Raise Your Emotional Intelligence Today
I never used to be as emotionally intelligent as I am today. As a teenager, I was selfish. As a tween, I was dramatic. Even in college, I don’t think I had the ability to understand people very well. Somewhere I started thinking about things like empathy and building relationships. It comes easily now, and it’s so beneficial for every part of life. As a firm believer in self-improvement, I’d like to share a few ways that I think other Career Girls can improve their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and boost their relationships, personal brand, and workplace.
- Word Choice: Choosing your words carefully is a skill. It takes a great deal of patience and forethought. By thinking about how to approach someone, especially with a topic that is uncomfortable or sensitive, you will largely avoid those conflicts. If you found that you no longer enjoy your job, you could certainly go to the boss and say all kinds of things about how awful the company is run and how the boss was one of the main reasons you’re leaving, but that wouldn’t do very much other than possibly make you feel good for a second, and then hurt or enrage the other person. Burning bridges is usually not a good idea. If you choose your words carefully in this situation and say something like you’ve tried to make it work, but are finding that you’re not happy and not able to do your best work, that’s going to go over a lot better than saying, “This place is so poorly run that I want to strangle everyone.” Even if you think you don’t need to be diplomatic, it’s always better to be the bigger—and more emotionally intelligent—person.
- Introspection: Part of raising your EQ means understanding how you feel about things and how your feelings affect your actions. For instance, arguments make me really uncomfortable and I try to avoid them by first understanding why I am upset about something. When I was finding myself upset about dishes piling up over and over again, and tried to talk to my husband about it, we’d end up arguing because he thought I was accusing him of , in his words, “not doing anything.” I never said that at all, but that’s what he would hear from my words. I know that we don’t get better at things unless we are making an effort to do so, and something weighing on my mind when I saw these chores going unfinished was that we’re going to do poorly as parents if we can’t even take care of ourselves and keep a clean house while child-free. After realizing that, I was able to approach the situation by saying that I’m worried about failing at something in the future, and so I need help and an equal effort from my teammate in order to be confident and happy about our next stage. That use of introspection and understanding of myself translates into much better communication with the people around me, and it gives me the opportunity to inspire the people to join me in the team effort and work together toward our shared goal.
- Saying What Someone Needs to Hear: I think everyone has that one friend who believes it’s better to be brutally honest than to be nice. These personalities, though sometimes endearing, are often hard to be around because the things they say come off as rude and abrasive. When I have a friend who is telling me about her life and I want to scream, “Stop making such terrible choices!” I just think about what she needs to hear. Someone who is in a relationship with someone who treats them badly doesn’t need to be told that they’re wrong. This person needs to be told that they’re worth more than that and they deserve better. I will say things like, “You’re really loving and considerate, so it seems to cause a lot of problems that he’s not.” I might point out, “You seem happier when you’re not together. Do you feel more confident on your own?” I can’t sit and lecture someone on how I know what they should do in their life better than they do. That’s presumptuous and inconsiderate, but if you understand why your friend is having a hard time at something and can help boost them in that area, that might make a big difference for them long-term.
Emotional intelligence is about more than feelings. Once you decide to raise your EQ, you’ll find that you’re thinking about situations in whole new ways and considering things that had never occurred to you before. If you’re crazy like me, you’ll end up practicing conversations in the shower and while you drive, and then you’ll find that you are able to anticipate how your words and actions will (positively) affect the world around you.