How to Become Emotionally Intelligent

Posted in : HR Updates on 7 August 2023
Olga Pollock
firmus energy
Issues covered: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence, or EI, is a frequently used term in the business world. We often think of EI as being a key leadership trait, however do we ever stop to consider if, or how, we can impact our own EI or is it something we’ve either got or we haven’t?

EI originally stemmed from the concept that cognitive intelligence is equally as important as emotional intelligence and allows us to understand and react to both our own and others’ emotions. This can help build solid working relationships, drive effective leadership, better decision-making, career advancement and overall business performance.

It is essential that leaders understand their own and others’ behaviours in order to lead successfully. While it could be argued that EI comes naturally to some and not so to others, research indicates that it can be a learned skill. Thanks to the emotional ‘fight or flight’ part of the brain this for most, requires a concerted effort to control our impulsive urges when under pressure or in an uncomfortable situation (think of those stubbing your toe moments).

The key to honing our EI is to develop a sense of awareness of ourselves and those around us, particularly our responses to certain situations. Try to recall a time when you handled something badly and think about a better response. The same is true for those we work with and how they react in different scenarios. This insight can be used, with practice, to forge better working relationships over time.

While our gut reactions and impulsiveness can be healthy indicators in the right context, it is important that we develop a sense of self control which can be developed through practice and consistency.

I recall a senior leader from years ago who was not necessarily a typical extrovert, at times socially awkward, yet in the right business setting could charm everyone in the room and exude exceptional confidence and charisma. This was definitely not something that came naturally to this individual.

So improving your EI will certainly require effort and is entirely possible, or in Amy Cuddy’s words, “Fake it, till you make it”.

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This article is correct at 07/08/2023

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Olga Pollock
firmus energy

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