This article will discuss how to improve low emotional intelligence. People with low emotional intelligence are often unaware of how their behaviors impact those around them.

This is the opposite of what you want in a leader and coach, as their lack of understanding often leads to poor self-awareness and the inability to empathize.

Every leadership coach I have met goes out of their way to stress the importance of self-awareness. This is necessary to develop high emotional intelligence and how to be a good coach and advisor.

However, we need to be aware that our actions can affect others, as a leader or coach.

When we act in ways that are harmful to others, we need to learn to adapt our behaviors or take a step back. This helps us understand what our actions do to our colleagues and clients, allowing us to focus on the individual and focus less on our own sense of self.

What is emotional intelligence?woman in blue and white floral shirt holding her face

Emotional intelligence has been defined as the ability to understand and manage your own and others’ emotions. It’s about recognizing when you feel angry or frustrated or just confused and using the feelings to help you better understand and handle your feelings.

Emotional intelligence also means having the skill to recognize and articulate what you want out of a situation. This can be hard if the situation is very complicated or overwhelmed by the emotions you feel.

Many people who cannot use their emotional intelligence often end up doing things that they later regret, such as yelling and angrily shutting down instead of communicating their thoughts and feelings.

How to develop emotional intelligence

There are many steps you can take to improve your emotional intelligence. Here are some suggestions:

  • Identify positive and negative emotions in your environment
  • Learning to distinguish positive emotions and positive feelings from negative ones will help you manage your emotions and better understand your feelings.

Identifying negative emotions in your environment includes the following:

  • Social rejection
  • Fear of being laughed at
  • Pain
  • Not being taken seriously
  • Having your views ignored
  • Intimidation or being bullied

When you recognize that someone is unkind or realize that someone is intentionally cruel, this helps you try to understand the situation from their perspective, and it helps you see how to change it.

Those with high emotional intelligence understand their own emotions and how they impact others. As a coach, this is incredibly important.

Because this is so often the case, here are some tips for improving your emotional intelligence:

Focus on the other personfor women inside greenhouse

When a team member suggests improving your workflow, please don’t spend your time sharing your thoughts about how great it is, but instead, listen to the suggestion, identify how you can implement it, and then do so.

This is especially important for interactions with junior staff and clients.

Invest in others

I often recommend that people buy the book Help! Because it is focused on being a great team player.

Give your team members what you want to receive from them and give clients what they need from you.

Reach out

Your boss does not know everything, as you will never know everything about your co-workers or clients.

You can learn more about what your team members or clients need and how they view the world by building a relationship with them, which will help you empathize with their situations and needs.

Listen more than you talk

Your co-workers want to be heard, not talked about. Listen to what they say, and try to understand what they are saying.

This builds trust, bridges the gap between you and your boss, and allows you to deliver service to your customers effectively.

Communicatetwo women in front of flowers

As a leader, your actions are communicated to the entire team. If you are speaking, listen first, and only then speak.

If you are not speaking, try not to broadcast what you are doing, but rather use communication tools to make yourself heard and be a team leader.

2 components impact how high performance is achieved in an organization:

  • High emotional intelligence (EI)
  • High knowledge and education

Without EI, individuals will likely fall short of achieving their full potential and impact in an organization.

According to the World Economic Forum, 66% of workers globally show low emotional intelligence.

That is the business equivalent of a ‘red flag’ going up.

By building a strong emotional intelligence program, you increase an individual’s ability to solve complex problems and obtain more complex work.

This also means that you increase your employees’ overall engagement, and engagement leads to growth.

Executives must embrace the importance of developing EI in their employees.

The future of the workforce will revolve around knowledge. Our organizations and the world will be increasingly dependent on critical thinking, decision making, and collaboration.

There is a massive disconnect between what is being taught in classrooms and what is actually needed by our economy.

It is absolutely critical that we change the way we approach education and eliminate any old school or inefficient methodology that keeps employees and managers from competing for jobs.

This is no longer a matter of education. It is now a matter of evolving human capital.