Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
While not a new term, emotional intelligence is fast becoming a skill you SHOULD be working on. EQ, or emotional maturity used to equate to being stoic, cold, and unfeeling. Someone who could receive terrible news and not cry for example.
Fortunately, this has changed recently. Fear not, EQ coming to the fore doesn’t mean that everyone starts bawling at every ad with a puppy in it. What it means is people are now encouraged to acknowledge their feelings instead of burying them. Studies have proven that people who are willing to acknowledge and accept their emotions conquer problems and setbacks faster and are better equipped to help others to do the same.
Here are 3 simple ways to begin to improve your EQ right now:
Grab a piece of blank paper and a pen. When you experience something negative how do you react? What are the physical symptoms of your anger? Or sadness? Or anxiety? Do you get hot? Does your face go red? Do you cry? Do you get frustrated and find it hard to communicate how you’re feeling and thinking?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you are not alone. Examining how you react when you experience negative situations is the first step to changing your behaviour.
Once you have examined how you currently react it’s time to write down how you WANT to react in negative situations. It won’t change overnight and will require practice – but if you really want to change then examining your reactions and having a well thought out and documented alternative is a great start. When you catch yourself reacting negatively – take 5 deep breaths and remember how you want to react. It will get easier the more you do it.
Empathy is the ability to understand how other people are feeling. The first step in improving your empathy is to listen. No, not hear, really listen when people talk. You can pick up clues through their body language, tone and the words that they’re saying.
The second step to improving your empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. The ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes gives you an insight to how they are feeling. If you imagine yourself feeling the way they do then you are more likely to respond with kindness and understanding, which is turn will lift your own mood as well as theirs.
The third step to improving your EQ is humility. Humility is the ability to let your actions speak highly of you, instead of you having to speak highly of yourself. It’s true that we enjoy being praised by others, but part of being humble is being able to quietly pat yourself on the back when you know you have given your best.
When working with others, offer genuine praise to your team members. You know how it feels to hear a sincere thank you for your effort when you have put in the work – be sure to return the favour!
Ensure you give maximum effort to everything you do. Giving maximum effort to any project you are a part of will build credibility with your bosses and your work colleagues. This reputation will follow you throughout your working life. Once this reputation is established there will be no need to speak highly of yourself – your work will have done that for you.
Regardless of how high you EQ is now, using these three steps will help you to improve it. Self-awareness, empathy and humility are the pillars Higher EQ will not only improve your chances of being selected for a job, they will help you build a reputation as a hard worker who your bosses will do anything to hold onto.
Do you have any comments? Do you have tips and tricks for improving your EQ? We would love to hear from you!