Emotional intelligence affects how people connect, communicate and collaborate with others. By focusing on these key ‘soft skills’ we can improve our relationships, accelerate our performance and become better leaders.
In the words of international leaders in emotional intelligence, Genos International. “Essentially people with higher levels of emotional intelligence tend to perform better, have less days off per year, report higher levels of employee engagement and aren’t as likely to leave or turnover (either voluntarily or involuntarily).”
There are six key components to emotional intelligence based on the Genos model as follows:
- Emotional Self-Awareness
- Emotional Awareness of Others
- Emotional Reasoning
- Emotional Self-Management
- Positive Influence
In this blog post, I want to take a close look at the first of these: emotional self-awareness.
We’ll be looking at what emotional self-awareness is, how it can affect your work performance and how you can develop and nurture your skills.
What is emotional self-awareness?
When you are emotionally self-aware, you are in touch with your true feelings, you understand your emotions and you acknowledge the role that they play in different aspects of your life.
This includes how you perform as a leader, whether you can fulfil your career potential and how effectively you interact with others in all aspects of your life.
With better emotional self-awareness, you are clear on your strengths, your limitations and your vision and you can operate with greater confidence in the world. You will be better positioned to drive your organisation forward and motivate others to succeed and of course, you will form healthier relationships with those around you.
Emotional self-awareness in the workplace
Many effective leaders believe that they are already emotionally self-aware. They understand their feelings and notice when it shapes their behaviour. They get annoyed about a particular customer or unresolved situation with a project and they can see that their emotions change how they feel, how they react and how successfully the situation is resolved. But this is not always true, especially when a situation is emotionally charged.
Often, it’s our colleagues who notice when we are not performing to the best of our abilities and that we could make improvements to our understanding and our communication skills.
For example, we’ve all had a colleague who acts like a bully at times. They may be extremely talented at what they do, whether that’s creating outstanding architectural projects for clients, running a hectic tourism business or even conducting an orchestra. But they don’t listen to the requirements of their customers or clients, preferring to do things ‘their way’, even if this doesn’t make logical business sense.
It’s even worse when they slept badly or has had a fight with their partner. The whole team suffers the entire day and it’s impossible to function productively and effectively.
Perhaps you’ve done this too. You’ve received an angry or confrontational email at work and you’ve snapped and only made the situation worse. Or you’ve somehow managed to hold back and keep control of your emotions.
How can you increase your emotional self-awareness?
The good news is that we can fix this. We don’t have to react in this way to the dynamics of the world inside or around us.
If we are willing to look deeper and take our time, we can develop greater self-awareness so we can become more mindful of our interactions and work towards fulfilling our potential.
Here are some ways you can do this;
1. Check in with yourself often
Take time throughout the day to tune in to your emotional state. Ask yourself how you are feeling. Also, listen to what your body is telling you.
For example, you might be holding tension in your face, clenching up your jaw or hunching up your shoulders. A quick release of the tension held in your body will help you reset and feel good.
2. Give your emotions a name
Naming the emotion that you are experiencing can help you to accept and understand where it’s coming from. This makes it easier to manage your feelings and respond with clarity. learn to expand your emotional vocabulary by referring to a feelings list.
Before you act on an emotion that you are experiencing, take a few moments to sit and think. Don’t hit send on that email or lash out angrily, breathe, relax, and take your time before you respond.
4. Look for your ‘why’
By understanding why you have reacted in a certain way to an event or situation, you can often find a more effective solution that achieves better results. Again, pause, take your time, and only then react.
5. Ask for feedback
When you interact with people, ask them for feedback. Ask what you can do more of in order to make things better next time. What can you do less of? By doing so, you can continually become more emotionally self-aware and provide an optimal response.
6. Be patient
Understand that you will never be perfect. You can never be entirely emotionally self-aware or control your responses to situations and other people in the way that you desire. Remember that it’s a journey towards self-improvement and step by step, you will get closer to your desired goal.
7. Get help
If you’d like to give yourself or your team the leading edge and develop your emotional awareness, I can help you with a customised training and coaching package. Together we can perceive, understand and manage our emotions better and boost performance. You may find this business case for Emotional Intelligence useful to get a better understanding of the ROI in this essential soft skill. (LINK TO THE New report in the task list that you are loading for me with the word business case )
Emotional self-awareness is the first component of emotional intelligence, allowing us to connect to ourselves on an emotional level and understand our motivating forces. It also underpins emotional intelligence as a whole, allowing us to develop greater self-awareness and become strong, more effective leaders.
Lisa Evans helps professionals to develop the soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Lisa is a certified business coach and experienced and accredited trainer, and a professional speaker. Lisa is a GENOS Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, which means she is certified to deliver the GENOS range of Emotional Intelligence Workshops and Developmental Assessments.
She has coached over a thousand leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales, and not-for-profit and community associations.
If you’d like to chat about how Lisa can help your team excel with the right soft skills, please contact us.
Soft Skills Training Workshops include:
The Emotionally Intelligent Leader includes a GENOS 180° leadership assessment.
The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace
Executive Presence for Leaders
Public Speaking for Leaders
The Leader as Storyteller
Communicate with Influence
Improv Skills for Leaders