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Improving emotional intelligence

emotional intelligence total balance

One of the best speakers at the recent Positive Pscyhology conference was Martyn Newman. He is a charismatic man to begin with and his use of interesting content, relevant anecdotes and just a little bit of humour made his talk truly captivating.

Martyn spoke about emotional intelligence. In his book ‘Emotional Capitalists’ he highlights a range of different areas that are the key success factors in developing emotional intelligence. These factors are often considered more important that IQ in determining success. Here’s a snapshot of them.

1. Self Awareness

The ability to understand your feelings and emotions and the ability to communicate these effectively. Being self aware also means that you have the ability to recognise how your actions impact others.

2. Self Management

Self management is about having the capacity for self control and restraint where necessary as well as being able to plan independently and carry through with your actions. It’s also about self confidence – being able to accept and respect the person you are.

3. Social Awareness

This is largely about empathy – having the ability to tune into the experience of others. Having a good degree of self awareness helps with this.

4. Social Skills

This one speaks for itself. In a nutshell it’s about the ability to get along with others.

5. Adaptability

Martyn suggests that adaptability means that you’re flexible enough to adjust to new situations and challenges but that you also have the capacity for self-actualisation and optimism.

You can build on your emotional intelligence. There are lots of tips in Martyn’s book but here are a few from me that will get you started.

  • Learn about your strengths so that you can become more aware of where you are naturally most at ease. Take the free Authentic Happiness VIA Character Strengths survey.
  • Pay attention to the things (and the people) that naturally irritate you. Count to ten before responding in challenging situations so that you give yourself time to think about whether your response is going to inflame a situation or help you get you the results you’re after.
  • Take some time to write down your ‘thirty day goals’ and make a point of taking action around each of those goals within the next twenty four hours.
  • Pay attention to the voice of your inner critic and challenge it from time to time. Make a point of noticing what you’re doing well rather than always being hard on yourself.
  • Get out and practise being in new social settings. Do some preparation work around small talk topics if you’re not a natural at this. Read the newspaper to find out what’s going on around the world, learn about which sporting events are currently being staged or see a film/play/band that you wouldn’t otherwise see to give you something new to talk about.
Posted in: Mindfulness
Kate James

I'm Kate James and the owner of Total Balance. I work with people who care about living purposeful, creative lives. My clients want to clarify their personal values, identify their strengths and learn about how they can make a difference in the world in their own unique way.

I run workshops and retreats in Melbourne and Byron Bay to give you the chance to escape the noise of everyday to discover what really matters to you.