Set of Emotional Tools

Emotional Intelligence (EI) and its state and development in the company has been brought up in Fortaco this year. Fortaco’s top 25 managers were assessed by using the EQ-i2.0 inventory which measures emotional intelligence. As a result, they got the level of their Emotional Quotient (EQ).

Developing EQ is important, as our emotions usually have a major influence on our decision making and actions. Some people are able to make their decisions based more on logic, but generally we can be taken over and directed too much by our emotions, if we are not conscious enough about them.

What might be important to note is that EQ and intuition are not the same thing. Intuition is a very potent and these days recognized tool and gift, but as intuition could be described as feeling – ‘having the gut feeling’ – EQ is more about the understanding – ’thinking’ – of our feelings and learning to process them. Intuition can be disrupted by heavy emotional package, so becoming conscious about our feelings when working with EQ, can also have a beneficial impact on our intuition.

Improved leading

Having a high degree of emotional intelligence is especially important, even essential, for leaders to ensure their team is motivated and efficiently working. At the end, leading is all about communication and getting our points out clear, so that the team is able to understand and trust us. For communication to be effective, the communicator must have some understanding about the listener’s feelings and motives. In a conflict resolution situation, having a high EQ becomes even more relevant.

People with high EQ tend to be successful in many things they do, and this is simply because they are the players people want to have in their team. They are able to make people feel good, and because they understand how other people feel, it allows them to manage relationships more effectively.

Tools to have in your kit

So, what are the tools and ways to reach more success and fulfillment in the area of emotions and understanding them?

1. Developing self-awareness
Self-awareness enables you to understand yourself and your behavior on three levels: 1) what you are doing 2) how you feel about it 3) what you do not yet know about yourself. With developed self-awareness you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and how your emotions and actions affect people around you.

Ways to develop self-awareness are:

  • Journaling – A good way to journal is to write the morning pages, which are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness with no censor. Write them first in the morning, when your mind is not hooked to any activities or information coming from outside of yourself.
  • Slowing down – When experiencing strong emotions, simply slow down, breathe and examine why you are experiencing them, and how to move forward with the emotions.
  • Clarify your values – Every once in a while, (every month, for example) take your time to reflect on what you are doing, and if feeling and thinking are aligned. If they are not, how can you improve the situation? What does really matter to you?

2. Channeling and regulation of our emotions
You are not able to control your emotions and that is not even the purpose – the goal is to control your reaction to them. People who regulate their emotions usually don’t make rushed or emotional decisions, attack other people verbally or compromise their values. There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emotions – only effective or non-effective reactions to them. Emotions are important signals to pay attention to something.

How can you improve your ability to regulate emotions:

  • Know your values – Have a clear idea of where you will not compromise and what values are the most important to you.
  • Hold yourself accountable – Stop blaming others when things go wrong and be committed to admit your mistakes.
  • Have an empathy for yourself – Holding yourself accountable does not mean harshly criticizing yourself when things get heavy. Try to clarify why you are feeling like you do. Even anger is a good emotion if you can point out why you are feeling it and deciding to use it to correct injustices.

3. Motivating ourselves
Motivation is a popular word, but it definitely is not a magic word. The truth is we cannot be motivated all the time. For those times we must find our ways to keep going and show up for ourselves also when we don’t feel like it. With self-motivation we are able to work consistently to reach our goals and keep our standards high.

Some ways to improve motivation are:

  • Re-examine why you are doing what you are doing. Why did you wanted to have that job/ hobby/ routine and make sure you have clear goals regarding it.
  • Adopt an optimistic mindset, so whenever there is a challenge you can find at least one positive thing about the situation.
  • If you don’t feel like anything motivates you, do something. It could be anything from talking to a stranger, to writing a poem. The goal is to immerse your mind in something new and following the flow of it.

4. Recognizing emotions in others, having empathy
People with high empathy are able to put themselves in someone else’s situation. It is especially critical for leaders, and it helps them to develop the people in their team. The point of having emotional intelligence should ultimately be to create healthier relationships, and these relationships begin with recognition and respect of other’s emotional needs.

How to improve empathy:

  • Try being in someone else’s shoes – See other people’s perspectives, try to understand where they stand at.
  • Practice vulnerability – Share yourself honestly with others and take your time to really listen to the other person.
  • Remember the body language – It can be a real asset, especially if you are a leader, to understand your own and other’s body language, because you will be able to better determine how someone truly feels.

5. Directing our emotional energy to our core values
Emotional intelligence is meaningless if you are not aware of your core values. You have to be clear about them, because that is where your emotional energy will be directed. If you understand emotions well, both in yourself and in others, but use that information to manipulate people for your own personal gain, you might want to consider your values and how you show up in the world. Knowing what you value, is probably one of the most emotionally intelligent skills you can develop.

Ways to find out your core values:

  • Think of some of the people you most admire and the values they embody, write a list about these.
  • Identify the times when you were most proud.

6. Learning social skills
Great communication is reached with good social skills, and especially for leaders’ communication skills are crucial. Good social skills enable you to resolve conflicts and sail on the waves of change. Socially skilled people set example by their own behavior, be it at work or in closer relationships.

When improving social skills:

  • Learn to resolve conflicts – You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you must consider everyone’s opinion and sometimes step outside of your own box.
  • Remember or learn to give people positive feedback – People need to know where they have succeeded, and also what you value about them. Be curious about people and their motivations.

Value yourself

Obviously, there is a lot to cover regarding emotional intelligence. While we are all humans with our strengths and weaknesses, try not to compare yourself to any other person on your journey to a higher EQ (if that is your goal). Hold yourself accountable, but don’t aim for perfection, as it does not exist. There are many tools available, many possibilities, but whatever will be used and how it will be used depends also on your openness and willingness. You need to be honest with yourself and give the green light to changes and new ways of working. Most importantly, to try see the changes you are making as a way of respecting and valuing yourself – as a set of tools to enable you to become the higher version of yourself.