In part two of this series on emotional intelligence, we are going to explore the ways that you can improve your emotional intelligence, according to Daniel Goleman. This might not be an easy task for you, but if you’re serious, then sit down and really think about how these four things apply to your life. What are you doing that can give off bad vibes without even knowing it? Emotional intelligence doesn’t seem like a difficult concept to grasp, but understanding how to develop it can be challenging.
The first part of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. More specifically, you have to be very in tune with your emotions. When I started down this road of self-discovery, this was a big part of it. Why was I having certain emotions versus others? Or, more importantly, what was causing one emotion to be triggered by a certain event? For me, those emotions can come out of left field. One minute I’m in a good mood, and the next, I’m running to the bathroom to have a good cry. Understanding what triggers those emotions will help you be more mindful of them.
We are constantly on the go, so it’s no wonder that people have no concept of what’s going on in their brains. There is no time to think, and therefore we don’t have time to act on the emotions that are rising up in us. They don’t necessarily have to be bad. But maybe a co-worker or a friend comes to you for help, and instead of being nice and helping, you laugh at them. You think – really, you can’t figure this out? That’s not emotional intelligence. Understanding that the other person is struggling and then responding appropriately to that is emotional intelligence.
That first step can actually be exhausting. But, if you’re really interested in this idea of emotional intelligence, you’ll keep going. Knowing what emotions you’re having and when is great. But you can’t go around the office crying everytime your boss looks at you sideways. You need to have a good understanding of how to control your emotions as well. People who are intellectually intelligent, or even physically strong can be regularly overpowered by their emotions. I am a great test case for this one. This might take you a while to really master, but that’s ok. Being able to control your temper and ego in a work situation is very positive. Practice delaying gratification.
This is something I do in my personal life. I have a lot going on right now in my life. There are days that I come home from work and I want to go straight to bed. But I can’t. I just have too much to do. I give myself a reward, which I only get if I can complete all my tasks by a certain time. You can (and should) apply it to your job as well. If you’re constantly getting worked up about your boss, keep track of how often you get upset. Let’s say its 10 times. Next week, try to reduce that to 8, or even 5. If you can, give yourself a reward. You’ll feel better and have a better work environment.
As you become more aware of your emotions, you’ll start to pick up on the emotions of others. This is a natural response, but it can be broken down into three parts:
- People that are socially aware are empathetic — not to be confused with sympathetic or compassionate. In addition to recognizing the feelings of others, empathetic people share these emotions. In other words, they understand and relate to the emotions of others.
- They are organizationally aware. In business, people who understand how the politics and structure of an organization affect the employees there are organizationally aware.
- Lastly, social awareness is associated with service. Simply understanding the needs of others is not enough — you must meet their needs, too.
The last part of emotional intelligence revolves around the ability to connect with others to help them feel understood and supported. Like the other aspects of emotional intelligence, social skills has positive outcomes – like the ability to manage personal and interpersonal change. When we are on the same wavelength as others, we are more able to help them and give them practical advice.
While all of this information is great, being able to execute it seems daunting. The first step is to increase your self-awareness. While I wouldn’t say that I have strong emotional intelligence, I am much more self-aware. I can tell when I’m getting upset. I don’t necessarily understand why, but I write it down and I think about it later. When it comes up again, I use that information to think about a strategy for making a change. It’s easier said than done, but if I can do it, so can you.