Developing Emotional Intelligence

To successfully develop your own emotional intelligence you must be willing to reflect on your own performance and behavior. This requires you to review situations with an objective, honest, and open mindset. Unless you are willing to ‘really’ see what you find, you will not be able to raise your EQ.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

The four competencies that make up EQ are shown in the diagram above. Your development starts with ‘self-awareness’ and moves around the segments in a clockwise direction. This is an iterative process throughout your whole career.

It is only by constantly reviewing your level of each EQ competency that you will attain the recognition and reward you aspire to. The way you achieve this is by using a simple technique called the ‘reflective cycle.’

This involves asking yourself a series of questions that focus on your emotional state during a specific incident or event. This allows you to identify what emotions you felt and to determine how appropriate they were. Through this evaluation process you assess the level of impact your emotions and their associated behaviors had on the incident.

Depending on the level of impact these had you decide how the outcome could have been improved if you had shown different emotions or behaviors. Your final reflection is on what action you will take to ensure that you appropriately mange your emotions in future.

Emotional Intelligence and the reflective cycle

It is essentially a questioning process: you ask yourself a series of questions in order to determine how you need to alter your behavior to attain the required objective:

1. Select a particular event or incident that you felt could have gone better or that you want to better understand.

2. Then look at your feelings.

• How did you feel about the event as it unfolded?
• What emotions did you display during the event?
• What emotions did the other party show?

3. Having established the emotional state of all parties throughout the event you then need to assess whether your own emotions and behavior affected the outcome.

4. If you decide that they did, then you need to understand how your emotions altered the situation. And whether this was for the better or not.

• Did you cause heightened emotions in the other party?
• Did your emotions exacerbate the situation?
• Did you try to anticipate potential emotional reactions?
• Did you prepare or think how you might respond?
• Did your emotions divert your focus from the objective?

5. Now that you have identified how your own emotions, behavior, and preparation (or lack of) impacted on the event, what would you change if faced with the same or a similar situation again?

• What would you do differently?
• How would you control your own emotions?
• What did you do well? Should you have done more of this?

6. Once you have a list of changes you want to make in your display of emotions and behaviors, create a clearly defined action plan that enables you to achieve this. This plan should have:

• A clear objective you want to attain
• Specific tasks with a time frame
• Opportunities to review progress and make revisions as needed.

This process is cyclical and will give you the best results if you have a few well-defined short-term objectives. The further along you are in your EQ development the greater focus your action plan will have on improving your social awareness and relationship management. By incorporating the reflective cycle technique into your personal development plan you will attain your desired level of EQ.

You must be willing to examine your own behavior honestly and objectively if you want to increase your own EQ. The reflective cycle technique is a six-stage process that can help you to do so.The four competencies that make up EQ are: Self-awareness, Self- management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.

Self-awareness is all about recognizing and understanding how your own emotions affect your interactions with others.

Self-management builds on the basis of self-awareness and is the ability to control your emotions so that they don’t control you.

Social awareness allows you to accurately read situations and people because you are able to understand and empathize with their emotions.

Relationship Management includes the identification, analysis, and management of relationships with people inside and outside of your team.

The most important part of becoming a leader in the modern workplace is to be the person that others choose to follow. By taking the time to develop your own EQ you can implement changes and manage conflict far more effectively than by simply compelling people to follow your instructions.

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