Today’s 3 tips are about how to improve emotional intelligence.

Leaders’ main misconception about emotional intelligence is that they excel at it. In fact, most respondents, when asked, will assert that they have better-than-average EQ.

There may be someone reading this blog right now, chuckling at all those ‘other people’ who are misguided while confident in their EQ skills. 

No need to fret if you’re like most people that rank at the lower end of EQ when put to the test.

The other misconception is that emotional skills are something you are either born with or not. Like so many aspects of leadership, the good news is that you can work to improve your skill.

Consider that you likely are a better leader than you were five, ten, or more years ago if you have a growth mindset driving you in a constant state of improvement. This applies to honing emotional intelligence skills as well.

awareness leads to insight sticky note

Tip #1: Awareness leads to insight.​

The first step to improving any skill is to start from a place of insight. That means you may have to admit that how you perceive your skill set is not the reality.

I recommend you begin with an assessment using an online tool like this one. A note of caution that many who take a quiz like this and receive an unexpected score immediately enter the stages of grief, beginning with denial, “This isn’t right.” They quickly move to anger, “They don’t know what they’re talking about.”

You remember the next three and may experience them all as a run-on sentence in your head. “So I got one of two wrong; I mean, it really could have been either A or B.” (Bargaining)

If this is a client and they’re verbalizing aloud, I’ll point out that these quizzes are written by experts in their field, triggering the depression that comes when our perception is challenged with fact.

At last, we arrive at acceptance; with it, we have choices.

seek feedback sticky note

Tip #2: Seek feedback.

Irrespective of the result of the quiz, it’s time to get some practical feedback from those that know you best.

If you have a coach, this is a great opportunity to use third-party validation from someone (the coach) not employed in the company to facilitate the process.

This will be a well-planned, intentional process. Not simply a phone call and not an email that arrives unexpectedly in the ear (or eyes) of an unsuspecting leader, peer, or one of your reports.

Before contacting anyone, design the questions you would like to ask about your emotional intelligence skills.

A great question will be open-ended and cannot be answered with a single word. It will provoke thoughtful consideration and not signal a desired answer.

The exception to the rule is when asking for a rating because you can embed the follow-up question, “Why did you choose this rating, and what could this person do to improve their rating.”

review, reflect, take action sticky note

Tip #3: Review, reflect, and take action.

Ideally, you have used your coach as a third party to gather feedback. This feedback will be instrumental in improving your emotional intelligence.

Your respondents are more likely to be forthright if they know their comment won’t be directly attributed to them. You have answers to the same set of questions from reports, peers, and leaders to find themes, behaviors, and, hopefully, a blindspot that comes into view. 

Fight the urge to argue in your head with feedback; instead, say “thank you” out loud. I know it sounds odd, but it will place your mind in a state of gratitude. Every one of these people has gone out on a limb to offer insight to help. Say yes to that.

Suppose you wonder how emotional intelligence ties to the six keys you may have heard me discuss. Communicate, delegate, motivate, recruit, collaborate, and develop.

In that case, it is an essential communication component that impacts every aspect of leadership. Developing the skill of emotional intelligence will serve you both at work and at home. 

To explore the dimensions of working with a coach, schedule a Meet & Greet, and talk with Ken Kilday.

When working with an individual leader, or their entire leadership team, Ken uses tools like Talent Dynamics to begin the journey of self-awareness necessary to be a great communicator that listens well, leveraging strong emotional intelligence.

Teams with high EQ work more constructively, make decisions confidently and enjoy the profitability that comes from effectiveness.

Call us today to build a plan for stronger EQ on your team.

As a strong leader, you want to role model good listening skills at every opportunity. If unsure where to begin, schedule a Meet & Greet, and talk with Ken Kilday.

When working with an individual leader, or their entire leadership team, Ken uses tools like Talent Dynamics to begin the journey of self-awareness necessary to be a great communicator that listens well.

A team that listens to one another has focus and intention, is efficient in the process, moves more quickly to solve problems, builds relationships, and enjoys improved profitability. Call us today to build a plan for better listening skills on your team.

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