How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence—Brought to you just in time for those holiday visits with the in-laws

You can’t change your IQ but you can increase your EQ in the workplace. Improving your EQ isn’t just a valuable asset to your professional career, it can also come in handy during the upcoming holiday season when you reunite with family over the long weekend.

Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is defined by the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. According to Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis of the Harvard Business Review, there are four domains (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management), and 12 competencies of emotional intelligence (emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, positive outlook, empathy, organizational awareness, influence, coach and mentor, conflict management, teamwork, and inspirational leadership) that you can master or work on.

Having a well-balanced array of EQ capabilities can include obvious traits like empathy, a positive outlook, and self-control, but it can also prepare a leader for tough challenges, like driving change, exerting influence, and giving difficult feedback to employees.

To improve your emotional intelligence, start practicing these tasks today.

Self and Social-Awareness

Ask yourself “why”

The EQ competency of empathy rests on the question “Why?” “Why does this person feel that way?” “Why do I view the subject differently?”

“Why” questions seek to understand the point of view of others and also where your own emotions stem from. This boosts emotional self-awareness and empathy competencies.

Self-Management

Take a mental and emotional “pause” whenever possible

Our emotions often affect our judgment, and once a judgment is made, it can be difficult to change. In order to change the way we feel about a situation, we must first change the way we think about it.

When you feel a situation escalating, pause for a moment to assess your emotions before responding or making a judgment. This can also be a mental pause when you are thinking through a situation alone.

For example, if someone cuts you off when you are driving, instead of thinking that person is rude and retaliating in kind—take stock. Maybe the person did not see you because you were in their blind spot or they were in hurry because of a medical emergency.

Taking stock helps to reduce negative emotions, encourage a positive outlook, and develop self-control competencies.

Relationship Management

Listen and ask, don’t tell

The Harvard Business Review notes several studies that have found a strong association between EQ and driving change and visionary leadership.

Listening shows people you value them and what they have to say. The same is true of asking rather than telling. A recent Inc. article on boosting people skills explains, “When we ask people, we show them respect; it also changes the tone in which we ask. When we tell people, it’s much more like a command, and no one wants to be commanded.”

This positions you as a mentor and inspirational leader and encourages teamwork.

Still need help working on your EQ? Check out our Emotional Intelligence Speakers.


The content writers at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau are Experts on the Experts. They hold doctoral, masters, and bachelors’ degrees in business, writing, literature, and education. Their business thought pieces are published regularly in leading business publications. Working in close association with the top business, entrepreneur, and motivational speakers, BigSpeak content writers are at the forefront of industry trends and research.