8 Ways to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

Recently I conducted a full day workshop on Emotional Intelligence for Managers for a very reputed Auto components manufacturing company at Aurangabad. It was a great experience. So I thought of writing on this topic while it is still fresh in my mind.

Today we hear so many stories in the media and around us about family disputes, ugly divorces, suicides, celebrity spats in public and much more. It is evident that the people involved in all these incidents have been dealing with difficult emotions that they were unable to handle well. Sometimes resulting in horrible consequences, including loss of life in a few cases.

Due to our conditioning from childhood through our family, society and educational institutions we all have been encouraged to develop our Thinking but rarely encouraged to pay attention to our Emotional side. In fact, we all have been ridiculed at times if we show emotions in public. Statements like “Boys never cry” “Don’t be a cry baby” “Tears are indicative of weakness” and regular bombardment of all such kinds of expressions make us ignore our emotions or suppress them. But mind you, these emotions don’t go away just by shooing them away, they remain buried inside and then show up at wrong times and may be violently too. Have you seen this happening around you or experienced it yourself?

Can we change all this? The answers is Yes, if we can develop Emotional Intelligence. And hence this article.

You’ve likely heard the term “emotional intelligence,” which was first used in 1990. Emotional intelligence is commonly described as the ability to perceive, evaluate, and manage emotions in others and ourselves. Many experts consider it to be a better indicator for success than someone’s IQ. Your ability to manage yourself and others is dependent on your emotional intelligence. And the good news is that unlike IQ, Emotional Intelligence can be developed.

Try these techniques to develop and increase your emotional intelligence:

  1. It is perfectly normal to feel the emotions. Be aware that it’s perfectly OK to have emotions and express those emotions appropriately. It is an integral and beautiful part of Being Human (I am not talking about the brand here 🙂 ).
  1. Accept responsibility for your emotions and actions. Realize that outside influences don’t determine your emotions and behavior. You can view things from a different perspective, and choose how you’ll respond.
  2. Work on your listening skills. If you train yourself to focus 100% on whoever you’re interacting with, you’ll be in a better position to notice and evaluate what they’re thinking and feeling. 
  • It isn’t easy to hide one’s emotions, but you still have to pay attention. The more attentive you are, the better you can respond.
  1. Develop self-awareness. We’re constantly monitoring our bank accounts and the number on the bathroom scale. Yet, few of us monitor our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Ask yourself throughout the day what you’re feeling. Is the way you’re feeling negatively affecting your choices? 
  • Are you choosing your behaviors in an intelligent manner or allowing others to push your buttons?
  • I sometimes use this analogy of – Who carries your Remote Control? Do you get upset, angry when someone says something or behaves in a particular fashion? Or you keep the awareness that nobody can upset you or make you angry without your permission? Meaning you take your Emotional Remote Control in your hand.
  1. Learn to effectively deal with your impulses. Impulsiveness is a common cause of personal turmoil. We feel bad, so we order a pizza even after we’ve already had dinner. Or we grab a credit card and purchase something unnecessary. Fashionably this is called Shopping Therapy these days. This type of behavior moves us further away from our objectives. 
  • Notice when you’re behaving in a counterproductive manner and strive to make a more effective choice. Being successful and happy can be challenging enough on its own. Avoid sabotaging yourself.
  1. Volunteer with those less fortunate. Spending time with and serving those in need will increase your sensitivity for others. 
  • Going beyond yourself and connecting with others’ needs is very helpful. This gives you a lot of satisfaction and happiness. You’re also likely to develop greater sensitivity for others and learn to manage your own emotions in a positive manner.
  1. Keep the focus on responding. Those with lower levels of emotional intelligence react, rather than respond. Responding requires thought and consideration. When you respond, you’re making a decision. Reacting is more like a reflex. There’s no thought involved, just the emotional response.
  • Have you ever regretted saying or doing something without thinking it through? How would you have handled the situation differently? What can you do to give yourself the mental space to respond more effectively in the future?
  1. Work at increasing your empathy. Those with high levels of emotional intelligence are skilled at recognizing and relating to the emotions of others. Recognizing that someone is upset will allow you to have a more effective response. 
  • Ask yourself how you would like to be treated if you were feeling the same emotions.

Emotional intelligence is an important component of healthy relationships, both at home and work. Your life will be more successful if you can effectively learn how to manage the emotions of yourself and others.

Your thoughts, comments please?

NOTE: Do you want to know your Emotional Intelligence score? If yes, please contact me and I will send you a FREE Questionnaire that will tell you how well are you doing on this important competency. It’s a very useful tool that you can use for yourself and for your teams.

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