We all have different personalities, different wants and needs and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact and cleverness – especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where emotional intelligence becomes important. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.
People with high emotional intelligence are usually successful in most things they do because they’re the ones that others want on their team. When people with high emotional intelligence send an email, it gets answered. When they need help, they get it. Because they make others feel good, they go through life much more easily than people who are easily angered or upset. The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned and developed using these strategies:
- Observe how you react to people. Do you rush to judgment before you know all of the facts? Do you stereotype? Look honestly at how you think and interact with other people. Try to put yourself in their place and be more open and accepting of their perspectives and needs.
- Look at your work environment. Do you seek attention for your accomplishments? Humility can be a wonderful quality, and it doesn’t mean that you’re shy or lack self-confidence. When you practice humility, you say that you know what you did, and you can be quietly confident about it. Give others a chance to shine – put the focus on them, and don’t worry too much about getting praise for yourself.
- Do a self-evaluation. What are your weaknesses? Are you willing to accept that you’re not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person? Have the courage to look at yourself honestly – it can change your life.
- Examine how you react to stressful situations. Do you become upset every time there’s a delay or something doesn’t happen the way you want? Do you blame others or become angry at them, even when it’s not their fault? The ability to stay calm and in control in difficult situations is highly valued – in the business world and outside it. Keep your emotions under control when things go wrong.
- Take responsibility for your actions. If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize directly – don’t ignore what you did or avoid the person. People are usually more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right.
- Examine how your actions will affect others – before you take those actions. If your decision will impact others, put yourself in their place. How will they feel if you do this? Would you want that experience? If you must take the action, how can you help others deal with the effects?
Although “regular” intelligence is important to success in life, emotional intelligence is key to relating well to others and achieving your goals. Many people believe that it is at least as important as regular intelligence. Emotional intelligence is an awareness of your actions and feelings – and how they affect those around you. It also means that you value others, listen to their wants and needs, and are able to empathize or identify with them on many different levels.