“Emotional intelligence emerges as a much stronger predictor of who will be most successful, because it is how we handle ourselves in our relationships that determines how well we do in a given job.”
~ Daniel Goleman
Last weekend, after I presented a program on Emotional Intelligence at a leadership education conference, one of the attendees approached me as I was packing up. “I really enjoyed your presentation,” he said. “What I especially liked”, he continued, “was that you gave us ‘how-tos’. Now I know exactly what I need to work on.”
That brief conversation reminded me, as a presenter, how important it is to help audience members feel that – after attending a program – they’re better equipped to deal with the challenges they’re facing so they can be more effective.
In the spirit of that, this month I’d like to share some techniques that are especially helpful in developing greater EQ competencies.
These ten tips – adapted from Jeffrey Auerbach’s book on Executive Coaching – help to increase emotional self-awareness, which is a critical foundation for emotional intelligence. Why? Because the ability to recognize and understand our own feelings and behavior has a direct impact on how well we interact and get along with others. In business and in family life, the ability to establish and maintain great relationships is an essential ingredient for personal and professional success.
10 Ways to Develop Greater Emotional Intelligence
1. Develop the skill of holding constructive internal dialogues: When dealing with a challenging situation, a helpful inner dialogue might be:
o “What is the challenge right now that is leading to this tension?”
o “What feelings do I notice?”
o “I know I feel angry. What would be a constructive behavior right now?”
o “I think it’s best not to raise my voice right now.”
o “I’ll get a better outcome if I wait until after the meeting and talk with this person privately.”
2. Because impulse control is an important component of emotional intelligence, the following techniques help in managing stressful situations. Daniel Feldman describes this simple 4 step technique in “The Handbook of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership”:
a) Take two slow abdominal breaths…
b) Ask yourself: “What am I thinking and feeling?”
c) “What negative thoughts am I having?”
d) “What would be a way to rephrase any negative thoughts to more helpful thoughts?”
3. Try a simple two-step coaching approach:
a) Ask yourself: “What is the positive outcome I want?”
b) Next: “What are one or two practical steps I will take to achieve that outcome?”
4. Have an emotionally intelligent role model:
Identify someone whom you admire for their emotional intelligence. Then consider: “How would my EI mentor respond in this situation?”
5. Develop greater self-awareness by asking questions like these:
a) “What am I feeling?”
b) “How am I acting?”
c) “What sensations am I having?”
d) “What do I want?”
e) “What assumptions am I making?”
6. Improve the accuracy of your perceptions by uncovering biases. Suppose you anticipate tension at a certain meeting .…
o Before the meeting, write a paragraph about how you view the situation.
o During the meeting, adopt the attitude of trying to understand the other person’s concerns and take some notes about what you are learning from the other person.
o Ask yourself: “What assumptions, biases, or other perspectives did I realize about the person I was communicating with?”
7. Aim to see the advantage of adapting your communication style to your audience. When preparing to communicate a message ask:
o “What will be the most effective way to communicate my message?”
o “What preparation do I need to make sure my message has the desired outcome?”
8. To increase competency in managing conflicts, bring disagreements out into the open. Become aware of and express other people’s points of view.
9. Be proactive rather than reactive. Daniel Feldman describes a useful, easy-to-remember technique to help individuals operate with high emotional competencies:
o Pause before you react to a situation.
o Reflect on what is behind any emotions or reactions you are experiencing
o Choose the appropriate thoughts and actions that will make the situation turn out well.
10. Cultivate realistic optimism. For example, adopt more optimistic self-talk.
This month’s practice:
• Select one or two of the ten suggestions that especially appeal to you and commit to a regular daily practice.
• Aim to use these “how-tos” to create more positivity among those around you; and be sure to notice the impact your behavior has on your performance – as well as others’.
• Remember, as human beings we move towards pleasure and away from what seems painful – so be sure to remind yourself of the benefits you’ll derive when you commit to doing your part in developing greater EQ.
• Acknowledge your success in building healthier, happier, more harmonious relationships by celebrating both big and small wins.
The bottom line: If you want to establish and maintain more meaningful relationships – and achieve greater success – its helps considerably to have the EQ edge!
Moving From Reactive To Responsive
Watch a short video of Mary discussing
“Moving From Reactive To Responsive“