THE BLOG
01/16/2015 12:06 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2015

3 Critical Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

With the discovery of Emotional Intelligence (EI), we now know that your professional success is as much predicated upon your emotional intelligence (and some would even argue more so) than your IQ.

Your emotional intelligence is at the core of many, if not all critical "soft skills" that influence most of your interactions and behaviors on a daily basis. Research demonstrates
people with a high EI earn approximately $25,000-$30,000 more annually than those with a lower degree of emotional intelligence; with this correlation between high EI and increased earnings permeating all professions - at every level - consistently in every country. This amazing finding provides an incredible incentive for increasing your emotional intelligence.

Following are 3 critical ways to increase your Emotional Intelligence

1. Increase Self-Awareness through any means possible. Self-awareness precludes self-improvement. High achievers are constantly seeking personal and professional growth. Those with a high emotional intelligence are lifelong learners, open to new ideas, opinions and experiences. Additionally, gaining knowledge and insight into one's limitations are not viewed as shortcomings for people with a high EI, rather they are seen as opportunities for self-growth and reaching outside one's comfort zone. Executive coaching, yoga, meditation, therapy, emotional intelligence workshops and seminars are all vehicles whereby one may increase their self-awareness, thereby increasing their EI.
2. Acknowledge and Manage your Emotions. People with high emotional intelligence acknowledge and manage their emotions, as opposed to being reactive. The more volatile and emotionally charged a situation is, the more imperative it is to keeps one's cool. During emotionally charged and high tense situations, people with high EI are able to process information in a timely manner and then respond in an appropriate way. They have the ability to diffuse anger by listening to and recognizing the feelings of others - even when they disagree with them. Listening to others promotes good will among workers, since research consistently demonstrates we all have a strong desire (and need) to be heard.
3. Demonstrate an authentic and genuine interest in people. People with a high EI make it a point to learn the names and something personal about the people they interact with at work, i.e. spouse's name, kids names and ages, hobbies, interests outside of work etc. This effort fosters a positive feeling among colleagues because it shows that you care about them as a person, not just a colleague. This connection is invaluable when you need a professional favor or help with a project that requires people to go above and beyond the call of duty. Since you have gone out of your way to sincerely get to know your colleagues, and connect with them on a human level, most people will be more than happy to go out of their way to help you.
In the final analysis, all business is about people - and is run by people. Increasing your Emotional Intelligence will help you connect with the core of your business.

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