Have you ever lost control of your emotions or felt misunderstood during the conversation with someone? Do you know the feeling of being influenced by other people’s emotions? Don’t worry if your answer is “yes”, because this article will provide you several hints and tips to avoid such situations. But first, what unites all mentioned above cases?

As you may have guessed, we are talking about emotional intelligence (EQ), an ability to recognize and manage our emotions as well as understand the emotions of others. Recently, EQ has become an instant hit not only in best-sellers of pop psychology but also in serious scientific research related to business and organizational studies.

Based on the World Economic Forum’s list, EQ was ranked sixth among other top-10 skills that help people throughout their careers. Moreover, nearly 75% of hiring managers who participated in the CareerBuilder survey said that they would focus more on hiring and promoting people with high emotional intelligence. The figures speak for themselves and highlight the growing importance of EQ skills in building interpersonal relations, but what does EQ include and how can we develop its certain aspects?

The components of emotional intelligence

In 1998 psychologist Daniel Goleman published a fundamental for emotional intelligence article named “What Makes a Leader” and introduced five components of EQ: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

  • Self-awareness is the ability to identify and understand our moods, emotions and their impact on others. It is the foundation of EQ and the rest components depend on self-awareness. Why? If you’re aware of your own emotions and behaviors that they trigger, you can start to properly manage it. In reality, people who are self-aware tend to make more realistic self-assessment, being more confident in decisions and communications.
  • Self-regulation is the capability to control or manage disruptive impulses, generally, to think before acting or speaking. A person with high self-regulation is able to stay calm in stressful situations and adapt to such circumstances with a positive outlook.
  • Motivation is a passion to pursue goals with energy and endurance despite money or status incentives. You definitely will recognize motivated colleagues or teammates by a strong desire to raise the bar with optimism and commitment, even facing failure.
  • Empathy is the ability to understand the emotional needs of others and to treat them accordingly when making decisions. Remember your friend who can read between the lines of what has been said? This is certainly an empathetic person.
  • Social skill is the art of managing relationships, developing networks, building rapport, and finding common ground. Socially skilled people are great collaborators with the ability to inspire others.

You probably know people who are strong in some of these 5 areas but lacking in others. The good news is that EQ can be learned and enhanced, but you need to start with the first component, self-awareness, in order to build a good foundation for the rest of the skills.

3 tips to improve emotional intelligence

A process of developing emotional intelligence differs from person to person. In this regard, it is vital to experiment with different approaches and techniques, analyzing outcomes and progress. The following hints will help you to identify your own way.

  • Recognize your emotions and name them

Analyzing and tracking your emotional state is the best first step in improving self-awareness. Try to describe feelings you experienced during the day, giving them names and writing them down in notes. In stressful situations, it is better to stop for a minute and reconsider a trigger for your response and behavior. At first, continue to do it as frequently as possible, drawing attention to all small changes in your mood. As an additional tool, you may start practicing meditation.

  • Ask for feedback

Investigate your self-perception by asking friends, family or teammates how they would rate your emotional intelligence. For example, you can question about your strengths and weaknesses in terms of personality traits. In some cases, it won’t be what you want to hear, but it will definitely help you. Just keep it in mind.

  • Explore literature

Several studies show that reading literature with complex characters can improve empathy. Reading stories from other people’s perspectives may not only give you some insights about their thoughts and motivations but also convey ideas about your own drivers.

Here several books and videos that will explain to you how emotional intelligence works and what methods and practices are already proved to be useful:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman (2005)
  2. HBR Guide to Emotional Intelligence (2017)
  3. Emotional Agility by Susan David (2016)
  4. YouTube channel “School of life”

To sum up, these are no doubts that emotional intelligence is beneficial in your personal life and career. However, integrating EQ in your life is a lot of work, hereby, the strong desire to improve is one of the essentials to master it.

Good luck with your discovery!

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