Everyone seems to be constantly talking about Emotional Intelligence (E.Q.). However, if I were to ask you exactly what the term “Emotional Intelligence” means, you would probably be hard pressed to define it. You might also have a difficult time explaining how it shows up in your business and your life. For the most accurate definition let’s turn to the guru himself, Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence” who states: “Emotional Intelligence is the master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them.”
The above definition sounds great, however, it probably doesn’t amount to a hill of beans for most people. Therefore, in my work with clients and organizations, I’ve simplified the definition of emotional intelligence as being the ability to use your emotions intelligently, in real time, to build and sustain healthy relationships.
People with high Emotional Intelligence are in control of their emotions instead of having their emotions control them!
Think of all the brilliant people you know who would be more successful and happier if they had a clue as to how negatively others perceived them. These people possess a very low level of emotional intelligence, in spite of what may be a very high I.Q., so their success is compromised.
Without healthy relationships, your success is handicapped because as Stephen Covey, best selling author of: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” wrote: “all success begins with relationships.”
Here’s the really good news. Unlike your Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.), your Emotional Intelligence can be exponentially increased throughout your lifetime.
Following are 3 critical ways to increase your Emotional Intelligence (E.Q.)
1. Increase Self-Awareness – Know Thyself. Learn what makes you tick, and perhaps more importantly, learn what ticks you off. Things that tick you off are commonly referred to as trigger points or “hot buttons” because they “trigger” uncontrollable emotional reaction(s) in you – ones that you often regret. How many times have you wished you could take back hurtful words spoken in anger, but they were out of your mouth before you even realized it? Increasing your self-awareness provides you with a greater understanding of your own emotions and is a critical step towards controlling them.
2. Learn Effective Verbal & Non-Verbal Communication Skills. The great comedian George Bernard Shaw said: “the biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Can’t we all agree with that?
Communication consists of three main components: verbal, non-verbal and active listening.
Verbal Communication describes the words we choose to use. The more emotionally charged a situation is, the more imperative it is we choose our words carefully. There are many words we can use to communicate our message, so pick the ones that will not alienate others.
Non-verbal communication involves every other aspect of communication other than verbal communication: body language, posture, tone, attitude, etc. Many times it is not what we say but how we say it that creates difficulties in our relationships. Therefore, it is vitally important to be aware of our tone and attitude and how we are coming across if we want to effectively communicate our message.
Active Listening. Active listening is not just about standing by silently as someone speaks. Active listening involves being fully present and totally engaged in a manner whereby the person you are listening to feels both heard and understood, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.
3. Show authenticity and genuineness. People with high emotional intelligence demonstrate sincere interest in other people. They genuinely understand that “it is not all about them!” They make it a point to learn the names of the spouses and children of the people with whom they work, and show a genuine interest in their hobbies and activities outside the work relationship. This promotes positive feelings and good will – an invaluable intangible necessary for one’s success!
In the final analysis, the heart of all business is people. Increasing your emotional intelligence will help you connect with the heart of your business – and increase your success!
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