Emotional Intelligence & Where To Start When You Don’t Have It At All

The time when human beings will be the primary source of differentiation in every playing field is fastly approaching. Defined as the ability to make healthy choices based on accurately identifying, understanding and managing your own feelings and those of others, emotional intelligence can be considered as a key player when unlocking human potential.

Doesn’t mind if you are a natural approaching others or not, a business manager or a computer officer, we are all people and we are all dealing with people. Working on the improvement of our emotional intelligence seems to be always the right choice. But how can you positively manage your emotions, in order to better connect and the emotions of others and engage with them so they can improve and get motivated to give their best? There are a huge amount of little tips to help you go through the corridor of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management! Ready?

Self-Awareness & Self-Management

Learning how to manage your emotions is the first step in order to connect and positively influence others. Self-awareness and self-management can be strengthened through character education and modeling of positive behaviors.

1. Take a conscious and proactive decision

Realizing that you need to work on your emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of any further action. Things do not just happen. We have to work on them.

 2. Test your EQ

Testing your EQ is a fun way to start. There is a huge list of free recommended tests you can try out as The Psychology Today Test, The Mindtools Emotional Intelligence Test,  The Institute for Health and Human Potential Test, The Harvard Business Review Emotional Intelligence Test, The Alpha High IQ Society Test, or The Psychtests Scientifically validated Emotional Intelligence Test.

Remember to be truthful with yourself and be prepared to get surprised by results.

3. Ask for honest feedback

The image we have from ourselves does not always correspond with reality. Asking for the opinion of people that would be honest to us despite any inconvenient feedback could help us to put our feet in the ground.

4. Choose the morning & learn to observe your emotions as an outsider.

Wake up. Take a breathe and analyze the way you are feeling in this concrete moment. Make the effort to get distant to your feelings in order to better understand why are you feeling this way. You may be sad because the weather is rainy or extremely happy because you have an exciting event coming afterward. Accept these feelings as something that happens to you but does not define or conditionate you. Choose the early morning to make this exercise. Normally is the time of the day when we are more rested and less affected by different emotions at the time.

5. Work on strong habits.

Strong willpower is a great ally of positive emotional management.Strengthening your willpower will help you to better educate your character and control your emotions. Work on acquiring stable habits and choose one battle at the time. You can start by counting to three before answering when you are getting nervous or letting the other person finished taking before jumping in. Focus on just one goal and do not move to the next one until you are already mastering it.

6. Think positive

Choose every day one event that you have perceived as negative and dissect it analyzing all the positive side effects that it could potentially bring to you or to others. General public transport strikes are absolutely annoying and make the logistics of your day quite complicated. But think about all these taxi drivers that will make a deserved extra profit out of it.

7. Keep a personal notebook of emotional accountability.

Devote three minutes before going to bed to go through your day analyzing your won battles and those ones that should be the ground for your next objectives. Write results down. Keeping track of the efforts will help you to take it seriously and motivate you to keep going.

Social Awareness & Relationship Management

Once you start to be already aware and in control of your own emotions, it is time to start working on understanding how others are feeling, and finding ways to become more empathetic.

1. Take a conscious and proactive decision

Back to the cornerstone of every valuable change or improvement. You need to work on a real strategy of little actions that will lead you to the achievement of your objectives.

2.Have a face-to-face coffee moment per week

If people emotions are not your strong point but you are determined to exercise your empathy, start by meeting regularly with your closest ones. Appointing a friend to friend moment with your daughter, a romantic date with your partner, a happy after hour with your workplace colleague, or a follow-up coffee with your old friend from school will set up the easiest environment to start working on your empathy and understanding others emotions.

3. The rule of the Age- Sex- Circumstance

Analyzing the basic information of the person in from of you can already provide you with lots of useful information.

Recognizing if you are dealing with a young man arriving late to work in the middle of a traffic jam, a tired middle-aged husband after a working day, a heartbroken teenage son, a stressed bossed going through a divorce or a lonely grandpa unable to cross the street by himself requires more analytic than empathetic skills. Extracting the age, sex and visible circumstance of the person we are addressing is giving us already almost all the information we need for the “How Do I Think I Would Feel If I Would be him/her” exercise.

4. Listen

Listening is the “conscious processing of the auditory stimuli that have been perceived through hearing” (West & Turner, 2010). Listening thus is much more than the passive act of receiving or hearing becoming a fully active process. Start by practicing mindful listing or the art of being present in the moment and paying full attention to what is happening right now. Focus on the vis-à-vis and not on your own thoughts. Do not let your mind to start working in your own answer until you have fully listened and understood what the person in front of you is trying to tell you. Pay full attention to the name of your interlocutor in a first time formal or informal introduction. This is a is a very good exercise for beginners. We tend to be so absorbed by shaking hands and trying to make a good impression that we forgot we are actually talking to someone.

5. Fake when needed

Sometimes you really do not manage to feel what the other person is feeling. Showing that you care despite you don’t understand helps quite often to establish empathetic connections.

6. Say sorry

So little practiced, so easy and powerful!

And finally, do not get discouraged! If Shaun Murphy is able to get such a great improvement over just two seasons of The Good Doctor, there is nothing you can’t do over a lifetime!