Commitment, passion and drive are just a few of the qualities required for success, but perhaps one of the most vitalskills is emotional intelligence.
With recent studies showing that 90% of top performers possess a higher level of emotional intelligence, can we really afford to miss out on supercharging our potential?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to tune into your own and other’s emotions. When you’re high in emotional intelligence, you’re able to understand and respond to emotions with an awareness of how your words and actions affect those around you. Cultivating an intelligent use of emotions boosts your ability to manage relationships, influence others and increases your productivity levels, all of which are key elements to success.
Below are 5 ways to master the all-important skill of emotional intelligence:
When we have an increased level of self-awareness, we’re able to clearly recognise, label and understand our emotions, values and drivers.
Having the ability to recognise our emotional states and how they affect our thoughts and behaviours allows us to reflect on who we are, what we’re good at and why we make certain decisions. When we’re able to review things from an objective viewpoint we’re able to gain clarity on our strengths and weaknesses, nip challenges and future complications in the bud, improve ourselves and reach our maximum potential.
Conducting a personal SWOT analysis, consisting of your personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is a great way for you to enhance your level of self-awareness and get clear on what areas you would like to work on.
In a notepad, list the headings ‘strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats’ and divide it into four separate columns, then fill each column with the answers to the following questions:
What are your existing strengths? (skills or education) What personal resources do you have access to? (connections) What do other people see as your strengths? Which achievements are you most proud of?
What areas of your life or business hold you back due to a lack of confidence? Are you happy with your education and skills training? What habits or personality traits would you like to improve?
What new technology could free up your time? Could you enlist the services of a life coach or business mentor to accelerate your success? Do you have a network of contacts to offer good advice or help you? What healthy habits could you incorporate into your lifestyle?
What obstacles do you face? What beliefs/fears are holding you back? Are you marketable? Are you up to speed with the latest technologies/trends?
2. State management
When emotion is high, intelligence can usually be low, and learning how to manage your emotions allows you to quickly find solutions, make better-informed decisions and avoid jeopardizing the relationships, attitudes and culture within your business. When you’re able to effectively manage your emotions you’re better equipped to understand how verbal and non-verbal communication can impact those around you, which can help you to avoid rushing into hasty decisions or reacting impulsively, so that you can stay in control of your state. The next time you find yourself in an un-resourceful state, take a step back and ask yourself what about the situation is causing me to feel this way? Is this state helpful or harmful to my business? What can I do to counteract this in the future? Learning to become aware of your emotional responses, and recognising which states serve you and which states don’t, can help you to release yourself from unhelpful thoughts or behaviours which could be moving you away from achieving your business goals.
3. Effective communication
Perhaps one of the strongest benefits of emotional intelligence is the ability to communicate effectively. Studies show that effective communication is 7% the words we say and 93% tone and body language, and it is usually miscommunication that can lead to frustration, bitterness or confusion. Emotional intelligence allows you to identify and relate to the behaviours and needs of those around you and communicate in a way which benefits them.
Some ways that you can enhance your communication include:
Reflective listening: choose to mindfully listen to others, hear what they are saying and clarify what they mean if you’re unsure. When you confirm what others have said you’re better able to avoid any misunderstandings and you’re able to remain present to their needs, providing you with the opportunity to add more value to the conversation.
Tone: being aware of the way in which you deliver your message through the use of your tone of voice and body language can transform how your message is received. Choosing to be conscious of how you are communicating can impact the outcome.
Differences: remembering that we’re all different, and considering how each individual may like to be communicated with, is a great way to enhance how your message gets received. My favourite tool to distinguish peoples’ preferred communication styles is DISC (personality profiling). You can read more about DISC in my book ‘Do It or Ditch It’.
4. Social awareness
Empathising with others allows us to tune into their emotions and recognise how and why people feel the way they do. The more we can relate to others, the better we become at understanding what motivates them or upsets them, which can help us to anticipate how our actions and behaviours can impact on them.
Choosing to see things from another person’s point of view, rather than inflicting your own beliefs or judgments, can help you to be more understanding of other’s behaviours, perspectives and what’s going on in their lives.
Having the ability to put yourself into another person’s shoes allows you to develop stronger relationships, gain a better understanding of the world around you and provide feedback that can motivate those around you. The more socially aware you are, the easier it becomes to build rapport and win the respect and loyalty of others.
5. Conflict buster
Having a strong level of emotional intelligence allows us to handle conflict more efficiently. When you’re able to manage your emotions and effectively communicate them to those around you, you’re in a much better position to provide a calm and considered resolution.
Alongside state management and effective communication, having the ability to empathise and shift to another’s perspective, see the intention behind their behaviour and, reflecting on how your message may have been perceived by another according to their model of the world, can assist you in busting through conflict and focus on finding solutions.
The next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, imagine what it’s like to be the other person. Put yourself in their shoes. What could they be seeing, hearing and feeling? Carefully considering how your actions can impact on another can help you to avoid disrupting the efficiency or productivity of yourself or those around you and maintain positive momentum.
With so many benefits, it’s clear to see that emotional intelligence is a powerful tool that can help you to increase your self-awareness, enhance relationships and create a healthy and productive working environment, all of which can drive high performance and are crucial to success.