4 Ways Leaders Develop Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional intelligence (EI) sounds like one of those flaky buzzwords that so called experts toss around to sell their books and workshops.  But a close look reveals that it is based on the knowledge about self and can help maximize your leadership abilities in the workplace. According to Mindtools, “EI is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they're telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.” Components of Emotional Intelligence

One of the foremost authorities on EI in the world, American psychologist, Daniel Goleman, developed a framework to describe the elements comprising emotional intelligence.

Self-Awareness: Knowing and understanding your emotions and being able to effectively manage them is the essence of self awareness.  People who are self aware understand what are their strengths and weaknesses and they are able to work on improvement of the weaknesses.

Self-Regulation: Knowing the emotions is the first step; the next is to be able to manage those emotions.  People who are self regulated, don’t let the emotions take the best of them.  They don’t act on impulse or make decisions without thoughtful consideration.  Such people are secure in them and are able to say NO if the situation requires it.

Motivation: A direct result of self awareness and self regulation is self motivation.  Such people are usually driven by a mission and work for long term benefits rather than short term success.

Empathy: This is one of the most important elements of this framework.  According to Goleman, "This is perhaps the second-most important element of EI. Empathy  is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening  , and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.”

Social Skills: Good social skills are considered to be a sign of strong emotional intelligence.  Such people are generally good at working with people and are a source of energy in a team environment.  Their success comes from their ability to communicate well and effectively manage relationships.

Tips for Improving Emotional Intelligence

Learn to empathize: Pay attention to other people especially how your actions are impacting their feelings.  When you are talking to people try to actually listen to them and observe their body language as well as other non-verbal clues.  The ultimate objective here is to see the situation from other person’s perspective.

Learn to recognize how you feel: Rather than just going through the motions during the day, learn to pay attention to how you feel.  Step back from the daily routine a few times a day and see how you are feeling at that point in the day and where those feelings are coming from.  You may be feeling happy, angry, sad, frustrated, confused, irritated etc.  Each of these feelings affects on your behavior in a different way thus defining your actions.

See how you behave as a response to your feelings: Getting in tune with your feelings is the first step, now comes a very important part, i.e. how you react to your feelings.  Once you start recognizing the feelings and their impact on your behavior, you will be able to work on modification of the negative behaviors that may be hurting you professionally as well as personally.

Don’t just react, respond consciously: Hannah Braime at Lifehack explains it very well: “Reacting is an unconscious process where we experience an emotional trigger, and behave in an unconscious way that expresses or relieves that emotion (for example, feeling irritated and snapping at the person who has just interrupted you).

Responding is a conscious process that involves noticing how you feel, then deciding how you want to behave (for example, feeling irritated, explaining to the person how you feel, why this isn’t a good time to be interrupting you, and when would be better).”

“If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” Daniel Goleman

Author Bio: Sabrina Walker is a specialized academic writer and now working at mightyresearchpapers.com in USA to consult students for their college and university projects.