For anyone who wants to advance in their career, emotional intelligence (EI) is essential for success. After all, who is more likely to succeed – a leader who shouts at his team when he’s under stress or a leader who stay in control and calmly assesses the situation?
According to Daniel Goleman, who helped make the idea of EI popular, there are five main elements of emotional intelligence. Here are the first three. How would you rate yourself?
If you’re self-aware, you usually know how you feel. Most importantly, you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you. Being self-aware when you’re in a leadership position also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses. So, what can you do to improve your self-awareness?
- Keep a journal. If you spend just a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts, this can move you to a higher degree of self-awareness.
- Slow down. When you experience anger or other strong emotions, slow down to examine why. Remember, no matter what the situation, you can always choose how you react to it.
That means in high charged situations, you focus on staying in control of your emotions. You rarely verbally attack others, make rushed or emotional decisions, stereotype people or compromise their values. So, how can you improve your ability to self-regulate?
- Hold yourself accountable. f you tend to blame others when something goes wrong, stop. Make a commitment to admit to your mistakes and face the consequences, whatever they are. You’ll probably sleep better at night, and you’ll quickly earn the respect of those around you.
- Find ways to calm. The next time you’re in a challenging situation, practice deep-breathing exercises to calm yourself. Also, try to write down all of the negative things you want to say, and then rip it up and throw it away. Expressing these emotions on paper is better than speaking them aloud. What’s more, this helps you challenge your reactions to make sure that they’re fair!
Self-motivated leaders consistently work toward their goals. And they have extremely high standards for the quality of their work. How can you improve your motivation?
- Re-examine where you’re at. It’s easy to forget what you really love about your career. So, take some time to remember why you wanted this job. If you’re unhappy in your role and you’re struggling to remember why you wanted it, find the root of the problem and then decide what actions to take.
- Be hopeful and find something good. Motivated people are usually optimistic, no matter what they face. Every time you face a challenge, or even a failure, try to find at least one good thing about the situation. It might be something small, like a new contact, or something with long-term effects, like an important lesson learned. But there’s almost always something positive – you just have to look for it.
Career Success Tip:
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions and those of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence usually know what they’re feeling, what this means and how their emotions can affect other people. See the last two elements of EI in the next post.
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- Copyright © 2012 Marcia Zidle career and leadership coach.