How can you become more Emotionally Intelligent?

In our last discussion we talked about the four quadrants of Emotional Intelligence.  Those quadrants are Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Relationship Management and Self-Management.  They fall in the manner show below with respect to axes representing the Self and Others as well as Recognition and Regulation.

There are several things you can do to improve your Emotional Intelligence.  Each of them assist in one or more aspects of the four quadrants shown above.

1.  Rapidly reduce stress-When you realize you are stressed you need to admit that something is amiss.  Know your stress symptoms and learn the early warning signs so that you do not push yourself to a place that will affect your EI.

2.  Connect to your emotions-Most of us know when we exhibit emotions, but sometimes we lose track and lose touch with our emotions.  Keep your emotions in contact and recognize your status before you become too intense or emotional in some intense way.

3.  Understand nonverbal communication-Much of what we show or read from others is nonverbal and it is critical to know what signals you are sending as well as understanding what others are “saying” in a nonverbal way.  Pay close attention to eye contact, facial expression, voice tone, speech pace and posture, both with yourself and those you are in contact with.

4.  Use humor to deal with challenges-Humor can be a wonderful tool to defuse intense emotions and tough situations.  Using it appropriately can be a great method to keep emotions in check, but overuse can have an opposite effect.  Use humor in small doses to ensure you don’t overdo it when defusing intense situations and hardships.

5.  Resolve conflicts positively-Conflicts can lead to EI getting out of control.  Knowing how to affect positive outcomes and how to deal with conflict appropriately is a major part of managing Emotional Intelligence.  Be aware of how to promote a win for both sides when possible and don’t be too proud to give in when you know you are wrong.  As the saying goes, know which hill is worth dying for.

Emotional Intelligence is a broad reaching set of skills that make good leaders great leaders.  Have you practiced your EI skills recently or have you taken the time to “sharpen your saw” as Covey once said when it comes to improving your own EI?

Don’t wait too long.  You never know when you might need to flex your emotional muscle.