It goes by several names: Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ), Social Intelligence, Relational Intelligence (RI or RQ), soft skills. They all mean the same thing – you’re good at relationships. For the sake of this article, I’ll use EI.
How does a person get good at EI? Unlike IQ, which is more or less genetically fixed at birth, it can be learned and enhanced. The most successful people are the ones who have high EI. They are successful on the job. They are also successful at home.
First, let me briefly define what EI is composed of. It is a matrix with four quadrants as shown in the graphic.
If you begin to think about this model in terms of behaviors you see on the job, or at home, it’s usually easy to identify people who are weak in one or more of the quadrants. Mr. Self-Absorbed lacks any Other Awareness. Ms. Vent-All lacks any Self Regulation. Mr. I-Don’t-Know-Why-Everyone-Hates-Me lacks any Self Awareness. It’s easy to see that when one of these three quadrants are weak, it’s impossible for the fourth quadrant, Relationship Regulation, to be strong.
So how do you improve in each of these areas? I’ll give a few tips in this article today, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us. We can provide you with an inventory that assesses individual EI and also gives group results. We can also provide the follow up coaching to help you or your work team improve your EI.
TIPS FOR IMPROVING…
- Learn to step back and observe your th0ughts, feelings, and reactions. How do you feel throughout the day? What causes you to have certain reactions?
- Ask others for feedback on the way your thoughts, feelings, and reactions appear on the outside. You may not know what your impact really is.
- Learn the all-important skill of listening actively to others. Notice not only what they say, but how they say it. Listen for feelings as well as ideas.
- Ask for feedback on whether your perception of their thoughts, feelings, and reactions is accurate. You might be misinterpreting what that furrowed brow means.
- If you’ve gotten good at observing yourself in Quadrant 1, you can move beyond reactive mode. Don’t give in to the first impulse you feel.
- Learn to think through to a response, as in, “I’m angry, I feel let down, I had better give some feedback about how this missed deadline affected me, I think I’ll start with a positive request for change.” That line of thinking contrasts to the reactive mode, “You made me mad and now I’m going to get even! Tomorrow you won’t find that analysis in your inbox, you inconsiderate nincompoop.”
- When you are skilled in the first three quadrants, you can become skilled at the fourth. If you don’t perceive yourself accurately, if you’re not perceiving others accurately, if you don’t recognize your obligation to control yourself but assign blame to others, you are damaging your relationships. Step 1 in getting things back on track is to find out how much damage has been done, own it, and apologize sincerely.
- To deepen and enrich other relationships, practice our “20:1 ratio”. Do your part to make sure that others experience 20 positive interactions with you for every one interaction that may be received as negative.
If you think about enjoyable relationships in your life, you’ll find that the magic ratio is in operation. You trust someone and they prove worthy of it. You feel respected and understood, and are able to give that in return. You feel the other person holds up their end of the relationship – it isn’t one-sided. There are generous gestures on both sides that make each of you grateful for the interaction.
This kind of high-EI relationship with your company is what makes customers fiercely loyal. This is what makes work teams great. This is what makes a marriage the romance of a century. This is what gives your kids the confidence to grow into amazing adults – people you’d pick as friends even if they weren’t related.
EI is the magic ingredient that brings success in life and love.