How To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence has matured into a mainstream discipline for shifting unhelpful or unwanted behaviours into those which support or enhance outstanding performance.

While your IQ (or Intelligence Quotient) generally peaks by the age of 11, your Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be learned and developed throughout life. It is therefore relevant to people of all ages, from all backgrounds and of either gender. The aim of an Emotional Intelligence Workbook, developed by British EI coaches and authors Jill & Derek Dann, is to give you a set of self-help techniques with which you can experiment to master your own behaviour. Typical issues include improving your coping skills around work/life balance, stress management and relationships with your spouse, partner, siblings, children, parents, bosses, colleagues, customers or suppliers. You may want to get more out of life, to feel more energised and less anxious through being in control of your own personal development.

Each chapter provides up to nine exercises such as questionnaires, assessments, checklists or rehearsals to practice particular skills. The content and exercises in the workbook cover a broad view of emotional intelligence:

Sociological – interaction between you and others or you internally mulling things over in your own head, how you manage yourself, work with people, mix socially and relate to your community.

Physiological – the way you look after your health using positive emotions and working with the mind-body connection.

Psychological – your ability to predict your performance, identify triggers and manage the outcome, breaking unhelpful patterns from the past.

Here are a few EI tips:

  • On first waking ask yourself how you are going to BE today to check the mood you are engendering, leaving what you’ll DO as a lesser focus. You may have a better day if you consider what emotional outcome you want from any meetings (how people feel about the agenda items and what they are willing to commit to do) than solely focussing on the list of tasks to be completed.
  • Spend the day listening actively and respectfully to people, keeping as silent as possible and reflect on the effect this can have.
  • Before you go home and open the front door, smile and relax as it sets the mood for the whole evening.
  • It’s not what people do that reveals the most, it’s why they do it that gains insight. If you understand what motivates others, you may know more than they do about themselves. Respect this insight and use it to create better outcomes.
  • Seeking feedback takes courage but is one of the most wonderful assets for personal development. Ask people to list what you need to stop, what you need to start doing, plus examples of what you could do more or less of.
  • Create a stress management contract with yourself to restore work/life balance if you have a sense that your resources and capabilities are not up to what is required. Coping isn’t always good! Lots of coping strategies in themselves can lead to extra stress. You should identify what causes stress, and what helps diminish it, and then build the latter’s things into your life. Openly stating a stress management contract helps to reinforce it.

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