“EQ is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges, and resolve conflicts.”
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.
Emotional intelligence has four key pillars:
Self-awareness is the foundation of personal growth and success. Daniel Goleman, author and psychologist, calls it the '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 behaviour towards others?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses?
- Am I confident about what I’m saying?
Do this exercise.
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?
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.
Name your feelings:
Making presentations makes me nervous
Pitches energise 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.
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
But he wasn’t the controlled, person that he is. Virat 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 behaviours, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances. It’s a 3-step process.
Determine the underlying cause - this is a difficult step because the process requires analysis, reflection, and honesty to identify the cause. Is the salesperson 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? 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.
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.
It is no secret that Sheldon Cooper is seriously handicapped when it comes to social skills, and this video testifies the fact.
Sheldon’s lack of social awareness made him a difficult person to be around.
Understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people by picking up on emotional cues, feeling comfortable socially, and recognising 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.
Do this exercise.
- Pay close attention to your interactions with other people.
- Listen actively to the person who approached you
- If you’re busy, talk to the person when you’re free so that you have 100% attention on what the person is saying
- Ask the other person questions about what they’re saying as well as their feelings and emotions about what they are saying
- Work your body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and other elements in order to meet the needs of the other person
Know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.
There are four criteria to effective relationship management:
What is the best course to approach someone?
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.
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.
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.
Your needs: The outcome you intend to achieve will be guided by your specific needs, or the business needs, at that time.
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 management. 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.