Emotional intelligence is our ability to identify and manage our own emotions and reactions. It also includes our ability to identify the emotions of others and respond in a way that’s effective. When our emotional intelligence is low, we may have challenges in our relationships, in communicating our thoughts and ideas and in managing our own stress. The opposite would be true if our emotional intelligence is high. There are many ways to improve your emotional intelligence including learning from your mistakes. If you’re someone who’d prefer to avoid mistakes in your relationships and on the job, the following activities and information can help.

When we are able to understand what drives behaviour, we can stop reacting to the behaviour and begin to respond to the person’s actual needs. This also applies to understanding what drives our own behaviour. Our thoughts, emotions, assumptions, implicit biases, upbringing and current state of wellbeing all have an impact on our behaviour. When we learn to respect our emotions rather than deny or supress them, we can choose our reactions more intentionally. Learn more through these activities and information:

1. Before reacting to someone’s behaviour, take a moment to consider what might be motivating it. Could it be their current health, family issues or life stressors?
2. Whether we’re talking about our own behaviours or someone else’s, we’re likely to make assumptions about why they occurred. We often attribute behaviours to something either external or internal to the person.
3. When people come to you with suggestions or requests, taking the time to understand where they are coming from before you say no helps build rapport by letting them know their opinion and needs matter.
4. Learn to write an email to avoid misunderstandings.
5. Explore why you might be perceived differently from how you would ultimately describe yourself.
6. Describing the best version of yourself in detail means you’re much more likely to reach that goal more often.
7. Learn to identify and understand implicit bias, microaggressions and intersectionality.
8. Your mood affects others, whether you wish it to or not. Strengthen your relationships by being aware of your impact on others.
9. When we express judgment and criticism we may shut down any chance of an open and honest discussion.
10. Learn to build, maintain and deepen any relationship for a stronger connection.
11. Recognize that all human behaviour is an attempt to meet a perceived or actual need. Choose to look beyond the behaviour and become curious about the need someone’s trying to meet.