Psychology Today defines Emotional Intelligence as the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Furthermore, people with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they’re feeling, what their emotions mean, and how these emotions can affect other people. According to Daniel Goleman, author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, there are five characteristics of Emotional Intelligence.

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions. People who have good self-awareness are generally self-confident and are realistic.

How to improve: Take a good and honest look at your strengths and weaknesses. Reflect on how you manage your emotions and how these emotions affect your behaviors and actions.

2. Self-regulation

Self-regulation is all about staying in control of your emotions.

How to improve: Observe how quickly or slowly you react to negative emotions and situations. Practice waiting out the high emotions before making any major decisions. Turn your complaints and negative emotions into action planning and suggestions to better the situation.

3. Motivation

Self-motivation is about your drive, commitment to achieve, initiative, and optimism in the face of challenges.

How to improve: Practice being optimistic. Set goals for yourself and always identify the ‘why’ in whatever you do.

4. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to recognize how people feel. Being empathetic also refers to your ability to understand dynamics that influence relationships, understanding who is in power in a relationship and how that influences behaviors of the people involved.

How to improve: Consciously be more aware of the other person’s point of view. Focus on the fact (what happened) and the feeling it caused the other person.

5. Social skills

Social skills refer you’re your ability to communicate. It involves learning how to listen to both verbal and non-verbal cues, receiving feedback and being able to persuade others.

How to improve: Listen to understand and not always to react. Most of the time, while we listen, we are already formulating our answers or reaction. Stop, and listen first to understand. Learn the art conflict management. Be open to feedback and appreciate and positively act on the feedback given to you.

No matter the situation, your Emotional Intelligence will always play a big part in the outcome. Always examine how your actions will affect others. Harness your emotions and learn to control and manage them whether in the workplace or your personal life.

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