As a leader, it’s important to be able to identify high EQ when you’re hiring for a critical position. However, as a leader, you want to be developing your own emotional intelligence as well.
Practical Ways to Increase your EQ
Looking for a high EQ in others is helpful but increasing your own EQ is personally profitable. Let’s take a look at the 9 habits of high emotional intelligence and consider how you can practice this in your own life.
1. Relentlessly positive. Upbeat people are simply more fun to work with. They raise your spirits and they motivate you to tackle the work ahead. A large part of a positive personality is gratefulness. We’ve written about this before. So much of being relentlessly positive is having a mindset of gratefulness.
Another tip for increasing positivity is having motivational quotes nearby. Maybe it’s a calendar that has a quote for each day. Find something that sparks that positive energy within you. Take those quotes to heart and make the most of each day.
2. Robust Emotional Vocabulary. Identifying and verbalizing your feelings takes practice. You have to reign in that inner 2-year-old that wants to throw a temper tantrum. Start recognizing your hot buttons and establish the best course of action when those buttons are pushed.
Toastmasters, a worldwide organization, specializing in communication and leadership development, is a great resource for increasing your emotional vocabulary. I’ve personally been involved with our local Toastmasters for years and have benefited from their expertise.
A mentor can also be a great source of wisdom. Someone who has been in your shoes, Someone who you admire, someone that wants to help you and will hold you accountable. Find someone you can meet with and learn from on a regular basis.
3. Assertive. To be assertive in a healthy way, you need to know what you’re talking about. An assertive fool doesn’t do anyone any good.
Be a good listener and a good learner. Don’t be too prideful to ask questions. Learn the subject matter well and then be confident in your leadership. Knowledgeable assertiveness will gain you influence.
4. Curious about others. The practical side of being curious is knowing what kind of questions to ask. Learn to ask open ended questions. Answers that require thought will help you gain greater insight.
A favorite tool I use is to enter a conversation on the human level, take care of business and exit a conversation on the human side. Don’t just ask questions but recall them for your next meeting and start a true relationship.
5. Forgive but don’t forget. This one can be very hard, but very necessary. Evaluate the conflict that occurred and consider what caused it. Was it due to lack of knowledge or resources?
Build trust in the other person by asking questions. Find out about the cause of the conflict and do what you can to help them overcome those obstacles. The conflict can be a spring board to a new level of a relationship. Channel the frustration towards finding a solution. In all of this be aware of the limits of the other person. They do not think just like you, nor do they respond to circumstances the same.
6. Don’t let others limit your joy. In order to put this into practice, I like to picture a big pit with someone stuck in it. They are down and burdened. To help the person get out of their predicament, you don’t climb down into the pit with them. You stay on top and pull them out.
You can be influential in pulling someone out of a slump. Encourage them. I live the old proverb “A shared burden is half a burden. A shared joy is twice the joy.” Cut burdens in half and multiply joys. Don’t let someone suck out the joy by bringing you down.
7. Make things fun. This can be as creative or as silly as you make it. Look for ways to make goals fun. Your inspiration can come from anywhere – a game show, a preschool, social media, anywhere.
8. Difficult to offend. There are a few ways to handle offensive comments. First, you need to consider the source. Is the person who offended you have ill motives, or are they just unaware of how they affect you?
Secondly you need to look for the truth in the offense. Be humble enough to see if there is something that needs to change in you.
9. Squash negative self-talk. My one rule for this is, “Would you let a friend talk to you the way you talk to yourself?” Be a friend to yourself. Be honest about your flaws, but recognize your strengths as well.
What tips can you share about increasing Emotional Intelligence?
There’s always so much to learn. These tips are just the ones I find helpful in my life. I love to hear other suggestions. We’re all growing and the more we can share, the better.
It’s nice to know our journey to greater emotional intelligence is life-long. I don’t want to miss opportunities to improve myself and my job potential.