Personal Development
The 5 Features of Emotional Intelligence

The 5 Features of Emotional Intelligence

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A Comprehensive Guide to Emotional Intelligence

In his 1998 bestseller, Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman suggested that a person's emotional intelligence is at least twice as important as technical proficiency or IQ when it comes to successful leadership. Over the years, numerous studies have come to the same conclusion. In this article, we will look at the five components of emotional intelligence, identify the benefits of each, and provide tips to strengthen them.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize and properly manage one's own emotions and the emotions of others. Generally speaking, EQ involves the following skills:

  • Recognizing your own emotions
  • Interpreting those emotions
  • Understanding how emotions impact others
  • Managing your own emotions
  • Regulating the emotions of others

Although some people may be born with above-average emotional intelligence, it can still be developed through practice. By regularly engaging in emotionally intelligent behaviors, your brain will begin to form neurological connections that make these behaviors instinctive, helping to replace negative habits.

The 5 Features of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman identified five primary features of emotional intelligence. Each of these features has its own advantages and they can be developed with effort.

1. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the capacity to accurately identify and assess one's own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and behavior, as well as how these factors impact the people around us. Here are some of the benefits of self-awareness:

  • More effectively accepting and using constructive criticism
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to delegate tasks to those who are more proficient in certain areas

Here are some tips to improve your self-awareness:

  • Keep track of situations that trigger destructive emotions in you, the thoughts and behaviors you experienced during those times, and use this data to understand your emotions and reactions
  • Gather feedback from colleagues, which can help you understand how you're perceived by others and make it easier to identify and discard inefficient responses
  • Observe the reactions of others when you engage in certain behaviors

2. Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is the capacity to intelligently control one's own emotions and impulses, displaying or restraining emotions as necessary to benefit the situation. For example, rather than shouting at your staff under stress, you may decide to delegate some of their duties. Self-regulation offers the following advantages:

  • Conveys your respect and trustworthiness to employees
  • Allows you to rapidly adapt to changes
  • Provides the capability to respond logically to situations

Here are some tips to help strengthen your self-regulation skills:

  • Take responsibility for your mistakes without blame shifting to others. Doing so will help your colleagues have more respect for you and make it easier to forgive you
  • Remain calm in challenging situations as communication is more effective when undertaken in a collected manner. Practicing controlled breathing can help with this

3. Empathy

Empathy is the capacity to understand and relate to the emotions of another person. It is beneficial in the following ways:

  • Provides an understanding of another person's behavior and emotions, thereby increasing your compassion and assistance for them
  • Especially useful when delivering constructive criticism
  • Demonstrates to the staff that you care about them. For instance, if a manager responds angrily after learning that an employee has been consistently late to work due to a sick child, the staff will respond negatively. In this situation, it would be more beneficial to express understanding and work out a solution with the employee.
  • Increased employee respect leads to increased job performance

Developing Empathy

When it comes to developing empathy, it's important to put yourself in the other individual's shoes. That said, this isn't always possible, especially if you haven't experienced the same situation; in that case, try to recall a scenario in which you felt the same emotion. The key to expressing your empathy is to listen carefully, without interruption, and observe your employees to better measure their emotional states. Never ignore the emotions of your employees, instead address them head-on.

Try to Understand First

It's important to try to understand first before evaluating a situation, and forming a judgement. For instance, if an employee appears distant and it irritates you, try to discover the underlying cause before forming an opinion. To effectively express empathy, keep your body language open and use a caring tone to better signal your intentions.

Being Self-Motivated

Being self-motivated means being driven by a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment instead of money or rank. Some of the benefits of this include: improving self-confidence, reducing the chance of procrastination, staying motivated during setbacks, keeping your goals in focus, and having a positive impact on the team.

Increasing Your Motivation

To stay motivated, it's important to remember why you have the job. Think back to why the job interested you in the first place, set new goals if you need something to strive for, and remain optimistic. Even if the situation is difficult, attempt to identify at least one positive factor.

Increasing Your Employees' Motivation

To get your employees motivated, clearly explain why they're valuable to the business through providing tangible examples. This will help your employees to better understand their importance, and will give them a sense of purpose.

Effective Social Skills

Having effective social skills within an organisation helps to build relationships that are mutually beneficial for both parties. Examples of this include creating amicability with employees to earn their respect and loyalty, gaining their trust in difficult situations, engaging with employees to fulfil their individual needs, making sure they feel comfortable to present ideas or concerns, and problem solving through considering all angles.

Improving Social Skills

If you lack social skills, here's how to improve: enhance communication, practice giving useful feedback and praise, work cooperatively with employees, listen attentively, practice empathy, build relationships with your employees, and solve conflicts in a mutual way that benefits all parties.

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