emotional-intelligenceEmotional intelligence (EL) is a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own intelligence related to emotions and also respect other people’s emotions and use this information to guide one’s thinking and action.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence impacts many different aspects of your daily life, such as the way you behave and the way you interact with others.

EI can definitely be developed. It requires an engagement of our emotional habits.Changing habits such as learning to approach people positively instead of avoiding them, to listen better, or to give feedback skillfully, is a more challenging task rather than just adding information.

Motivational factors also make it more difficult than complex than cognitive learning. It often involves ways of thinking and acting that are more central to an individual’s identity. The prospect of needing to develop greater emotional competence is not easy for us to take. Thus, it is more likely to generate resistance to change.

A systematic and committed approach is necessary to build emotionally competent organisations. A strategic cycle of assessment – learning – practice – feedback over time will enable organisational members to build competencies that can help develop high-performing leaders for the organisation.

According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularise EI, there are five main elements of emotional intelligence:
1. Self-awareness
2. Self-regulation
3. Motivation
4. Empathy
5. Social skills.

1. Self-awareness: If you’re self-aware, you always know how you feel, and you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you. Being self-aware when you’re in a leadership position also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses, and it means behaving with humility.

So, what can you do to improve your 
Keep a journal – Journals help you improve your self-awareness. If you spend just a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts, this can move you to a higher degree of self-awareness; · Slow down – When you experience anger or other strong emotions, slow down to examine why. Remember, no matter what the situation, you can always choose how you react to it.

2. Self-regulation: People who regulate themselves effectively rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people, or compromise their values. Self-regulation is all about staying in control.This element of emotional intelligence covers a leader’s flexibility and commitment to personal accountability .

So, how can you improve your ability to self-regulate?
Know your values; · Hold yourself accountable; · Practice being calm.

3. Motivation:  Self-motivated people work consistently toward their goals, and they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work.

How can you improve your motivation?
Re-examine why you’re doing your job; · Know where you stand Determine how motivated you are to lead. The leadership motivation assessment tool can help you see clearly how motivated you are in your leadership role. If you need to increase your motivation to lead, it directs you to resources that can help; · Be hopeful and find something good – motivated leaders are usually optimistic, no matter what problems they face. Adopting this mindset might take practice, but it’s well worth the effort.

4. Empathy: Having empathy is critical to managing a successful team or organisation.People with empathy have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s situation.They help develop the people on their team, challenge others who are acting unfairly, give constructive feedback, and listen to those who need it. If you want to earn the respect and loyalty of your team, then show them you care by being empathic.

How can you improve your empathy?
Put yourself in someone else’s position; · Pay attention to body language; · Respond to feelings.

5. Social skills: People who do well in the social skills element of emotional intelligence are great communicators. They’re just as open to hearing bad news as good news, and they’re expert at getting their team to support them and be excited about a new mission or project. They set an example for their own behavior.

So, how can you build social skills?
Learn conflict resolution -Improve your communication skills – how well do you communicate? Our communication quiz will help you answer this question, and it will give useful feedback on what you can do to improve; · Learn how to praise others – as a leader, you can inspire the loyalty of your team simply by giving praise when it’s earned. Learning how to praise others is a fine art, but well worth the effort.

Take the time to work on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Working on these areas will help you excel in the future!