Unlike some job skills that become outdated, emotional intelligence is one that becomes more important and effective as people advance in their career. That is because it allows us to form better relationships and enhance our leadership.
Improving Performance with EQ
While emotional intelligence skills allow us to be more successful with others, there is another side to emotional intelligence – how it impacts ‘self’.
The Behavioral EQ Model is broken down into four main areas of emphasis, focusing on the most fundamentally important and useable aspects of EQ and specifically targeting modern workplace challenges. The four areas are Emotional Intelligence – Others, Behavioral Intelligence – Others, and Emotional Intelligence – Self, Behavioral Intelligence – Self.
Many executives are aware of the incredible power EQ training can have on influencing our relationships and interactions with others, but we often forget the immense impact that having a high EQ can have on engagement, turnover, productivity, and efficiency.
Here are three EQ Tips focusing on ‘Self’ to Help You Conquer Your Week
Tip 1. Analyze and Challenge Your Self-Talk – Research shows that people speak to themselves endlessly, using hundreds of words every minute. You might be surprised that it is part of our human nature to focus more on negatives than positives. Extensive research shows that humans have a bias toward negative thinking rather than positive thinking. If much of what you say to yourself is negative, this is probably affecting your outlook. You can learn to think more positively. This does not mean that you hide from unpleasantness or that you have an unrealistically positive outlook. It means that you can approach the world, including difficulty, with a positive and productive state of mind. A positive outlook increases people’s ability to cope with stressful situations. Research has discovered common forms of negative self-talk. It is important to remember that this happens automatically and very quickly. By becoming aware of these thoughts, you can actively change them. Pay attention to what you say to yourself (write it down) and consider if you are engaging in any of these common thought patterns:
- Filtering out the positive. When this happens people filter out the positive aspects of a situation and focus only on the negative. For example, a person delivers a presentation to a group at work and receives compliments on her performance, but she made one minor mistake. She focuses only on the mistake instead of her overall great performance.
- Taking things personally. When people personalize events, they blame themselves or take things personally when there is no evidence that they should do this. For example, a person blames himself for a mistake made by others on his team, even though he had nothing to do with the error.
- This occurs when people always expect the worst. For example, if a person’s boss calls a meeting with her, she might automatically assume that she is in trouble. Making something out of nothing is very common and can lead to gross misperceptions of reality.
- This is when people see things in polar terms, as good or bad, black or white, with no middle ground. For example, a person believes that he has to be perfect or else he is a failure, or a person views performance feedback as career-threatening rather than career-building.
Tip 2. Create a Laughter Library – When we are feeling overwhelmed, stress can be paralyzing. The best way to escape inefficiency is to take a quick break, and laugh! Research shows that the simple act of smiling (or even better, laughing) improves people’s moods and immunity to stress. To prepare, develop a ‘library’ of things that make you laugh. The library can be full of jokes, vignettes from movies or TV shows, funny things your friends have said, or anything else. The important thing is to have this library at your fingertips and ready to use. When feeling stressed, or when caught in a stressful situation, borrow from the library. Replace the negative emotions with something that literally makes you laugh out loud. When we are feeling overwhelmed, we need a genuine, but short break to allow us to return with a fresh outlook. A laughter library allows us to regain efficiency when we are losing steam. Make a habit out of this, and you will feel much better and boost your productivity.
Tip 3. Exercise to Reduce Stress – Exercise causes the brain to release neurotransmitters called endorphins, which is the body’s natural feel-good drug. You will find that you naturally set aside the day’s tension. You are also likely to benefit from an improved mood, and you might even sleep more soundly. You do not have to devote hours every day to jogging and you do not have to be in great shape. Do what you want to do; this is not about becoming a marathon runner. Start out slow and do the types of exercise you enjoy the most – walking up steps, gardening, weightlifting, yoga, walking at lunch – all forms of exercise have the same benefits. Find a friend to exercise with you. This will increase your chances of sticking with a regular program.
Check back next week for a blog discussing EQ Tips related to ‘Others’.