The good news is that emotional intelligence is commonly understood to be something we can develop throughout our lives. Here are nine practical ways in which any leader or manager can improve their own EQ:
- Knowing your “triggers” – what influences particularly strong emotions in you.
- …and exploring patterns – often an emotional response can be predictable when we understand the conditions that make it more likely.
- Trusting intuition – for instance, learning to interpret what certain physical responses are telling you.
- Showing and expressing feelings – interpersonal empathy requires us not only to experience feelings, but to share them as well.
- Suspending judgement – a high EQ leader is able to observe and reflect, without rushing to fix things.
- Meta-communication – this means talking about how we are talking, and it can create transparency and trust in relationships.
- Naming emotions – there is good evidence that this can help us detach from even highly intense feelings
- Re-framing – noticing and challenging unhelpful thought processes, such as the tendency to catastrophise
- Recognising emotions as data – emotions are neurohormones released as part of our response to the world we find ourselves in. They have the objective function of focusing our attention and motivating action. As such our feelings are providing us with valuable data.