10 Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence
Before we get into the 10 ways to improve emotional intelligence, a quick description of what emotional intelligence (sometimes referred to as EQ) is.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to access your best performance, even when under pressure. With well developed EQ you'll think clearly, make great decisions, and handle your own and others emotions no matter the circumstances.
Rockstar leaders and team members tend to have outstanding emotional intelligence skills. and as individuals and teams, they are always on the hunt for ways to improve emotional intelligence.
Get excited - emotional intelligence is not fixed. With focus and dedication to being at your best, you can improve your EQ which means greater life success.
Five Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence
Tip 1: Become Aware
For a healthy day - use this exercise
Interrupt yourself several times throughout the day to ask,
"Where was I a moment ago?"
You may be appalled to see how often you were wandering in dangerous places, both mentally and emotionally. Maybe you were in storm of anger or in a jungle of despair
Take note of your physical reactions.
Is your stomach clenched, your throat tight, heart beating rapidly/slowly, jaw clamped?
These are all indicators of emotional charges in your body ... which leads to feelings. Feelings that could help or hinder your success. In the Performing Under Pressure training we take you deeper into how you can better control your behaviors -- which will give you superior results.
Tip 2: Breathe
Neuroscientist and leadership expert, Dr Allan Watkins says: "Being able to make the right choices, at work and at home, requires clear thinking. And if we want to be able to think clearly, we must pay attention to our biology."
Once you've become aware (e.g. clammy hands, racing heart) that you're having an emotional attack, calm yourself by breathing.
For example, breathe in for four counts, out for four (doesn't matter the number of counts as long as it is rhythmic.)
This will permit oxygen to race to your brain, enabling you to think clearly and make better decisions about how you react
In the Ted Talk below Dr Alan shares with you the foundation for clear thinking.
In the second part of his Ted Talk, Dr Alan shares the Breathe technique
I have been using this technique for years, since first watching these two videos. It really has enabled me to perform at much higher levels. So simple, but such a very, very powerful way to improve your emotional intelligence.
Through The Heart
Tip 3: Design Your Inner Compass
People with a clearly defined picture of where they are going, why they are going and how they are getting there, have always led those who don’t.
Having a clear vision and principles to live by provides you with the fuel and motivation to have a tremendous zest for life and to live with deliberate intent on how you show up as a person and a leader.
Access My Career My Choice for insights into how to develop your Inner Compass. I've yet to meet a "Rockstar" Leader who doesn't have an Inner Compass they use to guide their life.
Tip 4: Take Inspired Action
Once you've created your Inner Compass it is time to set your EQ goals.
Making use of the Deliberate Intent principle is how you shine
Create a ritual to review your Inner Compass, Life/Career Goals and EQ Goals each day. This will keep you laser-focused and inspired to show up as the best version of you every day.
Tip 5: Pre-pave with Segment Intending
Once you've created your Inner Compass it is time to set your EQ goals.
For most people their lives slip from one moment to the next ... passing by in a blur. Their negative feelings from a previous moment get dragged into the next, as they live their life on default.
Rockstar Leaders take a moment to decide what the next segment of their day looks like.
You set the intent that the next moment in time will be great. That you choose to show up at your best, and expect the best outcomes. That you don't drag any negative thoughts or feelings into the next segment.
Will it work every time? Of course not? But the more you reframe and pre-pave the stronger you will show up!
Going into a Meeting
My intention for this next segment of my day is that, I listen with curiosity to my colleagues ideas. I work with them toward solutions that we are all comfortable with and enhance profit and productivity
Arriving home from work
My intention for this next segment of my day is that, I am engaged with the stories of the day my family shares with me. I bring peace and happiness as I walk into the room
A Difficult Conversation
My intention for this next segment of my day is that, I work in partnership with this person, and we both calmly discuss options that will enable us to move forward
Tip 6: Think and Act Bigger
This tip works hand in glove, with the previous tip on pre-paving.
For every meeting/interaction you are about to step into ask yourself and write out (like it is an agenda item for yourself):
Pre-pave and be deliberate about being better and more impactful than just getting 'shit' done!
Tip 7: Emotional Charisma
The research is very clear, a leader's emotional state flows through the entire organisation
It is critical that you take the time to sense and recognize your feelings and describe them as accurately as you can.
There's a world of difference between "I'm angry" to "I'm frustrated)
People with high EQ have a wide vocabulary they can use to accurately describe their feeling.
The more specific you are the better equipped you are to deal with it.
Tip 8: Reflect
Between each meeting/segment set aside 10-15 minutes to reflect upon
Tip 9: Express Appreciation
Avoid the critical heart
Paradoxically, sometimes the reason you're a good leader is because you have trained yourself to think about what’s wrong and to look for opportunities for improvement.
To that end, you have trained yourself to have a critical heart.
Therefore, it’s important to retrain and reassess your heart, so it becomes more appreciative.
Create a pie reflecting:
Tip 10: Exercise and Journal
I am not going to bang on about this - because you've heard it every where!
But the research from an EQ perspective is very clear.
Exercise and Journaling are two key ways to improve emotional intelligence. These tools that have a profound impact on how you show up.
If you aren't doing either/both of these (or willing to do) you probably aren't a Rockstar.
And that's fine ... just be okay with being average
Ready to Dive Deep
Ready to go deep with more ways to improve your emotional intelligence? Access the Performing Under Pressure training and get your personalised Behavioral Insights Report. With your personalised report you'll get 45+ tips and strategies specific to you.
This powerful report and training sets you on the pathway to being a rockstar influencer and superior performer
Download the PDF
Download the 10 Ways to Improve Emotional Intelligence in high-quality printable pdf format. Watch the video below to take a quick peek at what you will get.
To get the most value from the booklet, apply one of the practices each day. Your emotional state and responses will become more positive and productive.