4 Essential Ways to Be More Emotionally Intelligent

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Over recent posts on the Excel Communications blog, we have discussed various ways to improve your leadership capability.  

You’ll notice a theme which revolves around improving your level of self-awareness alongside developing your courage and connection. 

Today I want to discuss something which underpins all of these suggestions, and that is the quest to develop your EQ (Emotional Quotient) which is referred to as E.I. or emotional intelligence too. 

If you haven’t yet read Daniels Goldman’s original book on this subject, I highly recommend you add it to your leadership reading list. 

Becoming more emotionally intelligent can only support today’s leader as business paradigms continue to shift in a disruptive market. 

Our workforce continues to change in their expectations of us, and their leaders, too 

Consequently, when you develop your emotional intelligence, you improve your ability to recognise your own emotions and those of others with an understanding which can then guide different thinking and behaviour with improved results. 

So, today, let’s explore four different ways to improve your E.I. 

Develop Your Self Awareness 

How self-aware are you?  Do you know your ‘triggers’ and what puts you in a good or bad mood? What about the impact of your communication style on others?

For instance, if you know that sending a specific type of email will cause havoc with the recipient, why do it? Surely a different approach would be to consider how you could improve how you communicate in the written word or better still dial their number, connect and talk.  

Leaders with high self-awareness and who are developing their E.I. pick up on others’ emotions and body language and use that information to enhance their communication skills. 

Focus on Possibility Through Gratitude 

Becoming positive will improve what is possible for you. As a leader, your attitude is everything. A negative mindset can and does affect the people around you. However, the genuinely uncomfortable fact is your negative state will impact your results more than anyone else. 

The published data is overwhelming that a negative mindset is a predictor of mental health issues. In an article published in Psychology Today, Dr Lisa Firestone reviewed a study carried out in the UK where over 30,000  people revealed that continually focusing on negative life events could be the prime predictor of some of today’s most common mental health problems. 

With our world in turmoil, which is reported by the minute on social media, it’s easy to lose perspective. An easy way to shift this is to start focusing on the good things happening in your life.  

A useful technique is based on the age-old premise of ‘counting your blessings’, in other words recognising daily what we are grateful for in our lives.  

Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading scientific experts on gratitude, on a recent post on the Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley, suggests that gratitude has two key components. 

First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. 

In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “We recognise that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.” 

Be Sociable 

Being sociable isn’t about attending every after-work party and being the last to leave. It’s about understanding the human psyche and what is essential to people who engage with you.  

You’ll be able to spot the people in your organisation who have a high E.I.  

They are the approachable ones who smile regularly and give off energy that is good to be around. 

They will be the ones who can talk to anyone at any time about something key to that individual, be that climate change or how well the women’s England team did in the World Cup. 

Consistently Learn and Implement More  

In a previous post, we shared how great leaders are learners who act. At a modular programme we run for leaders at booking.com I had a conversation with one of the participants.  

At coffee, they shared their passion for learning with me and how they had read two books which one of our trainers had recommended on part one of the programme and consequently had jumped straight into action on some of the ideas. 

This individual then when on to recount how they had been able to move across functions to broaden their knowledge and how they were now in a role two levels higher.  

This wasn’t about the books she had read; it was more about her focus on learning and action and the system she was building to achieve her leadership career goals. 

Emotionally intelligent people have a focus on developing and using their leadership skills; daily. This enables them to have and set high standards with the output of a more productive level of performance in life and at work. 

Some ideas are here for you to implement. So, where will you start? 



Rachel Hewitt-Hall 


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