5 Ways to Develop and Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence
Many people put a lot of emphasis on a person's intelligence quotient (IQ). While this is an important factor in determining the success of an individual, there is another factor which is showing to be an important indicator as well. It is a person's emotional intelligence or EI.
According to Daniel Jay Goleman (author, psychologist, and science journalist), emotional intelligence refers to how well we handle ourselves and our relationships. As adults we can remember times where we or other people have handled situations adversely because of emotions.
Think of someone who you know who has quit a job because they could not get along with their boss or because they had a negative attitude. They may have stormed out of the workplace in anger only to realize later they had made a grave mistake.
This person may have been a skilled individual and could perform their job effortlessly. As a matter of fact, they possibly could have been the best employee in this area but they lacked a high emotional intelligence (EI).
Goleman believes there are four measures of emotional intelligence: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Empathy, Skilled Relationships or Social Skills.
Since these are intangible, how does a person develop these areas in their life? Here are five practical ways to develop emotional intelligence:
1. Perform a 360 evaluation
The starting point of growth is to accurately access where a person is right now. For example, in order to get out of debt, a good start is to know exactly how much you owe. From there, you can see how much work is required to alleviate your debt, and how to effectively begin to structure and discipline yourself as you manage a budget.
The same goes for emotional intelligence. There are tests to help people determine where you are on an IQ and EI level. From this point, you will know where you need to focus your efforts moving forward.
2. Work on Self-Awareness
When we are self-aware, we become more conscious of our actions and reactions. Begin to listen to you inner voice. It is your internal compass and will generally guide you in the right direction. It becomes stronger the more it is used. Journaling is also a good way to strengthen self-awareness.
3. Work on Self-Management
Self-management refers to how a person manages their emotions. Being able to control your emotions is a big key to a successful life. Using the example from above with the employee who quits his job because of anger, we can see how if that same person could manage their emotions they would have avoided cutting off their cash flow because they got a bit emotional at work.
There are many programs that help people manage their emotions. Books like the "Presence Process" by Michael Brown can take people through a process of identifying where there emotions stem from and how to use them a fuel to move forward in life.
4. Work on Empathy
Identifying how other people are feeling is another key component of a strong EI. Be observant of others in your environment. Listen to what they are saying but also care and pay attention to their body language as well.
5. Work on Social Skills
To increase your social skills you can simply go where people are and immerse yourself. If you need a bigger push, join an organization like Toastmasters (www.toastmasters.org), Kiwanis Club (www.kiwanis.org) or Rotary Club (www.rotary.org). Toastmasters International will not only train you to speak in public but it will also help you to increase your overall communication and leadership skills. Kiwanis International and its family of clubs is nearly 600,000 members strong, annually raise more than US$100 million, and report over 18 million volunteer hours to strengthen communities and serve children. Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. If you truly want to work on and increase your social skills these are three very good organizations to get you started.
As you begin to work on your emotional intelligence, you should begin to see noticeable changes in your life. Some companies pride themselves on a strong culture of emotional intelligence because it gives them a look into an employee's ability to control emotions, handle stress and identify biases. You do not need to wait on a company to send you through this type of training. You can build and strengthen your emotional intelligence on your own with these simple steps.
About the Author: Ty Howard,
Mr. Untie the Knots®,
Freeing Maximal Business, Performance, and Human Potential Daily
Ty Howard is an internationally recognized authority on organizational and managerial practices that optimize employee performance and success. He is the creator and lead facilitator of the trademarked "Untie the Knots® Optimal Performance Process," and the author of Untie the Knots®: Improving Habits, Choices, People, Relationships, Performance and Results, as well as dozens of published articles on employee and organizational performance and development worldwide. For information on his programs and services, visit: http://www.tyhoward.com.
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