This is a guest article by Aimee C. Teesdale. If you would like to hear more. Book your tickets to her next talk with this link
How to develop emotional intelligence
It seems that everyone, particularly in the corporate and business world, is talking about ‘emotional intelligence’ these days. It’s considered essential for success and whenever I mention that it’s something I specialise in helping my coaching clients to develop, I usually get one of two responses:
“I could do with some of that myself!” or “My boyfriend could do with some of that himself!”
But what actually is it?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of and understand the emotions we are experiencing and how they affect our behaviour, so that we can manage ourselves more effectively. This goes for understanding other people’s emotions too: in other words, how to manage and interact with people effectively based on what we understand about what emotions they might be experiencing.
For example, you might be feeling angry at the person who just rudely cut in front of you and you may have an urge to shout at them – but you manage not to give into that urge. Or you understand how someone might be feeling since they just received some bad news, but you know what to say or do in order to help them through it.
How important is it?
Daniel Goleman, one of the most prominent researchers in this field, estimates that anything between 60-80% of the factors that differentiate those who are most successful in their lives vs. those who are not, are due to emotional based competencies. It’s even more important than their technical competencies or IQ.
Many of us are familiar with seeing someone being selected for a position over someone else simply because of their likeability, and not because their actual competence. And research from hundreds of studies across all industries and areas of life, including personal, agree that EQ is the most important factor that determines our success.
Why is it so important?
Believe it or not, every single one us is an emotion-driven creature. As much as we like to think we make decisions based on logic, it’s simply not true. The Journal of Advertising Research states that emotions are twice as important as facts when making purchasing decisions. We simply justify our decisions with logic, after our emotions have told us what we want.
For example, most of us have attempted to lose weight at some point in our lives and found it difficult. But it wasn’t difficult because we didn’t KNOW that exercise = good and over-eating = bad. It was because we found it hard to manage our emotional cravings for food, or our impulse to stay in bed and skip the painful gym. That’s where we failed to manage our emotions in a way that serves our long-term goals.
What skills are involved?
There are 4 main skills that make up our emotional intelligence:
Self awareness: recognising our emotions and understanding our own strengths and weaknesses
Self-control: the ability to control our behaviour as opposed to giving into feelings or impulses, as well as manage stress, remain resilient, or take initiative
Empathy: understanding other people and what they might be feeling, and valuing helping others
Relationship management: our ability to effectively communicate, influence, lead other people
The great news is that EQ is not a fixed trait or ability, it’s something we can learn and improve. In my upcoming talk I will go through 4 exercises, one for each of the 4 main skills of emotional intelligence, so that you can walk away with useful knowledge and practical advice to help you be more emotionally intelligent in your own life.
If you would like to hear more from Aimee, you can book your tickets to her next talk with this link.