5 Tips for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

By: Jane Golden 3 years ago

Emotional Intelligence

Forget IQ – How High is your EQ?

There are many articles and books written about Emotional Intelligence (EI/EIQ). The one I most often recommend to my coaching clients is “Primal Leadership” by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee. This book discusses in detail how leaders “create resonance” in their organizations by driving emotions to create effective and optimal results. In fact, a leaders emotional intelligence directly correlates to the success his/her organization.

emotional intelligence and leadership stylesBasically, “emotional intelligence” has to do with one’s “self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.” And these areas also parallel the fundamentals of various transforming leadership models I have used as an Executive Coach. In my coaching experience spanning over 10 years, I have been asked to coach many senior professionals, managers and executives in a variety of organizations.

While there are many reasons that corporations hire coaches, many of the major coaching challenges I have dealt with fall into the area of Emotional Intelligence.

In my estimation, EI is one of the main factors holding people back from moving to higher levels of leadership and one I see most often in executive coaching. In fact, from a coaching perspective, analyzing, strengthening, developing and implementing EI competencies reap some of the larger benefits of great executive leadership, along with planning, and decision making. More and more, the effectiveness of today’s leaders is judged by how well they develop and inspire individuals and teams in their organization.

So in looking with each of these Emotional Intelligence components, ask yourself the following questions:


How realistically Self-Aware are you? Do you recognize the effect your emotions may have on others? Are you self-critical, do you understand the reasons behind your strong emotions? Are you aware of certain triggers to your emotions? Are you comfortable in showing your emotions when appropriate, or are you of the mindset that they do not belong in the workplace? Do you trust others?


How well do you manage your emotions? Are you able to use those emotions for successful outcomes, or do they get in your way? Do you show anger quickly, fly off the handle, rush to judgment, damaging relationships in the process? Are you impatient with subordinates and do you act from that impatience? Do you have strong personal boundaries? Can you control your emotional tendencies with logic and reason, thinking before acting, in order to have the best outcomes?

Social Awareness:

How aware are you of the emotional needs of others? Can you size up people, understanding not only their technical expertise, but also their emotional make-up? Are you aware of the personal boundaries of others, and do you respect those? Do you easily sense the emotional needs of others?

Relationship Management:

How well do you use your social awareness to effectively manage relationships? Are you aware of the personal boundaries of others, and do you respect those? Do you treat people as individuals, with individual needs? Do you manage teams and individuals with the “relationship” in mind for more successful outcomes? Are you able to work with the strong emotions of others in an effective way? In addition to leading and managing, are you an effective coach and/or mentor? Do you empower others?

There are many areas and tips for improving your EI/EIQ, but I would like to list 5 standouts here.

  1. Become self-aware. Know what your emotional triggers are and learn to control your emotions effectively. By becoming more self-aware, you will develop an awareness of the needs of others. You will also be clearer on your own values, what motivates you, your effect on others and any deterrents to your own success.
  2. Learn to trust. I often see high potential leaders who have not yet learned to trust people they lead. This may be for many reasons: they have been burned in the past, they are impatient with people with different skill levels, and they trust only themselves to “get it right!” However, this lack of trust in others can be a major deterrent in developing and empowering those you lead (one of the key competencies in leadership). A successful leader knows how to manage without micro managing, is patient when empowering others and trusts in the power and importance of developing and empowering others.
  3. Be the emotional model of excellence. While it is sometimes necessary, indeed even desired, to show emotions, it is also important that the effective leader keeps her eye on the desired outcome – what works, what are we about, what do I stand for, and how do I exemplify what I stand for? Emotionally self-aware leaders can play to their strengths, are transparent in their guiding values and beliefs.
  4. Recognize differences. The effective leader will recognize the differences in people, how those people impart and receive information, and how their needs differ. For example, does a person need to hear a “historical” background when being presented with a new idea, or do they just want to hear the bottom line?  This is an extremely difficult competency for leaders, and is entirely dependent upon that leader’s own self-awareness, which leads to an awareness of the needs of others.
  5. Inspire and motivate others. Leaders who are self-aware and who recognize differences in others are more effective in inspiring and motivating others, another key leadership competency. Leaders who are effective team players are able to compel teams to be enthusiastic about the shared vision and goals of an organization.

So what is your particular understanding of Emotional Intelligence and how it is key to your organization’s effectiveness? Would you like to become more self-aware? Do you need to understand how you affect others? Would you like to improve your EIQ?

User Comments