How to improve on emotional intelligence

improve emotional intelligence

“Talented leaders emerge where heart and head, emotions and thoughts meet.” – Daniel Goleman.

Last time, we talked about why leaders need to have emotional intelligence, and what emotional intelligence is. We discussed that it starts with self-awareness which leads to social awareness and empathy. Let’s dive deeper.

  1. Self-awareness: 
    • We need to learn to be aware of our emotions. Leaders can manage their emotions and create a positive emotional culture in their teams.
    • We need to be aware of our own mood and to change it if it isn’t useful. One way to do that is to change our facial expression. Our facial expressions affect our emotions. Intentionally smiling leads to feeling positive emotions.
  2. Empathy: 
    • Empathy is crucial to all forms of relationships, especially in the workplace. Effective leaders need to exercise all three forms of empathy daily. Let’s walk through an example.
    • Example: John had dreaded this meeting with his team. Frowning, he looked around the conference table and said, “I’ve got bad news. Upper management told me this team’s performance is unacceptable. We have to pull up our numbers by the end of this quarter, or heads will roll. I’ve decided to make major changes. First, all vacations for the rest of the quarter are cancelled. I expect each of you to be here focused on your work. Second, you will meet your weekly goals, no matter how many hours it takes.”
    • Cognitive empathy allows you to sense how someone else thinks about the world. This helps you say things so they can be heard. Without cognitive empathy, John was missing information that could inform how to best present ideas.
    • Emotional empathy means you resonate with how another person feels. John’s inability to read the emotions of his staff left him open to distressing the people around him.
    • Empathic concern is an ability to sense what someone else needs and express how you care about those needs. John’s lack of caring for his team led to a decrease in their motivation.

So, how do we train ourselves on emotional intelligence?

  1. Develop our internal strength
    • As we learn, grow and experience new paths, it makes us more adaptable, transparent and positive towards the outside.
  2. Build a culture of compassion
    • Not in the sense of pity towards someone, but in recognition of the emotions of others. This is doubly important as we work in a team, trusting each other.
  3. Strengthen relationships through open and continuous communications
    • It does not stop at the difference in levels of responsibility within a company. This goes hand in hand with the availability of continuous training.
  4. Learn how to combine quantitative and qualitative analysis, especially in assessing the performance of the person in front of us, in order to give them the right merit and to convey the trust that is placed in their abilities.
    • The art of leadership based on emotional intelligence means centering objectives through the quality of the work of others

How did you learn about emotional intelligence? Did you train yourself on it? Drop me a note below. I’d love to hear your journey on emotional intelligence.

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