How To Improve Emotional Intelligence
If you know anything about emotional intelligence (EQ), you know how impactful it can be on the bottom line of your overall wellbeing. But, are we able to improve it?
And that's why, unlike IQ (which is historically very difficult to change), EQ can be a powerful tool to harness. Here are our best tips on how to improve emotional intelligence.
What Is Emotional Intelligence
We’ve gone over EQ to a greater extent here, but if you want the short and sweet of it all, emotional intelligence is what allows us to understand, control, and express our emotions and the emotions of others. It’s what allows us to know when a situation might make us emotional (whether positively or negatively) and how to react in an impactful way. It tells us that our coworker is upset and gives us the knowledge on how to help. Emotional intelligence, in other words, is the ability to harness empathy for ourselves and others.
Emotional Intelligence Skills To Learn
When one is self-aware, one can see their viewpoints, actions, and emotions from an outside perspective. And while that may seem fairly straightforward, it is a skill that is rarely mastered. According to BetterUp, there are two states of self-awareness: public and private. Public self-awareness is being aware of how others see you. The line of public self-awareness is to be toed with care, as too much care into other people’s views of you can cause anxiety and worry. Private self-awareness allows individuals to reflect on how they feel in any given situation.
Beyond self-awareness, we need to manage those viewpoints, actions, and emotions. When we become overwhelmed and distressed (the bad kind of stress), we may struggle to maintain our normal emotional state. These are the moments when we act out of character and perhaps say something we don’t mean.
Learning self-regulation helps us to manage that.
It's similar to endurance training. For example, when you begin endurance training for running, breathing is difficult. You may find yourself completely out of breath after just a few strides, but as you continue to train, your cardiovascular system gets stronger, your five-minute max may turn into five miles, then more, and more. Similarly, self-regulation can be difficult at first. Still, as you continue to learn how you manage situations, you can find ways to work around stressful situations that don’t lead you into moments fueled by emotion.
Defined in Emotional Intelligence 2.0, the ability to “recognize and understand the moods of other individuals and entire groups of people” is the main component of social awareness. Essentially, it is applying the skills of self-awareness and implementing them outside of ourselves. It means we show empathy and compassion to our teams, friends, and acquaintances.
Finally, relationship management includes all of the previous points and asks you to examine emotions holistically—how your emotions, thoughts, and feelings interact with and impact the emotions, thoughts, and feelings of others. This is the skill where conflict resolution, team building, and negotiation come into play.
Emotional Intelligence And The Enneagram
One way to strengthen all four pillars of emotional intelligence is via the Enneagram.
Personality quizzes and apps have gained a lot of popularity along with the rise of the internet. One might see a personality system and find it gimmicky at the onset. But, not all personality typing systems are created equal. “Which ‘Friends’ Character Are You?” was created much differently than the Enneagram System. In fact, the framework of the Enneagram traces back thousands of years and offers a way for us to name habits and patterns in our lives that shape the way we approach each day. It’s a tool of self-exploration and discovery and helps us bring what is unconscious to the conscious mind.
It also helps us with the following:
- Validates all perspectives as equal
- Brings attention to patterns in our fears and needs
- Shows the interconnectedness and interdependence of our teams
- Allows us to examine unproductive behaviors
You can get started by taking the Enneagram test and diving into the patterns and habits of your unique type.
We hope that this resource helps find tools to improve your emotional intelligence. If you, or your team, need more guidance through this process, we are here for you, in person or via our self-guided products.