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4 tips for using EQ emotional intelligence


We’re often taught that emotions don’t belong in the workplace, but Harvard Business Review recently published a report that says otherwise, that claims that emotional intelligence may actually be a key to professional success.

Did you know, for instance, that you could use your emotions in a way that enhances your decision making as a business woman? Or that you can influence the emotions of others simply in the way that you speak and behave? Emotional intelligence can be a powerful asset in any career woman’s toolbox — one she’ll rely on time and again to climb to new heights of success.

What is emotional intelligence?

Simply put, emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of and effectively control and express your emotions. This allows you to handle interpersonal relationships both judiciously and empathetically.

In 1997, a four-branch model was created to describe four skills in particular that could help anyone develop and enhance their emotional intelligence. Known as the Mayer & Salovey Model, the four skills it highlights are as follows:

  1. Identify Emotions
  2. Use Emotions
  3. Understand Emotions
  4. Manage Emotions

When an individual is able to master these four skills, their emotional intelligence will serve them both in the workplace and in their personal lives.

One of the skills that many people struggle with at the onset is the first one in the Mayer & Salovey model: the ability to identify their emotions. Below are simple strategies you can implement immediately to finally get a hold on this unique ability.


Identifying emotions

It can be said that emotions are simply data, bits of information that are telling us something about how we (or others) are feeling about a situation or a decision. When we ignore our emotions and put them to the side, therefore, we’re essentially tossing vital feedback out the window. Instead, allow your emotions to bring you information by doing the following:

  • Monitor

Check in with yourself at the beginning of each day. Ask yourself questions like: How do I feel at the moment? What is my thinking style right now? How do I need to feel for the rest of the day to be most effective? What strategies can I use to move myself into that emotional head space?

  • Keep a mood diary

A few times a day, try to record the emotion you’re feeling and the events that immediately preceded that emotion. This will enable you to keep track of patterns in your emotional life, which can often give you a clearer picture of how you respond to certain situations.

  • Analyse

You also want to think about how you express your emotions. For instance, do emotions show up in your facial expression, in your tone of voice, or in your body language? Or all three? Being aware of how you express your emotions can help you to better manage your reactions in instances when it serves you better to ‘keep your cool’.

  • Use your EQ radar

Become aware of the emotions of others. All it requires is that you pay closer attention to people, especially to their facial expressions, vocal tones, and body language (i.e. avoiding eye contact, crossing arms, etc.). There’s a wealth of information in these subtle cues.

When you’re better able to recognise and identify your emotions, you’ll soon start to see that you have a good ‘read’ on people. Besides that, recognising emotions in others is also critical to effectiveness. It is fundamental to negotiating, conflict management and is a core leadership skill. It turns out emotions can help you become more successful after all.


About Rosalind Cardinal

Rosalind Cardinal, known as ‘The Leadership Alchemist', is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, a consulting practice in the field of Organisational Development and Human Resources. She has coached clients at Executive and Senior Levels in government agencies, private enterprises, and the community sector and is a sought-after speaker and expert at conferences and events. Visit Shaping Change to learn new strategies and game-changing ideas toward becoming a better leader and to download Ros’ free e-book on leadership.

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