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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence 

Leaders and CEOs need to manage the mood and prevailing atmospheres of their organizations. As a matter of fact, when I am doing interviews with staff about current conditions at companies, one of the first questions I ask is: “What’s the mood like around here lately?” Our most successful clients accomplish great atmospheres in their organizations by using a blend of psychological skills known as Emotional Intelligence.

They are very self-aware and empathetic. They do a great job of self-regulating their own emotions during employee and customer interactions while simultaneously reading how others feel and gauging constantly their organization’s emotional state. How do you improve these emotional intelligence skillsets? Today, we have listed for you 10 different ways to improve in this area.

Successful leaders accomplish great atmospheres in their organizations by using a blend of psychological skills known as Emotional Intelligence

1. Journal Every Day

Every day spend some time reflecting on how your emotions impact your goals, motivations, skills and vision. Be as honest with yourself as possible because this is an opportunity to grow and to learn more about yourself. After you do this for a few months, you should be able to identify patterns and trends in your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Spend some time with your coach/trusted advisor and discuss your findings. With this data, you can develop a plan to address the things you feel may be hindering you from your goals.

2. Capture and Identify Triggers

A couple of times per day, ideally morning and evening, reflect on the connection between your emotions and your actions. When you identify a negative trigger, come up with three alternative responses you could utilize instead of the reactions you used previously when that trigger happens.

3. Exercise at Least Three Times Weekly

When you employ a regular physical routine, you increase your ability to manage your emotions more effectively and also increase your ability to relax. Physical exertion produces chemicals in your brain which can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. Your brain releases these feel-good chemicals called endorphins throughout your body.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Quiet daily reflection, as we have mentioned previously, is a powerful tool to help you increase your emotional intelligence. Add to that two more: Meditation and Tai Chi. These three can help your mindfulness and that is nothing more than slowing down your mind and body to give yourself a break from emotional trauma. When you are practicing any or all three, consider not only what you are feeling, but also how these emotions came to be and if they are serving you well. Ask yourself during your meditation, “What is the worst that can happen?” This can help you reframe things into a proper perspective.

5. Make Sure to Document Your EQ Goals

Once you have identified your specific emotional intelligence goals which will help you to improve, revisit them regularly to make sure you are on track to achievement. You can put these into your journal or on a calendar to make them visible and before your eyes at all times. Make use of this ritual so you can review goals and targets every day. Also, when you hit them, be sure to do a celebration and reward of some kind for yourself.

6. Make Your Vision Plain and Visible

As you consider your journey to accomplish your goals and what your end game will look like, print out and cut out pictures to create a vision board for yourself. Create a desktop photo for your computer and/or cell phone to help keep your vision in front of you all the time. Seeing your end game daily helps you to keep your goals and your progress top of mind.

7. Predict Your Responses with High Accuracy

Become your best prediction index. Ask yourself how people will respond to your gestures or statements and do the same with yourself. If you know how you have responded badly to certain statements in the past, train and discipline yourself to respond differently or also to ignore them. When you are anticipating their feelings and yours, you are considering potential alternative responses as well. Being socially aware and adaptive will help you be more successful in communicating with others in achieving your goals and helping them achieve theirs. Create win-win situations as you accurately anticipate and predict emotional responses and reactions in communications.

8. Focused Observations

According to many research studies, much of our communication is sent through non-verbals and body language. Probably, taking all the data into consideration, the average is above 50%. This includes facial expressions, hand movements, nervous ticks, and posture. When you discipline yourself to notice and focus to some of these communications cues, this can create insights into the feelings, thoughts, and emotions of the person whom you are communicating with. As with all emotional intelligence exercises, you must focus on your own non-verbals as well.

9. Seek Commonality

When you are curious about other people and their well-being, it is always profitable to you. Identify and appreciate what makes a person interesting. Train yourself to be curious and ask good questions while actively listening. Make comments on areas where you may have a common interest and also in areas in which you know nothing. Tell yourself, every interaction you have is an opportunity.

10. Keep Your Eyes Engaged

Strong eye contact demonstrates your focus and attention to the other person. It also shows respect and caring. Remind yourself to stay off your phone or computer during human interactions and keep making eye contact. Use expressions that show you are interested by using your eyebrows or maybe leaning in. Remember, communication is much more than just a word exchange.

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