Emotional Intelligence – How to develop your superpower

Emotional Intelligence contributes a massive 80% to human performance. It is the one element of your being that determines whether you are using all your internal and external resources including knowledge, skills and the experience required to fulfill your purpose.

As the name suggests, it’s about how intelligent we are in understanding and managing our emotions.

Emotional Intelligence is the holy grail of leadership and management training and the secret to feeling content and happy in our personal and professional lives. 

Most people, no matter how intelligent, skillful and strategic, feel powerless in the face of strong emotions whether uplifting or depressing. The good news is that Emotional Intelligence can be developed.

Key factors for improving Emotional Intelligence:

  1. Awareness

Increase your awareness by acquainting yourself with your emotions. Awareness of emotions gives you control.

Emotions are our compass. They tell us whether we are in line with all that is important to us, whether we are safe and whether our core needs are being satisfied.

In my training sessions, I refer to Plutchik’s wheel of emotions to increase awareness of the concept and to invite people to evaluate their emotions, allowing them to define how they feel at any given moment.

Plutchik’s theory identifies 8 basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. As human beings, we can sense 49,000 emotions – combinations or variations of these basic emotions.

Emotions can be evaluated in different situations.

Consider this situation. You feel anger towards a colleague because their lack of competence is creating excessive work for you on a project and you feel it’s a burden. Can you analyze your feelings and identify them as anger? Now consider a different situation where you feel utterly disgusted with your boss because of their humiliating behavior. Is this anger too? Or is it something different?

Both situations make you feel angry but in fact, these two reactions are quite different and trigger two different sets of emotions.

The simple act of talking to someone can make us feel much better as we express our feelings, break them down and analyze the details of the strong emotions we are experiencing.

  • Reflection

Reflection is to observe and rethink your behavior, emotions and the outcome you have achieved after putting them into practice. Nothing works better than true reflection.

In companies, I always suggest 360-degree feedback in appraisals from managers, clients, and team members which offers a complete reflection of an individual’s performance on a project.

Reflection is like your car mirrors when you drive. Without them, you can’t tell how to adjust your speed, distance or maneuvers.

  • Active listening with full attention and purpose

What does active listening mean? Active listening is to listen without judgment and with presence and purpose. It means genuinely seeking to find out more.

To improve your active listening skills always wait patiently until the person stops, without interrupting. Then repeat after them in your own words to reassure them that you understand their point of view.

The same goes when you talk to yourself.

  • Empathy

Empathy is key to Emotional Intelligence and improves relationships.

Successful leaders, regardless of their behavioral and leadership style, always start their conversations with “How are you feeling today?” and do not move on until they are sure that they know exactly how their employee is feeling that day.

Can you imagine a workplace where managers and team members have empathy for one another?

  • Confidence

True confidence comes from within. It is knowing that we can handle the emotional consequence of unknown situations. This is only possible by exposing ourselves to various situations, allowing us to build on our faith in our own internal resources to handle challenging situations.  

  1. Managing emotions

This will be your superpower.  

Once emotions are broken down into smaller chunks, major feelings become more manageable.

If you have gone through the process of understanding your emotions by paying attention to understanding how you feel at any given time, reflection, active listening, showing empathy and improving your confidence, you are halfway there.

  • What is in it for you?

The one thing that will determine whether you will succeed in managing your emotions is your motivation to manage a particular emotion. What will the result generate for you? In other words, what is in it for you to manage that particular emotion?

Imagine a situation where your behavior over the course of time will win you your ideal leadership role within an organization. You monitor all your feelings and behavior and you make sure that you are in control of the various emotions you are experiencing. This will allow you to be more in control not only of your emotions but of everyone around you. You will constantly reflect on your behavior and the outcome that it generates to ensure that you continue to improve your behavior to generate better results. You can tell you have done better by simply feeling more confident and happier.

Most people fail to control their emotions because they lack motivation.

  • Patience

To develop patience you need to breathe.

Breathing is a practical and useful (and critical!) tool that will enable you to go back to safety at any given time. No matter how emotional and eventful you find a situation, deep breathing can help you feel physically and mentally safe.

Patience awakens your true internal self and allows you to handle emotion in a more targeted and constructive way.

You will also develop a mindset around the time it takes for anything to be accomplished. This will improve your ability to accept situations.

  • Optimism

By optimism I don’t mean being positive, rather being in the moment and accepting things as they are. It is a belief that all situations, no matter how hard, will pass and we will learn from them.

There are positive and negative sides of any situation. This way you are present and can fully utilize opportunities and be alert to overcoming challenges. 

  • Integrity

Integrity is one of the most attractive elements of leadership. Integrity is to be so aware of your key values and goals that they become second nature to you. You take action and make decisions based on your own values and standards.

When leaders fail to stay in line with their values they must face the problem head-on and do everything they can to get back on track.

For coaching and Emotional Intelligence, workshops contact Dr. Elham Peyfoon

Elham Peyfoon - Confidence Coach

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The safety and well-being of our clients are the utmost priority, therefore due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all coaching sessions will be conducted remotely until further notice.