Seven Ways To Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence

In a world where one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is perceived as the gateway to success, there is a tendency to neglect “emotions” and consider “Emotional Intelligence (EI)” as a roadblock to success. However, latest research has proven EI as a greater predictor of success than IQ.

So, what is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. This involves the following, as shared by Daniel Goleman in his Emoticons_postlandmark book “Emotional
Intelligence”:

  • Knowing one’s own emotions (self awareness)
  • Managing one’s emotions (self regulation)
  • Handling relationships (social skills)
  • Recognizing emotions in others (empathy) and
  • Motivating oneself (motivation)

Mayer & Salovey, while defining EI, speak of it as also “using emotions to facilitate thought”( I love this phrase!). EI without “facilitating thought” is useless. Facilitating thought among emotions drives results!

Having given this short introduction to Emotional Intelligence, here are seven ways that I believe could help you become more Emotionally Intelligent!

Seven Ways to Enhance your Emotional Intelligence

1. Journaling

Spending time to write down your thoughts in a Journal on a regular basis, even for a short time, would help you. The act of putting pen or pencil on paper moves thoughts to words and helps you make your thoughts more concrete. This is a great reflection process that helps you learn more about your emotions, reactions to situations and how you see the world.

A special type of journaling involves maintaining a “Gratitude Journal” where you can write down “Three Gratitudes” (three things that you are grateful for) every night or morning. This increases the positive emotions in you and helps you see the world with a better perspective.

Another type of journal is a “Feeling Journal” which could involve logging your feelings – how you are feeling at morning, afternoon, evening and night. You can jot down your feeling as well as the time of the day and circumstances to log your feelings and review them later. You would be surprised at the trends that may come up showing when, where and how your emotions were altered.

2. Being More Mindful

The rush and pressure that drives us today gives us very few chances to be mindful. You may find it difficult to stay connected to the present while you are bombarded with messages from around the world through the omnipresent mobile phone. In all this rush, can you slow down for a moment, a minute and look at the world through a new lens?

Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a strenuous activity. You can become more mindful by simple activities such as:

  • Focusing more on the present – being aware of what you are doing, the people that you are speaking with, the food that you are eating, slowing down to smell the roses, driving your vehicle, etc.
  • Meditating for five to ten minutes – just closing your eyes and watching your breath for five to ten minutes every day could make you a lot more mindful over a period of two to three months
  • Finding ‘Me time’ – this is your time – a time when you are alone and do nothing or a favorite activity that totally immerses you in it without external pressures. Introverts need this time to recharge and extroverts need it even more because they don’t usually realize that they need this time!
  • Focusing more on the positive – by using positive words, thinking positive thoughts and seeing the good in everything & everyone around

3. Listening more

To recognize emotions in others and to handle relationships well, listening is critical.

When listening, you have to listen without judgement. Don’t bother about what your reply should be or what was wrong with the other person’s thoughts. Just listen.

Also, when listening, watch out for changes in facial expressions and body language – these can speak volumes more than the words that the other person is speaking. Especially when in conflict, use that as an opportunity to learn and reflect instead of just getting even with the other party.

4. Asking for more feedback

While listening is good, it is also important to elicit feedback from others on yourself, your emotions and how you come across to others. And when receiving feedback, listen without defending yourself and if the feedback is genuine, work on it with gusto. You can check out this simple process that I have shared for eliciting feedback from your team or stakeholders, if you are searching for ideas.

5. Listening to your body

Do you know that your body speaks to you (although not in as many words!)? The aches that you feel, the weariness of your eyes, the yearning for sleep – all of these are words from your body.

We don’t listen to our body – we push it, stretch it, ignore it till it protests and stops with a loud grunt. The more we listen to our body and adapt ourselves; we become more aware and effective.

6. Being Responsible

Taking responsibility for your words, actions and decisions makes you more emotionally strong and gets you more respect from those whom you lead or work with. Instead of assuming that “we feel…” something, take responsibility and switch to “I feel…” Passing blame on to others doesn’t get you anywhere and only reduces your credibility.

7. Finding a Coach

The inner journey of becoming more emotionally intelligent may be difficult, if travelling alone, for some of us. Finding a good coach or mentor who can work with you on your journey can make the process easier and more effective. As a coach and as someone who has been coached, I can attest the effectiveness of the coaching process (if you need help in finding a coach, contact me – I can help you!) and believe that all of us would need coaches at some stages / crossroads in our life.

These aren’t the only seven ways to enhance your Emotional Intelligence. I am sure that you know more! Why don’t you share the ways that you use in the comments below?

6 thoughts on “Seven Ways To Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence

  1. Great article, Dominic. I would like to add another point to it, that is HOPE. Adults wouldn’t learn unless we attach our new experience to a framework (Context). An effective leader uses the purpose as context (why we are doing what we are doing VS measurement). With the context being the purpose in the Organization, is what we call vision – something beyond us stimulates Hope. Not only in Organizations, even is social relationships, ‘hope’ will bring in calmness in the way we handle things, enhancing our EI. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this.

    1. Lovely thought, Dinesh! Totally agree with you! Without hope, we cannot be in the present. And being more present increases our Emotional Intelligence. Once more, thank you for joining the conversation!

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