Emotional intelligence is far more than simply understanding how you and others feel. It’s also about self-regulation, social skills and motivation.
How are you? No, really, how are you? An often used question that is asked out of politeness, whilst not necessarily wanting to hear an honest answer. But we genuinely want to know!
Are you able to cope with all that life throws at you? Do you have the emotional intelligence to understand your emotions, yet not let your feelings rule you? Especially in the workplace where we are supposed to hide our emotions and just get on, perform, achieve.
Our emotions are always there, including at work, whether we like it or not. So let’s figure out how to control them without stifling them.
It’s human nature to try to separate things out and compartmentalise our lives. For years we’ve thought that there’s no place for emotions in the business world. But they are there, whether we like it or not. In fact, it’s a dangerous mindset to think there’s no place for emotions in the workplace. It’s a fact of life – if we didn’t have them it would be far more concerning.
The trouble is, when you’re really busy at work with deadlines and goals to achieve it’s not always easy to recognise how you come across to others. You’re so focused on what you’re doing that the way you communicate to others – even though you’re not actually saying anything bad – can be misinterpreted because of your body language or the nuance of your voice. Sometimes the things we say flippantly, in the heat of the moment, can leave colleagues feeling belittled, put down or ignored.
Your team may feel that their needs are not being met if you’re too focused on performance, objectives and goals. Which, of course, are all important, but having high Emotional Intelligence (EI) coaching means you can manage these essential things whilst building an excellent rapport with your teams. EI coaching helps you develop empathy, and practice active listening by asking open questions that allow people time to express themselves. All this improves your influence and helps bring out the best in everyone, earning mutual feelings of respect.
The five elements of emotional intelligence
Emotional Intelligence has been studied since the 1970s by many people, one of them being Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist. In his book ‘Emotional Intelligence’, published in 1995, he explains how emotional intelligence is broken down into five main elements:
- Self-awareness – When you understand your emotions and don’t let your feelings rule you, you tend to be more confident, intuitive, know your strengths and weaknesses, and will work on those areas for improved performance.1. Self-awareness – When you understand your emotions and don’t let your feelings rule you, you tend to be more confident, intuitive, know your strengths and weaknesses, and will work on those areas for improved performance.
- Self-regulation – When you know how to control your emotions, you don’t allow yourself to become too angry, jealous or impulsive. Instead, you are more thoughtful, have better integrity, can cope with change, and have the ability to say ‘no’.
- Motivation – High degrees of EI tend to result in greater motivation and passion. You are willing to defer immediate results for better long-term success. You love a challenge and tend to be very effective in all you do.
- Empathy – Good at recognising the feelings of others, being empathetic means you are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening, relating, avoiding quick judgements or stereotyping people. You live your life in a very open and honest way.
- Social Skills – Having high EI means you are easy to talk to and are a good team player, recognising the strengths of others and helping them to develop. You manage disputes well, are an excellent communicator, and build and maintain strong relationships.
Learning about and enhancing your own emotional intelligence is integral to gaining success in the workplace. There is an overlap with the characteristics of charisma, too, but it’s important to separate out and enhance your EI, which is more about how you feel about yourself, using both your body and brain to the optimum.
Good EI skills also encompass communication, of which body language is a big part. One of the most common body language mistakes people make is in not maintaining sufficient eye contact; another is to fidget too much. These can be signs of nervousness, or may be an indication that you’re preoccupied, don’t want to talk but feel you have to. Building self-awareness means noticing when things like that happen and making a conscious decision not to do them.
Can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Actually, yes you can. However old you are, it is possible to learn anything new, including how to improve your EI, if you really want to. You can learn how to notice what you’re doing with your body, how you communicate, and much, much more. The fact is, if you want to learn and improve, you will!
EI is a vast subject, so we will return to this in May’s newsletter where we’ll delve more into the reptilian brain and how it affects our stress levels and overall health.
Harnessing and Growing Emotional Intelligence
How much time, money and effort is put into developing your staff? How good are they at achieving and applying all the skills and attributes you need them to have?
Personal development in the workplace usually means improving staff performance levels, communication styles, product knowledge, and working well together – teamwork.
If you’ve been lucky and employed staff who are oozing with emotional intelligence, it would make all this development so much easier, quicker and more efficient. However, in the real world not many of us are naturally that self-aware or confident. So it makes sense to help your valued commodity – your staff – to develop their emotional intelligence.
Pinnacle Therapy’s Emotional Intelligence courses will help your staff manage their emotions, create more positive impressions and improve their personal effectiveness, as well as provide many more awareness skills that will help in your organisation’s overall success.
Book now to attend one of our 2017 Emotional Intelligence workshops in central London. The dates are:
- Friday 15th September
- Thursday 7th December
For further information on any of our workshops, either click here or call us now on 020 7060 4375.