Your Emotional Intelligence or EQ is your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them. You have the ability to understand and use your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.⁠

Can you improve your EQ? Yes you can:⁠

  • By practicing how you react to people⁠
  • Observe how others react to situations⁠
  • Self reflection on your own emotions

⁠According to Daniel Goleman there are 5 key elements to EQ:⁠

  1. ⁠Self Awareness⁠
  2. Self Regulation⁠
  3. Motivation⁠
  4. Social Awareness⁠
  5. Relationship Management⁠

Element #1: Self Awareness

Over the years I’ve often heard… “he or she is just not self-aware”. Actually I’ve said it myself. Self Awareness is simply understanding how you feel, why you feel that way and how it impacts our behaviour. I say simple but it can be challenging for many. The good news it is something you can work on and develop.

How can you develop self-awareness?
Know what triggers your reactions to situations
Reflect on how you respond to situations
Think before you speak or act – give yourself time
Understand what makes you happy

Are there benefits? Absolutely
You will become a better leader
You will improve your happiness
You will grow as a person
You will have better relationships

Element #2: Self-Regulation and Emotional Intelligence

You’ve decided to do dry January and your friends invite you out for a drink. You decide to order a mocktail or non-alcoholic beer. This is an example of practicing self-regulation.

Self regulation is the ability to manage your thoughts, emotions, behaviours and actions.

There are 2 types of self-regulation:
Behavioural self regulation – how you respond to situations
Emotional self regulation – how you control your emotions

People who practice self-regulation have the following traits. They are:

  • Self-aware
  • Persistent
  • Adaptable
  • Optimistic

Can you develop or improve self-regulation? Absolutely!

How?
Educate yourself
Practice self-awareness (see last week’s post)
Be kind to yourself
Exercise
Seek feedback

What are the benefits of self-regulation?
A positive mindset
Improved well-being
Stress management
More productive
Stronger level of discipline to achieve goals

Element #3: Motivation and Emotional Intelligence

When discussing motivation as an element or skill of emotional intelligence, we are talking about intrinsic motivation. This means you are motivated by the act of doing something without any obvious external rewards like money. If you eat a chocolate – you are doing so for the joy of it. If you play tennis, you do it for the love of the game or for fun.

Why is intrinsic motivation a key element? It simply drives performance. Motivated people and leaders consistently work towards achieving goals and have high expectations of themselves.

Daniel Pink says “we are motivated by other forces: autonomy, mastery and purpose.” He defines these as:

“Autonomy: This is the need to self-direct.
Mastery: This is the intrinsic motivation to get better, to master a skill.
Purpose: This is the ability to connect to a larger cause, the highest form of motivation”

Can you develop intrinsic motivation? Absolutely!

Ask yourself why you are doing what you are do.
Do things you are passionate about.
Do things that make a difference to others – do something for the greater good

Element #4: Social Awareness

Social awareness as an element or skill of emotional intelligence, means that you understand how you react to different social situations and effectively modify your interactions with other people so that you achieve the best results.

According to Daniel Goleman the competencies associated with being socially aware are:

Empathy: understanding the other person’s emotions, needs and concerns.

Organizational Awareness: the ability to understand the politics within an organization and how these affect the people working in them.

Service: the ability to understand and meet the needs of clients and customers.

Can you develop your social awareness skills? Absolutely!

How?
Listen, listen, listen – generally this is a great skill to develop but quite important when it comes to social awareness.

Repeat what is said to the person so that you are sure you heard what they intended to say.

Pay attention to the person’s tone.

Watch their body language.

Place yourself in other’s shoes.

Identify your own emotions.

Reflect

Element #5: Relationship Management

Relationship Management as an element of EQ, means using your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. Simply, it is about your interpersonal communication skills.

This is the aspect of your emotional intelligence that enables you to succeed in inspiring other people and helping them to reach their full potential. It is also important in negotiating successfully, resolving conflicts and working with others toward a shared goal.

According to Daniel Goleman the competencies associated with relationship management are:

Influence: persuading others.
Inspirational leadership: providing a vision that motivates others.
Developing others: providing feedback and building skills and knowledge.
Change catalyst: recognising the need for change and supporting the process.
Conflict management: Settling disputes, differences of opinion and misunderstanding.
Building bonds: creating and maintaining networks.
Teamwork and collaboration: building effective teams.

The stronger your emotional intelligence, the better you understand yourself which empowers you to make change happen.⁠