Emotional Intelligence: it starts from within

Most would say emotional intelligence is being in tune with their emotions—recognising their strengths and weaknesses, what makes them tick—or think it’s simply being ‘nice’ to others.

Though not entirely wrong, what’s missing is the relationships with others and their social environment.  In any working institution, emotional intelligence is the foundation of all relationships, and it ripples into our emotional expression and interactions with others.

See the four aspects of your Emotional Intelligence you can improve on.

What is Emotional Intelligence, and why is there a need for it?

Psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Goleman says it’s the ability to recognise and manage our emotions with the capacity to understand and influence the feelings of others.

It stimulates compassion for others, effectively communicating with different types of people in various situations and being both self and socially aware of your response towards others.

Four attributes that make up Emotional Intelligence:

An excerpt by author, Daniel Goleman which explains that Emotional Intelligence consists of 4 attributes.

An excerpt taken from Emotional Intelligence by author, Daniel Goleman

How can I improve my Emotional Intelligence ?

1. Self-awareness:

Rash decisions are made if we allow emotions to influence our judgement, whether stressed or even when we feel good. Yes, even feeling elated won’t keep you from making a wrong decision. A relatable scenario would be the exorbitant spending in the guise of ‘treating yourself’, but regret follows when the bills come in later for that fleeting ‘feel good’ moment.

Consultant Gabriel Tan shared that we’re all emotional beings, and all kinds of emotions easily sway us. Taking hold of your emotions will not make you a more controlled person but a wise decision-maker.

Pro tip: make an effort to be emotionally present by taking a step back to consider the consequences of your actions and how they will impact you and those around you.

Pause to pinpoint your thoughts and emotions, ask for help if needed, and take heart that it isn’t a sign of weakness but rather your commitment and action taken to improve.

2. Self-management:

Self-management is what we do with the information gathered from being self-aware, and there are several key areas to build it on, such as:

  • Authenticity
  • Adaptability
  • Optimism

Be authentic about your emotions and stay true to your values—though it doesn’t mean sharing anything and everything—but being consciously transparent about your beliefs, priorities and boundaries in your decision-making allows people to see your motives or intentions in plain sight.

Adaptability means working without boundaries and finding diverse and accidental solutions to tackle challenges. Observe, learn, or ask for guidance from those who exhibit this quality; reset and reframe your focus to objectively view things or practice self-talk like, ‘Just because I’m in a bad mood doesn’t mean I’ll have a bad day.

Optimism doesn’t mean closing a blind eye toward negativity, but reframing your mindset to filter out the good that comes from the situation—could be a valuable lesson or experience.  Putting your thoughts into perspective helps form realistic interpretations that give you a positive outlook toward situations and people.

3. Social awareness:

Ever been told to ‘read the room?’

As we get better at managing our feelings and emotions, we’ll need to know how to read the emotions of others, as this will significantly increase the effectiveness of our interpersonal relationships.

The simplest example of being socially aware is to pay attention to a person’s body language then plan our responses accordingly. Be slow to make assumptions and listen to understand.

Gabriel gathered from his experience that like-minded people often create a healthy social environment, and companies with a great working culture don’t happen overnight. To make that happen, it’s important to be socially aware of our surroundings; making small initiatives through understanding, observing and respecting one another’s differences is a great start.

4. Relationship management:

In any healthy relationship, what we want to get out of it is self-development and the opportunity to develop others. Developing others is an emotionally intelligent skill we can cultivate through asking and giving constructive feedback—this allows us to exchange and learn from others’ ideas, strengths, and knowledge.

Offering your expertise creates opportunities to collaborate with people who fill the gaps they seek to bridge.

Next, create better conversations.

Radio journalist and public speaker Celeste Headlee, shares in a podcast that talking and conversing are two different things. The goal isn’t constantly proving you’re better than everyone else but getting people to be good talkers.

If you desire better conversations, learn to ask questions that spark your curiosity and refrain from equating your experience with whom you’re speaking to because there’s a chance you’d turn the focus back to yourself, morphing into conversational narcissism.

Cultivating emotional intelligence encourages you to constantly reflect, manage, and process your emotions. Then, include others and make them feel important as you embark on your journey to success.

Written by Destiny Goh
Marketing Communications Executive

Illustrations made with Canva