Train your emotional intelligence

Victoria Gimeno. Director Institutional Relations. IE University

24 July 2014

When it comes to being successful in a business organization, knowing yourself, knowing how to motivate others and developing empathy are twice as important as boasting a high IQ. It’s time to start training to improve these important skills.

There are times that it seems amazing how many people, despite being extremely qualified and well-equipped, do not have a brilliant career. Meanwhile others who are not exactly known for their intelligence seem to be very happy and appear to have a great deal of luck, and sometimes people who are right lose arguments.

What role do analytical skills play in these situaitons, or a capacity for synthesis or work? How much does expertise count when it comes to being a good leader?

Daniel Goleman’s research has showed that emotional intelligence is twice as important as IQ (mental agility) when it comes to securing a successful career. In the case of leaders, the ratio rises to 85%.

Emotional intelligence is made up of internal skills, such as self-knowledge, motivation and emotional control, and external abilities, such as empathy and social skills. All these skills can be acquired. It would be ideal if schools taught students how to develop this kind of intelligence (hopefully they will one day). In any case, emotional intelligence can be developed with the proper training.

The most important aspect is self-knowledge, and in order to achieve this, the first thing you have to do is to make a list of your faults and virtues, and weaknesses and strengths. After doing this, you should ask those who know you best to draw up their own list, with all sincerity, and then you have to compare both. Obviously, knowing the emotions and reactions you would have in different situations, knowing what drives them, and when, is fundamental, as is identifying emotional tendencies.

In order to motivate yourself, you have to give priority to all things positive. You have to know that you are the person who is most responsible for your wellbeing, and that in a worst case scenario, you would know how to glean 10 positive things, no matter how bad things might seem at first sight. You have to de-dramatize and relativize, given that things could always be worse.

In order to achieve emotional control you need to observe your own emotions, given that they are signs that transmit an enormous amount of information. You have to keep tabs on them and not let them influence and govern your actions. The only way to control them is by getting to know them and thus attain emotional stability.

The postures people frequently adopt do not help at all. For example, sometimes people deny emotions exist, which leads them to into situations with no solution. Other times, the opposite happens, and people react by shouting if they are angry, which can give rise to terrible feelings of guilt. Other times, people try to escape from their emotions, seeking refuge in drugs or alcohol.

Emotions should be faced in order to find out what they are telling you. Fear tells you how not to tackle a threat, and leads you to seek out the resources needed to do it successfully.

The only way to get to know others is by getting to know your own emotions, and by developing empathy by putting yourself in their shoes and seeing how you might feel in his or her place.

All these skills will help build a better capacity to relate with other people, to lead, work in a team, be more productive, in short, be happier. The lack of emotional intelligence can ruin a person’s career. Wouldn’t it be far better to train yourself in order to stop that happening?

Published by Via@IEBusiness


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