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This Is What Will Happen When You Become Emotionally Intelligent

This Is What Will Happen When You Become Emotionally Intelligent

The head and the heart combine to create emotional intelligence. You want to have emotionally intelligent people on your team. They have the ability to navigate through sticky emotional waters. If you were drowning in emotion, you would want an emotionally intelligent person as your proverbial lifeguard.

Emotion Intelligence (EQ) is not a new concept. Two psychologists – Jack Mayer, Ph.D. of the University of New Hampshire and Peter Salovey, Ph.D. of Yale University were the first to coin the term in 1989.

The Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto explains:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).

Daniel Goleman is the new father of EQ. His book Emotional Intelligence explains how emotionally intelligent people are really good at handling themselves and relationships.

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Here’s what happens when you become Emotionally Intelligent:

Emotionally Intelligent

    1. You will use your head and heart to solve problems.

    Emotional Intelligence isn’t the triumph of heart over head, it’s the combination of the two. Emotional intelligent people are able to use and regulate emotions in order to solve problems. Some would even argue that EQ is now more important that IQ. Being smart does not necessarily translate into success.

    2. You will have self-awareness when you’re emotionally Intelligent.

    Self-awareness is knowing what you’re feeling, and why you’re feeling that way. It’s about being switched on to what’s going on during an emotional situation. Knowing where feelings are coming from, and helping to figure out how to work through them is an important part of behaving in an emotionally intelligent manner. When we’re upset or overwhelmed for unforeseen reasons, it makes it more challenging to overcome the problem — it’s like going somewhere new without a map.

    3. You will have strong self-management skills.

    Self-management in emotionally intelligent people refers to the ability to regulate emotions. It’s knowing when being emotional is resourceful and when it can be harmful. Some of us wear our heart on our sleeves, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but you’re far more likely to get burned out if you always operate in this way. Some situations call for a big, sobbing cry and other times it’s best to keep it to yourself. Having strong self-management skills is knowing the time and place for emotions.

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    4. You will be a good leader.

    Leaders who don’t lead with their heart are rigid. Daniel Goleman explains:

    The CEO of one of the world’s largest money management firms was puzzled. He wanted to know why there was a Bell curve for performance among his employees, with a few outstanding, most in the middle, and a few poor. After all, he hired only the best and brightest graduates from the top schools – shouldn’t they all be outstanding?

    That same puzzle was explored in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller David and Goliath, which I recently read. Malcolm was befuddled by the finding that many of those in the mid to low achievement spectrum of Ivy League schools did not turn out to be world leaders – despite their SAT scores being higher than even the best students at the so-so colleges, who fared better.

    Gladwell and that CEO share a certain muddle in their reasoning: they assumed that academic abilities should predict how well we do in life. They don’t.

    5. You will be empathetic.

    Empathy is your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Having empathy as an emotionally intelligent person allows you to step outside of yourself and see another person’s perspective. Psychcentral.com says that empathy is a skill that is learned.

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    By the time a child is about 4 years old, he begins to associate his emotions with the feelings of others.

    Empathy is learned through interactions and play when we are young. Dr Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute of Play, was a young professor of psychiatry at Baylor University in Texas when he overheard a live radio broadcast of gunshots occurring during the Charles Whitman massacre in 1966. He was studying aggression and was told by his boss to begin researching why Whitman committed this heinous crime.

    Brown and his team reconstructed Whitman’s life in great detail and over the course of his research Brown became fascinated with the importance of play and the overwhelming connection of lack of play across several other young homicidal men. They all had dysfunctional childhoods, histories of abuse, and/or exposure to abuse, and/or overbearing fathers/ carers.

    6. You will have impressive social skills.

    Having impressive social skills as an emotionally intelligent person isn’t all about being extroverted. Understanding your audience and your environment takes great skill when navigating a social setting. Possessing qualities of an ambivert will allow you to assess the situation and call on the necessary approach to achieve social success. Through acting like an ambivert, you’ll be a great communicator, be good at conflict resolution and work well in a team. Knowing who you’re interacting with and what their needs are shows acceptance and respect, allowing you to make lots of friends and influence people.

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    Emotionally Intelligent

      7. You will be gritty.

      Grit is a relatively new concept researched by Angela Lee Duckworth. She explains in her TED Talk that IQ no longer measures success in students; it’s grit.

      Grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective.

      Watch her talk here: The key to success? Grit.

      Forbes.com describes the five characteristics of grit as courage, contentiousness, resilience, follow-through and excellence.

      8. You will be resilient.

      Resilience is our ability to bounce back from hard times. It doesn’t mean turning your cheek to challenging times, it means embracing difficult emotions and using them as an opportunity to grow. Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, explains the difference between Post Traumatic Stress and Post Traumatic Growth in this Harvard Business Review podcast.

      Take a free EQ Quiz here!

      Featured photo credit: 08 — Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: What You Need — Some of the Icons for Anthony Iannarino’s New Book via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on October 22, 2020

      8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

      8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

      How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

      Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

      When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

      Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

      What Makes People Poor Listeners?

      Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

      1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

      Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

      Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

      It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

      2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

      This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

      Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

      3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

      It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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      I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

      If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

      4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

      While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

      To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

      My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

      Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

      Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

      How To Be a Better Listener

      For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

      1. Pay Attention

      A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

      According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

      As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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      I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

      2. Use Positive Body Language

      You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

      A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

      People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

      But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

      According to Alan Gurney,[2]

      “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

      Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

      3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

      I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

      Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

      Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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      Be polite and wait your turn!

      4. Ask Questions

      Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

      5. Just Listen

      This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

      I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

      I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

      6. Remember and Follow Up

      Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

      For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

      According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

      It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

      7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

      If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

      Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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      Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

      Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

      NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

      1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
      2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

      8. Maintain Eye Contact

      When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

      Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

      By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

      Final Thoughts

      Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

      You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

      And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

      More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
      [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
      [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
      [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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