Emotional Intelligence or EQ is inside all of us – it is just buried a little deeper in some people than others. Thankfully for them it has been heavily discussed and studied, and some great ways for nurturing emotional intelligence have emerged.
One great example of someone who has EQ down pat is Daniel Goleman. Goleman broke EQ into five elements: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skill. In his 1996 bestselling book Emotional Intelligence, he wrote:
“In terms of managing our own career, there may be nothing more essential than recognizing our deepest feelings about what we do – and what changes might make us more truly satisfied with our work.”
Well said Goleman, I couldn’t agree more!
For each of Goleman’s five elements of EQ, I’m going to share a tip with you to practice nurturing emotional intelligence in that area.
1. Self-Awareness: We are all what I call ‘Instantaneous Judgement Machines.’ It is part of our DNA and has been for thousands of years. The skill once served us in life-and-death situations when we came across a new threat; we had to make a split-second assessment of whether the threat could eat us… or could we eat it? These situations are rarely (if ever) encountered now, however the natural instinct is still a part of our operating software.
My Tip… Start to pay attention to every split second judgement you make of people when you see or meet them for the first time. Consciously take the time to remember their name, listen to them, and look past any external judgments you have made.
2. Self-Regulation: The word responsibility can be broken down to ‘the ability to respond.’ You always have a choice in how you respond to any situation.
My Tip… Choose wisely.
3. Motivation: The greatness of a leader can be measured in their ability to do the right thing – and doing the right thing isn’t always the easy thing. Nevertheless, they find the motivation to make the right call.
My Tip… Motivation is an inside job. Never wait for someone else to ‘pump you up’ or prod you to do the right thing. Those with high levels of EQ find ways to motivate themselves. Explore what works for you. For me, it’s exercise. Finding the will to get out of bed at 5:30 and working out makes me feel incredibly motivated for the entire day!
4. Empathy: It’s not the same as sympathy! Empathy is trying to understand what it is like to be in another person’s shoes. Again, it requires a level of consciousness in your thinking. For example, maybe you are walking from one meeting to another that requires you to be out on the street in the city. You come across someone who is down and out – their clothes are dirty and torn, they may not have bathed in a long time, and they are begging for money. What are you thinking? How do you respond?
My Tip… When nurturing Emotional Intelligence, you must think first what it must be like to be in the other person’s situation before making judgments. Maybe they are suffering from a mental illness or dealt with serious family issues – what would that be like? *Bonus tip… Buy the person something to eat.*
5. Social Skills: Quite simply, how do you treat other people? Do you say please and thank you for everything? Do you listen intently to what people are saying? Do you treat people differently when you are face-to-face with someone versus when someone just moved into your lane without signaling?
My Tip… Practice treating everyone you meet (yes, even while driving!) as if they were someone you care deeply about.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.Emotional Intelligence, EQ, Leadership, Management, Robert S. Murray, Self-Awareness, Success, Values