Emotional Intelligence affects everything. When we’re working with an organization, we talk a lot about communication, conflict management, and trust. All of these things are affected by our emotional intelligence. At its core, emotional intelligence is identifying and managing the emotions of ourselves and those around us. We all experience emotions, and how we express those emotions impacts our relationships with others.
The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned, studied, and improved. If you begin to recognize the thought patterns, the physiological responses, and the behaviors that you tend to experience just before you say or do that thing that you always regret doing, you can learn to stop yourself before you say or do that thing. And once you are able to do that, you can look for those same signs in those around you and begin to recognize what someone else is feeling and when they are leading up to an undesirable behavior.
In our heads, we all tell ourselves stories about what is going on around us. We interpret a comment or behavior a certain way, based on the story we tell ourselves about the motive or intent of the other person. If instead, we pause before responding to that story and focus on the facts, seek clarification if needed, and validate what the other person may be experiencing, more often than not, that interaction will be much more positive.
As leaders of families, households, students, teams, companies, and communities, you can begin by modeling high emotional intelligence to those around you and helping those you lead understand their emotions and how to manage them. Because really, wouldn’t we all be better off if our relationships were built on trust, if our conflicts were managed in a productive way, and our communication was clear?