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  • Writer's pictureLeverageEQ

5 Ways To Get Ahead Using Emotional Intelligence

For anyone who has read an article centred around emotional intelligence, there is a strong

chance the two mains points covered were that emotional intelligence is the ability to

recognise, understand and manage emotions, and all you need to do to improve it is to

become aware of your emotions.

While both points are correct, what they fail to acknowledge is the extensive research and

data centric tools that have been developed since the popularisation of the term, by

psychologist Daniel Goleman. There is a direct correlation between low emotional

intelligence and lack of self-awareness, making it difficult for someone with low EI to begin

increasing their EI, solo. Even those who consider themselves to be emotionally self-aware,

often do not have the scope of understanding to articulate the 15 characteristics that define

their EI.

Since the initial introduction of EI, we have learnt the exact characteristics that make up an

individual's EI, to the extent that we can pinpoint where they sit on a scale of high to low EI,

what their likelihood of success in a leadership position is and how their unique EI makeup

dictates their behaviour.

Want to get an edge on your competition? Then you need to focus on these 5 key

composites of EI.

1. Self-Perception

Without a healthy sense of inner confidence the journey for an entrepreneur or

business owner can be a constant battle of self-doubt. Am I good enough? Maybe

I’m not cut out for this? I’ve had another no, I’m failure.

Spending time developing a strong sense of self-belief creates the foundation for

your business. Focus on what’s working and what has gone well. Keep a record of all

the wins and reasons you chose this path in the first place. Know it’s OK to change

direction and think of it not as failure but experimentation.

2. Self-Expression

55% of communication is non-verbal, so what are you telling the people around you?

Are you walking into your meeting with an air of confidence or are you carrying the

rejection from your first meeting that didn’t go so well. Are you self-directed in your

approach or do you constantly look to others to tell you want direction to take?

To improve self-expression you need to learn which emotions are hard for you to

express and start to share them with close confidants. Pre-empt the situations where

you might lack assertion and give yourself the tools to practice standing up for

yourself. For example, if negotiating makes you uncomfortable, be clear about what

is up for discussion and what is a a hard no.

3. Interpersonal

How do we connect with our customers, improve brand loyalty and motivate and

inspire team members? Through interpersonal skills. This involves utilising empathy

to understand how others operate and to appreciate their point of view. Being able

to articulate someone else’s perspective helps us to understand what they need,

how we can solve it and diffuse conflict. Empathy is your secret weapon to building

connection, community and a loyal client based.

4. Decision Making

From product inventory, marketing initiatives, operational efficiency and budget

management, the decisions made by a business owner are endless. If we are unable

to separate emotion from decision making, the results are likely to be irrational and

impulsive. Step 1 in separating emotion from decision is to recognised when we feel

an overwhelming emotional response. Step 2 is to delay the decision and step 3 is

reality testing. Data collection, speaking with advisors and getting an external

perspective will help us understand alternative perspectives and make objective


5. Stress Management

Our capacity to handle stress comes down to our outlook on life and ability to adapt

to unpredictable situations. Do you see set-backs as a sign you are doomed or a

natural part of the journey? Accept that things won’t always go to plan and that

external pressures are out of your control, but know that whatever comes your way

you have the strength to handle it.

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