch, etc. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It’s the thought that counts here.
It is easy to feel sorry for others without taking the time to put yourself in their shoes.
Empathy is about imagining how someone else feels.
One of the best ways to increase emotional intelligence is to be curious about the people around you.
When a customer makes a complaint about your product or service, try to see things from their perspective instead of being defensive.
Improving your emotional intelligence can help you develop more empathy for your customers and build better relationships with them.
6. Conflict Management
During instances of conflict, emotional outbursts and feelings of anger are common.
The emotionally intelligent person knows how to stay calm during stressful situations.
You should learn to not make impulsive decisions that can lead to even bigger problems.
Understand that in times of conflict, the goal is a resolution; and make a conscious choice to focus on ensuring that your actions and words are in alignment with that.
7. Accept Your Mistakes and Apologise
Accepting ones mistake can be one of the most difficult things to do, let alone apologise.
If you find out that you made a mistake, approach the person involved as soon as possible and apologise.
This step can help minimise damage and save the relationship.
8. Forgive Others and Learn to Move On
Forgiveness is difficult.
It may be easier to harbour anger, hold a grudge and exert vengeance.
However, bitterness can weigh you down in the long run. Choosing to forgive sets you free and allows you to focus your energy on more constructive thoughts.
9. Offer Help
Ask what kind of help is needed.
From there you can gauge if you have the capacity and bandwidth to help.
By helping others, you are helping create a supportive environment for everyone.
Emotional intelligence fuels your performance both in the workplace and in your personal life, but it starts with you.
From your confidence, empathy and optimism to your social skills and self-control, understanding and managing your own emotions can accelerate success in all areas of your life.
In other words, the key to strengthening your emotional intelligence is first to identify your personal traits and tendencies and then to develop strategies to maximize your strengths and minimise your weaknesses
Work to increase your emotional intelligence and make emotions work for you, instead of against you.