6 Behavioural Changes You Can Make Today to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

May 23, 2019



What’s the most important skill needed for a successful career and life? It’s not your IQ… it’s your EQ!


Your Emotional Quotient is your Emotional Intelligence level, and according to research at the Harvard Business Review how you manage your own emotions and how well you can connect to others’ emotions, is twice as important as your IQ and technical abilities.


In order to determine the best ways to develop one’s EQ the Institute of Health and Human Potential surveyed 12,000 people to determine what the top 10% of performers were doing differently from the competition.


They found that high-achieving performers expressed six behaviours associated with Emotional Intelligence, including:


1. They Stay Calm Under Pressure


High performing individuals work well under pressure. Don’t confuse this with a lack of expressiveness; these leaders were able to regulate their emotions (instead of suppressing them), which means they were able to express their feelings of concern, anger, anxiety, or frustration in healthy and constructive ways.


2. They Don’t React Defensively to Criticism


High-performing people know to seek out feedback and criticism in order to improve… but that doesn’t mean they can handle that feedback in a healthy manner.


However, the survey found that these top 10% performers are able to manage their emotional response to feedback, and are able to internalize it and use it as an opportunity to build their skills and grow.


3. They Don’t Jump to Conclusions


Have you ever found yourself reacting to what someone is saying before they’ve finished speaking? This is a common communication mistake people make when they’re anxious or stressed.  It not only keeps you from hearing the other person, it also means you’re jumping to conclusions before they’ve finished speaking.


Instead of assuming you understand someone’s motivations or thoughts, ask deeper questions and clarify what they mean rather than feeling defensive and overreacting.


4. They See Things From Another’s Perspective


In our last post we talked about Solomon’s Paradox, which dictates that we make wiser decisions when we think we’re making them on behalf of other people. By applying this principle - namely, assessing situations from others’ perspectives and considering how you would advise a friend to react to the situation - you can act with compassion and help others feel understood.


5. They’re Willing to Admit Their Mistakes


Nobody’s perfect, and when someone admits their mistakes it creates an opportunity for vulnerability, which can strengthen relationships and create a deeper sense of empathy between people.


From a workplace perspective, leaders who share their struggles and own up to their mistakes create a more authentic and inclusive work environment where team members feel supported and safe.


6. They Share Frustrations in Constructive Ways


This is undoubtedly the most difficult behavioural change to make, as it’s easy to get carried away when we’re feeling annoyed, frustrated, or angry with a team member.


However, learning to mask this behaviour can have a significant negative effect on productivity:  a study reports that 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.


This goes for both positive recognition (“I really appreciate your hard work with this project”), and giving constructive feedback (“I’m disappointed that you weren’t better prepared to lead that meeting - everything OK?”).


We don’t recommend you try changing all of your behaviours at once; instead, try to identify two or three from this list and focus on developing those for a few weeks. Looking for some support? Give us a call and chat about our 1-1 coaching opportunities.


Even better: by subscribing to our newsletter you can get a monthly dose of personal development resources delivered right to our inbox. Sign up now!




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