Beckett Franklin-Gray MA LPC  

What is Emotional Intelligence?


Quoted directly from: 

 Hayes, Kate; "12 Ways Millennials Can Increase Their Emotional Intelligence At Work"; November 16, 2017, Forbes Magazine


"Emotional intelligence is an increasingly important part of how we think about success in the workplace. According to Travis Bradberry, who co-authored Emotional Intelligence 2.0, there are four core skills that fit within two competencies—personal and social—which together comprise what is known as emotional intelligence. The four skills are: self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, and relationship management. Emotional intelligence is distinct from IQ, and neither can predict the other. Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence is a set of skills that can be developed and strengthened. In this article, we will discuss simple and practical ways to become more emotionally intelligent across all four skill areas.


Self-Awareness


Uncover blind spots. We each have blind spots, or parts of our self that we are not aware of but others are. Ask a trusted colleague to sit down and share their objective feedback on how you are perceived at work, even if it’s tough to hear. Additionally, consider creating an anonymous survey, which asks people to share their observations of you. Send it to your colleagues, friends, and family, and use the results as an opportunity to understand yourself better.


Practice self-reflection every day for a month. Each night, write down three moments where you were at your best, and three moments where you might have done something differently. At the end of the month, look for trends and reflect on what you can do better.


Create space to reflect. We know ourselves better than anyone else, and we often know where our strengths and weaknesses are. However, we rarely take the time to step away from our daily lives to reflect. Whether you need a solo-trip, a weekend retreat, or a few sessions with a coach, make the space to consider and write down your strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and needs.


Self-Regulation


Monitor your feelings. We all have countless thoughts and feelings each day. We feel sad, happy, angry, confused, excited, and so on. Yet we rarely name our feelings accurately. While it may sound trivial, use a feelings wheel for a week. Whenever you have a strong emotion, look at the wheel to better describe and understand the reaction you are having. You’ll quickly learn how to properly identify feelings, so you can better regulate them in the long run.


Understand your workplace triggers. Identify the most significant negative triggers on your emotional state—whether it is when your advice isn’t taken by a client, your colleague doesn’t finish a project, or your boss regularly surprises you at your desk. Then, begin to practice techniques that support you when triggered. Whether it is mentally rehearsing what you will say in an uncomfortable conversation, avoiding a situation altogether, or practicing deep breathing techniques to calm yourself, understand what works for you when managing your emotional state.


Don’t take things personally. In the workplace, it is easy to take things personally, especially when you are deeply connected to your work. Instead, focus on viewing your work as objectively as possible. Before reacting to a piece of feedback, step back to take an objective view—consider your emotional state, the other person’s emotional state, and the actual subject. You will frequently find that most feedback is not personal, but we need to step away in order to see that.


Social-Awareness


Listen better and longer. Empathy—or the ability to understand another’s emotions—can only occur when we truly listen. For many, listening is extremely difficult to do, especially on a consistent basis. Practice active listening for a week. When possible, simply listen when in meetings, without talking. Pay attention to your observations—they will be valuable.


Ask questions. We often think that we know what other people want, or we assume that they want the same things as us. Instead of making assumptions, focus on asking questions from a place of curiosity. Ask people how they are feeling. If they answer with ‘good’, try to push a little deeper, with their permission. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable will open the doors for others to share.


Observe your work environment. According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, understanding your work environment, and the social and power structures in place, is a key to increasing social-awareness. Map out all that you know about the culture, power dynamics, politics, and relationships within your company—or at least your division—and begin observing how things really work.


Relationship Management


Articulate your vision. Success with relationship management is predicated on the ability to influence and inspire others. In order to do so, you must first understand your own vision. Create the space to define what your vision is—whether it’s for an entire company, a project, or a particular conversation—and then figure out how to best articulate it so others can understand and follow.


Cater your communications. People communicate differently, and the most emotionally intelligent people will cater their communication style for those they are working with. Start with understanding who needs a scheduled phone call, a detailed email, or a drop-in meeting. If you aren’t sure what someone prefers, just ask. Once you know the best delivery method, you can begin to understand the nuances of what works best for people. This is paramount to effectively influencing others.


Take and provide feedback. Feedback, both positive and constructive, is incredibly important in the workplace. Feedback is valuable, whether or not you agree with it—and is a window into understanding a perception or level of understanding of what you do and how you do it. In order to give feedback to others, you must be willing to take feedback as well. Whether with your direct reports, your manager, or your peers, create opportunities to provide feedback, and use it as an opportunity to grow and help others thrive."