Emotional intelligence is more than just a corporate buzzword. It is in fact one of the most powerful tools needed for effective leadership.
This blog outlines the meaning of emotional intelligence and how to improve emotional intelligence as a leader. We will go on to explain how to improve your emotional intelligence to lead your team with understanding and empathy, and how emotional intelligence can empower your people to reach their full potential.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is defined as having the ability to recognise, understand, and manage your own emotions as well as being able to recognise, understand, and influence the emotions of others.
Emotional intelligence is explained by author and psychologist, Daniel Goleman, as a quality that differentiates people “who excel in life: whose relationships flourish and who are stars in the workplace.” He argues that “our view of human intelligence is far too narrow and that our emotions play a major role in thought, decision making, and individual success.”
Why is emotional intelligence important in leadership?
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to blend thinking and feeling to make optimal decisions.
A healthy organisation – and a leader with emotional intelligence – welcomes new points of view and feedback, even if those conversations are sometimes uncomfortable. Uncomfortable conversations can open the floor to discuss feelings or thoughts that may otherwise go unheard, leaving emotions bottled up and people unheard. Specifically, in the workplace, this may result in a lack of engagement, low productivity, poor wellbeing, burnout, and even resignation. All of which come at a huge cost to a business.
Emotional intelligence is a trait that allows you to be both effective and empathetic, vulnerable and strong, confident and kind. Being emotionally intelligent is all about having an understanding of people; what they might be going through, how a situation may have made them feel, and why it’s so important that their feelings are heard.
How to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace
Next, Head of Product at Loopin and Psychologist, Jack, outlines how to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace which in turn, can help improve you and your team’s wellbeing.
We start by discussing the power of emotions and the importance of emotional intelligence, before introducing an exercise designed to improve your emotional intelligence in the workplace.
From reading this blog, we hope you feel encouraged to reflect on your own emotions, as well as your team’s emotions.
The power of emotions
Emotions influence our thoughts and behaviours which means we often think and do things under the influence of the emotions we are experiencing.
To ensure we think and behave in a suitable and positive way, we need to be aware, have an understanding, and know what to do regarding our feelings - we need to develop our emotional intelligence.
This ability is within each of us, but it varies from person to person and from experience to experience. One person might be more emotionally intelligent than another, and a single person might know how to demonstrate emotional intelligence in one situation more so than in another.
How to improve emotional intelligence
In this exercise, we provide you with a short list of common emotions and feelings. For each emotion, we provide an explanation, outline what might cause this emotion, and conclude with a tip on how to effectively use and/or manage it.
The exercise is to apply this knowledge and emotional intelligence in the workplace. To do this, we recommend keeping a record of any relevant and intense emotional experiences you have. Simply label the emotion, explain what happened during and around the experience, make note of potential causes, and record what you did to manage or use the emotion appropriately.
This is a great place to start when looking at how to improve emotional intelligence and is the basis for the daily 15-second check-in within Loopin.
The rule of R.U.L.E.R
Using or managing emotion appropriately will vary depending on the emotion, the situation, and the desired outcome and this is why it’s a great idea to learn to improve your emotional intelligence as a leader.
The R.U.L.E.R theory outlines a guide to developing and practicing this ability:
- Recognise: Look to identify how much energy is being expended through this feeling, and whether the emotion is pleasant or not.
- Understand: Explore the events surrounding your feelings and build a story by reflecting on what just happened and what is yet to happen.
- Label:Try to accurately label this feeling so you can be appropriate with how you proceed.
- Express: Expression of both positive and negative emotions is important. The secret lies in knowing when and how to do this. So be sure to think about where you are, who you are with, and in what way you wish to express your feelings.
- Regulate: Each emotion will vary regarding its help or hindrance to your personal and professional goals. Through understanding the context of our emotion we inform how we choose to appropriately regulate it.
Remembering this acronym is a great way to improve your emotional intelligence.
The next time you are faced with moments of intense emotion, apply it and take note of its effects on the situation. It might pick you up when you’re down or control your frustration during a challenging meeting.
How to improve emotional intelligence with Loopin
We hope you found this guide about “What is emotional intelligence and how do I improve my emotional intelligence” helpful. Here at Loopin, we’re on a mission to encourage emotional intelligence in the workplace. Where the whole organisation is open and honest about feelings and emotions. Our tool not only improves emotional intelligence for leaders but provides insights into personal wellbeing for the whole team.
Want to see Loopin in action? Click here to book a 15-minute demo with one of our team. We'll show you all of the tools and features available to drive positive workplace culture where people feel valued, understood, cared for, and empowered.