Sent: 14-09-2010 12:10:35
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Emotional Intelligence -- How to Improve it - part 3
This is the third in my series on EI, providing a condensed version of the ATC Digest series that will be available in the near future in that publication.
According to the authors Bradberry and Greaves, you can improve your Emotional Intelligence.
They argue that:
- Just because you have a high IQ doesn't mean you have a high EQ.
- Top performers within any given group generally have the highest EQ.
- Mid-level managers and customer service representatives typically have high EQs.
- EQ changes over time; most people get emotionally smarter as they age.
In order to develop these skills they suggest that you:
- Pay attention to your emotions and learn to govern them.
- Listen respectfully to people and pay attention to their feelings.
- Cultivate interpersonal relationships for greater personal and career satisfaction.
However, they suggest that to increase your EQ, you should not try to improve all four skills at once. You should focus on just skill one and identify concrete steps you can take to enhance it.
As I have illustrate in the first two articles, not every leader or boss has high EQ, but those who do are better able to make the most of what they've got. EQ is about achieving your potential.
Receiving, accepting and understanding feedback about yourself is critical. Sadly, most people would rather not know the cold, ugly truths about themselves. The downside to this is that those who remain in the dark about their uncomfortable emotions aren't able to take corrective action.
For example, a person who tries to avoid feeling low by partying constantly may actually be craving approval and so is vulnerable to flattery. The opposite of that is the person who fears rejection and so stays out of the limelight but ends up feeling lonely. Bradberry & Greaves suggest you seek your discomfort zone and learn from it. If you're painfully shy, practice starting conversations and soon you'll find it surprisingly easy.
However, as they say, expect to make mistakes as you practice these new skills, but be confident that your EQ will improve with effort. That is because it has been found that people with high EQs learn from emotional discomfort. A big benefit of being able to "manage your tendencies" is that you are not diverted by momentary impulses, so you can stay focused on your greater goals, which as a small business owner, is critical.
Nobody should be surprised to learn that people with poor social skills are unaware of the impression they make. Bradberry & Greaves suggest that to listen correctly, you need to turn off your internal chatter, put aside any distractions, remain silent and focus on the person before you. This makes people "feel respected and heard," and enhances relationships. Not a bad skill to develop as a financial advisor!
As they point out, strife often occurs when underlying emotional issues remain unresolved. Emotions all too often cloud issues, so the more you develop EQ skills, the better equipped you'll be to resolve problems. For example, rather than confronting people and putting them on the defensive, calm yourself and take responsibility for your friction-provoking actions. Express interest in people. To build stronger relationships, help and encourage others. Sadly this is always easy to say, but not always easy to do, especially for some.
Of course, people carry their emotions with them everywhere, including to work. When you face unexpected and disturbing situations, you should try to manage your reactions, and show leadership by responding to the emotional needs of others. Unfortunately, avoiding conflict won't resolve the conflict. Tension and conflict do not always manifest themselves as loud and angry exchanges. It can be subtle and unspoken, based on hurt feelings or resentment. I would argue that this is actually worse as people may not even realize there is a problem. So, if you're distracted, people can mistake your behavior for hostility.
There is a solution. When you communicate your state of mind, for example, explaining why you're distracted, you are using emotional intelligence to head off problems. If you follow up with that person later when you have time, you will reinforce the relationship. (Not as difficult as it seems after all).
Finally, what Bradberry & Greaves recommend is that you should incorporate emotional intelligence skill-building into every aspect of your life. The way to do that is to select one skill, practice it and it they argue it will spill over positively throughout your life.
Obviously I go into much more detail in the ATC Digest article.
More next time
The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book - Everything You Need to Know to Put Your EQ to Work
Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
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