4 Skills To Develop Your EQ | Part 6 Of The People Skills Primer

Let’s look at a typical scene from your life at b- school. Say at one point, you had class at 7 in the morning. And class only got over at 1 PM. After this you had meetings, assignments and projects, and a test the very next day. And next week? Exams. So you’re finishing assignments, cramming for the latest mock test, and studying for your exams as well as attending lectures and club meets. And you have no time to eat or sleep even. Now your girlfriend from another city calls you and wants to talk to you. What do you do?

You tell her you’ll speak later. But, you don’t speak later because you’ve no time. Ergo, she gets angry at you for not calling her. She threatens to break up. You actually break up. You feel frustrated and irritated, plus hangry. All the time. When exams are finally over and assignments submitted, you decide to speak to her again. But she refuses to even talk to you. Now she’s hacked off… You beat yourself up about being angry with her before. But now you’ve to do some serious apologizing for her to even speak to you. 

Do you realise you could have done a simple little thing in the beginning to avoid the entire mess? What am I speaking of? Well for starters, you could have informed your girlfriend of your immense workload. She may have stopped bothering you then. 

In fact, you can think ahead and avoid a lot of pitfalls in life. But this requires emotional intelligence.

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What’s is emotional intelligence?

Basically, if you have high emotional intelligence you are able to recognize your own emotional state and the emotional states of others, and engage with people in a way that draws them to you. You can use this understanding of emotions to relate better to other people, form healthier relationships, achieve greater success at work, and lead a more fulfilling life.

“EQ* is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and resolve conflicts.”
*Emotional Quotient

Jane Jackson, career management coach and author of Amazon bestseller Navigating Career Crossroads, explains why emotional intelligence is so important and how you can boost your own EQ by mastering these key skills. In this part of the People Skills Primer, find out the 4 pillars of emotional intelligence and what you can take away from them.

Emotional intelligence has four key pillars. These are some basic communication and observation skills that you can deploy to gain trust, show confidence, etc. There are:

Click on any of these to auto scroll and read a particular point.

Need a quick summary of how you can leverage emotional intelligence to become an excellent communicator loved by all?

Check out the Key Takeaways here.

I recommend reading each section at least once though!

Now, let’s deep dive into each…

1. Self-awareness:

Low self esteem and instant gratification go hand in hand.

Self-awareness is the foundation of personal growth and success.

Daniel Goleman, author and psychologist, calls it a ‘keystone’ of emotional intelligence. Take some time off every day and answer these questions.

– How am I feeling at the moment?
– How are my emotions influencing my thought and behavior towards others?
– What are my strengths and weaknesses?
– Am I confident about what I’m saying?

Feel like self awareness is too much work? It’s not. Here’s a simple activity to help you along on your path to self awareness:


  1. Keep a journal: Write down the important events of the day. Write down what happened, how you felt and how you reacted. How did you feel physically – was your heart racing, or did your mouth go dry or there was a sudden surge of blood to your head?
  2. Analyse the roles you play: You might be a brother, sister,employee, husband, wife, mother, father, sportsman or woman – think of as many as you can. Think of how you fulfill these roles. Write down how each role makes you feel.
  3. Name your feelings:
    For E.g.:

    – Making presentations makes me nervous

    – Pitches energize me

    – Deadlines drive me to work harder

    Understanding how each chore makes you feel puts you in control.

    The next time the situation occurs, you will know how to change your feeling or use it to your advantage.

Here’s a comprehensive chart designed by change-management-coach dot com for self awareness. It’s a very useful exercise to understand who you really are.

2. Self-management:

At 25, he is captain-to-be, national heart-throb and batsman extraordinaire. He thrives under huge pressures that would cripple most of us. – Verve Magazine

Virat ko gussa kyun aata hai?!

But Virat Kohli wasn’t always the controlled, person that he is today. He used to release his anger and frustration without checks. He celebrated every century with pumping fists, glowering eyes and spewing expletives. While it was very obvious that Virat was talented and capable, he had to work on his mental stability and the way he handled situations. And this was as difficult for him as it was to work on his game.

You have to be able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.

We’re talking a 3-step process.

1. Identify what you are feeling – This might simply be a strong feeling over a missed deliverable, unease about a meeting, or longer-term sentiments that there is something wrong with the environment you are working in. Whatever the starting point you will need to exercise self-awareness before you can start to do something about it.

2. Determine the underlying cause – This is a difficult step because the process requires analysis, reflection, and honesty to identify the cause. Is the sales person who has missed her target angry or resentful towards her boss because he told her she had missed her target, or at the marketing department because they gave her too few sales leads, or herself for missing opportunities?

3. Take action – Once you’ve identified the true cause of your emotion you can do something that breaks you out of the cycle of negative emotion. It could simply be to recognize that the emotions that you are feeling are inappropriate or unjustified, or that they are directed at the wrong target. Only by recognizing the truth behind the causes of your emotions will you be able to control and manage them even when you are stressed and angry.

Feel like self management is not your cup of tea? Here’s a simple activity to help you along on your path…


Ask these questions to yourself! Write down your answers after some thought.

  1. How do you define success and successful behavior?
  2. What are you willing to do to accomplish success and your desired results?
  3. How will your life be different if you think before you act and react?
  4. Are you willing to ask for help when you need it?
  5. Are you willing to listen to others’ opinions?
  6. How do you keep yourself from succeeding or getting ahead?
  7. What beliefs do you need to change for you to achieve your goals?
  8. How well is negative thinking serving you?
  9. What will it take to move forward?
  10. Do you believe your current perspective is helping or hindering you?
  11. What are you doing to manage the most uncomfortable part of your life at this time?
  12. What is the best thing that could happen to you if you changed your behavior?
  13. What is the worst thing that could happen to you if you changed your behavior?

These are a lot of questions, so you might want to set aside some time and do this activity. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions – but as you write down honest answers, you will understand what aspect of yourself you need to work on.

For example: Question 4 – Are you willing to ask for help when you need it?
A negative answer will denote control issues.


3. Social Awareness

When you say nothing at all...

It is no secret that Sheldon Cooper is seriously handicapped when it comes to social skills. Sheldon’s lack of social awareness made him a difficult person to be around.

Understanding the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people by picking up on emotional cues, feeling comfortable socially, and recognizing the power dynamics in a group or organisation.

– Improve your listening skills. Work on effective communication skills.
– Pay close attention to interactions with other people. Be aware of what they say, how they say it and what they do.
– Identify other people’s emotional states. Listen carefully to what they’re saying and notice how they respond to external events, such as someone greeting them or asking them to do something.
– Think about your feelings. How does the other person’s emotion make you feel?
– Think before you answer and give clear answers.

Feel like you don’t need to put much effort into this?  You don’t. Here’s a simple activity to help you along on your path…


  1. Pay close attention to your interactions with other people. What gets them excited? Keep it in your mind so that you can motivate them better in future.
  2. Listen actively to the person who approached you. Ask relevant questions to show that you are paying attention.
  3. If you feel that the person just wants to vent and doesn’t want a solution, just lend an ear. Sometimes, that is mighty useful too!
  4. If you’re busy, talk to the person when you’re free so that you have 100% attention on what the person is saying.
  5. Ask the other person questions about what they’re saying as well as their feelings and emotions about what they are saying.
  6. Work your body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and other elements in order to meet the needs of the other person.

Book Recommendation: How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

4. Relationship management

Know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Communication done right!
There are four criteria to effective relationship management:

  1. How you approach someone in a given situation: You will make this decision based on your understanding of how people are feeling and why they’re feeling that way. Based on this, you’ll have thought about different ways to interact with them and the different reactions you might get when you say or do something. You’ll also be aware of their effect on you and how to manage this appropriately.
  1. Actual interaction: An interaction with others based on the research you’ve done: This may be written, face to face, individual or a group interaction.
  2. The outcome: How and what you say or do will be guided by a specific outcome you want to achieve.  For example, you will behave differently if you need someone’s help. This makes relationship management an intentional activity.
  3. Your needs: The outcome you intend to achieve will be guided by your specific needs, or the business needs, at that time.

So what’s the best way to go about improving your relationship management?

Here’s a few tips in the form of an activity:

  1. Start by writing down the things you are already good with! For example, next to “Developing Others” you might feel you have no problem giving others feedback. Make a list of all the things you are competent in.
  2. Next, write down areas for development, ie. where you need to improve.Using the same example you might admit that while you give people feedback it could be more supportive and less critical. The area for development will be learning to give supportive feedback. Take some time and work through each competency.
  3. Now list at least two actions that will help you develop that area. If you can’t think of how to improve in that aspect, you can always ask others! For example you could take a short course, read a book, do your own research, or model someone you respect.
  4. Finally, choose one, or more, competencies you’d like to work on and put the action steps into action! When you feel you have made considerable progress in that aspect, you can choose another thing to work with.
  5. If you are feeling very daring give this task to a friend or colleague and ask them to complete it on your behalf – as they see you.

Here’s a comprehensive chart designed by change-management-coach dot com for relationship. When you write it down, it becomes very clear what actions you need to take to build stronger relationships in your professional or personal lives.

Key Takeaways:

1. In order to be successful, you need to have a healthy balance between EQ and IQ.
2. Being aware about your own feelings enables you to handle them better, thereby allowing you to control your image more accurately.
3. Always attempt at controlling undesirable feelings. Inappropriate display of emotion makes you come across as arrogant or weak.
4. Be aware about your surroundings; what are the people around you feeling, what drives them, how do they react to different situations, etc.
5. Try to maintain a positive, healthy relationship with your co-workers.


In the next part, we’ll tell you all about dealing with nasty criticisms and difficult feedback.


In the People Skills Primer, you’ll get a crash course on how you can take charge of your internship or your new job. Here’s the different aspects you’ll get to know more about in the coming chapters.

  • Communication With The Boss
  • Cardinal Rules Of Communicating With Colleagues
  • How To Do Your Emails Right
  • Communicating With A Client
  • Communicating With A Vendor
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Dealing With Criticism & Feedback
  • How To Be Extraordinary At The Workplace
  • Own Your Career

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