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Home » Blog » Enhancing Emotional Intelligence- 4 Steps In The Right Direction

Emotional intelligence is a skill that allows you to recognise and interpret your emotions, which affects how you interact with other people. This includes understanding and identifying different behavioural patterns in people while dealing with them. Although a critical factor in your personal AND professional life, and now increasingly significant, it is often overlooked in favour of other traditional skillsets like the intelligence quotient (IQ). Perhaps because we do not understand it, although it is more likely that we find it tough to implement in our daily lives, for it is often a subtle skill operating beneath the layers of human interaction. Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey (1990) defined emotional intelligence (EI) as the ability to regulate our feelings and use them to guide our actions. Not only do we need to understand and regulate our emotions, we must do the same for others. Emotional Intelligence stands on four pillars- self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skills.

If you go through our other blogs, you will see the word self-awareness crop up quite a few times. Called the foundation of EI, it involves recognizing and understanding your own emotions. You will not be able to understand the emotions of others before doing the same for yourself! It also calls for you to know your own strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and beliefs.

Self-regulation is the innate ability to manage emotions in a healthy, positive way. This includes controlling your impulses, delaying gratification, and coping with stress. It also involves adapting to changing situations and returning from failures or setbacks.

Empathy is a person’s ability to understand and share (act upon) the emotion that someone else is experiencing. Beware of his misguiding twin brother- sympathy, which is to simply understand the emotions of another person. Empathy is crucial for building and maintaining solid relationships, as it allows you to connect with others on a deeper level.

Social skills are tools that help us interact with others effectively. It includes communication skills, such as listening actively and expressing yourself clearly, and conflict resolution skills, such as the ability to handle disagreement constructively. Strong social skills are essential for building and maintaining positive relationships with others.

Why are we gravitating towards prioritising EI?

In the workplace, high emotional intelligence has been linked to increased job satisfaction, better leadership skills, and improved team performance. Emotionally intelligent individuals can create a positive work culture, resolve conflicts effectively, and build strong teams. Additionally, it is a critical factor in leadership and teamwork and has been shown to predict success in various roles and industries. Emotionally intelligent individuals are often more successful in their careers, as they can build strong relationships, communicate effectively, and navigate challenging situations gracefully.

Not to mention, it allows us to navigate social situations more easily. It helps us to understand the emotions and intentions of others, which enables us to respond appropriately and build stronger connections with others. Building bridges with new people and maintaining them takes work, and EI can positively impact your personal and social life as well.

Perhaps, the only con to having good emotional intelligence is that it slows down your decision-making when there are stakeholders involved, which is acceptable considering the multiple pros.

To sharpen EI, you must chisel the four pillars to a fine degree. With the benefits firmly established, it becomes obvious that working towards enhancing EI is the only way to go. These strategies, backed by coaches are a sure-shot way to an increased emotional intelligence and quotient value.

  • Self-awareness- Coaches help clients develop self-awareness by encouraging them to explore their emotions, beliefs, values, and behaviours. Through self-reflection, you can also gain a clearer understanding of your emotional triggers, patterns of behaviour, and how your emotions influence your thoughts and actions. Mental journaling is a great way to track your emotions and responses as well if physically noting them feels like a chore. Self-awareness is compulsorily followed by social awareness.
  • Self-regulation and Emotion management- Recognise, understand, and manage your own emotions (and reactions) as they should not become a burden on others often. Identifying and labelling your emotions is the first step to emotional literacy. As we are not used to doing this as often as we should, it takes deliberate attempts on our part to perfect this practice. Building self-regulation also involves developing skills to manage stress and cultivating mindfulness. Stress can significantly impact emotional well-being and hinder effective decision-making. Coping mechanisms could include creating a structured routine, practicing time management, or engaging in relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery. Mindfulness practices can range from simple breathing exercises to more extensive meditation techniques. These practices encourage individuals to observe their thoughts and emotions without attachment or judgment. By cultivating mindfulness, you can develop greater emotional resilience and the ability to respond to challenging situations in a calm and composed manner.
  • Empathy and Perspective- The next stop on the journey of enhancing EI is empathy. One effective approach is to encourage yourself to actively listen and imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes, this will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives. By incorporating awareness of body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, you can gain valuable insights into the emotions and intentions behind a person’s words. Role play with your coach will definitely help you to understand the world of non-verbal cues.
  • Social Skills- These include a vast array of skills like conflict resolution skills, building healthy boundaries, managing relationships, active listening, and asking reflective or open-ended questions in conversations. Effective communication is a cornerstone of developing social awareness and empathy. Developing these skills is always an ongoing process and you will only get better with time. Unfortunately, no amount of theoretical study will help you to perfect these skills and you must go out into the open world to foster this skillset. You will make mistakes, that is a given, but the key is to always be receptive to feedback.

Thus, emotional intelligence is the key to good mental health and being happy in the here and now. It is bound to grant stability to your life and will definitely improve your relationships, advance your career, and prop you up firmly to help achieve your personal goals. It is an investment for the future and the returns are worth their weight in gold.