Three Important Questions To Boost Emotional Intelligence (EQ)


Despite awareness of the importance of Emotional Intelligence being around awhile, there is still some confusion about where to focus efforts and/or how to improve practical skills.

To build EQ strengths

"...It helps to consider areas for improvement others have identified along with the goals you want to achieve - and then to actively build habits into those areas rather than simply relying on understanding them conceptually..."
Daniel Goleman et al, 2018


1. What are the differences between how you see yourself and how others see you?

This involves

"...How your self-perception (how you see yourself) differs from your reputation (how others see you)..."
Daniel Goleman et al, 2018

Owing to concepts like unconscious bias, etc you can have mis-perception of how others see you. You need external reality checks as it can be difficult to identify the ways your actions impact others and your performance.

"...getting feedback from others can also provide necessary proof for shifting our behaviours and an impetus to do so..."
Daniel Goleman et al, 2018

Emotional intelligence is not a numerical score like IQ. There are 4 key elements, ie

- self-awareness

- self-management

- social awareness

- relationship management.

Within these domains are a total of 12 learnt and learnable competencies, ie

i) emotional self-awareness (recognising one's emotions and their impact on others)

ii) emotional self-control (keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check)

iii) adaptability (flexibility in handling change, uncertainty, unknowns, difficult and different situations, etc)

iv) achievement orientation (striving to improve or meeting standards of excellence)

v) positive outlook (persistent and resilient in pursuing goals despite obstacles, setbacks, challenges, etc)

vi) empathy (sensing and understanding others' feelings, points of view, biases, perspectives, etc; taking an active interest in their concerns)

vii) organisational awareness (understanding a group's emotional situation and power relationships)

viii) coach and mentor (understanding others' development needs and boosting their capabilities to achieve their potential)

ix) inspirational leadership (inspiring others to achieve their potential)

x) influence (using effective tactics for persuasion, motivation, etc)

xi) conflict management (negotiating and resolving differences to create win-win situations)

xii) teamwork (working with others toward shared goals; creating positive group synergies in pursuing collective goals)

Need to focus on development, ie determining how others feel differently about you and how you feel about yourself. It is not a performance assessment.

Some ways to do this include 360° feedback, use a coach, ie

"...a coach can help you delve under the surface and look at how your assumptions and personal narratives may be working against you..."
Daniel Goleman et al, 2018

If a coach is not available, use a learning partner, ie someone whose opinion you trust, is able to give you authentic feedback and who would be willing to discuss how you are going on a regular basis.

2. What matters to you?

Use feedback to identify areas you want to improve plus consider your goals, ie

"...How you want to get better at what you do now, or where you want to go in the future..."
Daniel Goleman et al, 2018

Some goals could include improving your leadership potential, becoming a better team member, exerting greater positive influence, getting better at managing yourself, keeping focused on goals (personal, professional, etc)

You need to cultivate your strengths in emotional intelligence to handle the weaknesses. Need to understand

"...the impacts of your current EI habits relative to your goals will keep you going over the long haul as you do the work of strengthening your emotional intelligence..."
Daniel Goleman et al, 2018

Don't take any assessment as an attack or dismiss it. You need to step back and consider it in relation to your goals. This will help you see the opportunity for developing toward your goals, rather than as a threat.

It is much more difficult to change long-standing habits, behaviours, etc than simply learning a new skill like budgeting.

3. What changes would you make to achieve your goals?

Need to identify specific actions to improve your emotional intelligence. For example, if you want to come a better listener, you might develop a habit of checking that you understand what somebody has been saying befor replying.

Practise your new skills as frequently as possible, even at home, as you are training your brain

" react differently in common situations, and the principle of neuroplasticity tells us that as a given brain circuit gets used more often, the connections within it become stronger..."


(source: Hay Group, 2011)

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