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How To Assess And Boost Your Emotional EQ

Written by: Eleanor Oliver-Edmonds, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Having a keen sense of your emotional intelligence (EQ) can help you strengthen relationships and cultivate traits necessary to be an empathetic leader. What can you do to assess and get a baseline of your EQ (emotional quotient)? The leadership development group I belong to presented an intriguing challenge to the members: monitor and journal our emotions over a two-week period. The objective was to better understand the impact of emotional intelligence through a heightened sense of self-awareness.

I went into the challenge feeling confident I would emerge with validation that I have a healthy EQ. During the two-week period my mettle was tested as project deadlines shifted to accelerated schedules which required longer working days. This cascaded into my personal life and created the perfect storm of relationship conflict, stress, and mental fatigue. Thanks to this untimely (or timely) imbalance, my masterclass in emotional intelligence had begun.


Why is emotional intelligence considered a valuable skill to possess? Having the ability to be self-aware of your emotions, and being able to effectively manage and regulate them, can be the hallmark characteristic of a thoughtful leader.


During the two-week introspection and journaling exercise, my observations revealed eye-opening patterns as to how I defaulted when feeling extremely stressed. The journal process provided a detached 360-degree perspective, which allowed me to become acutely aware of how my emotions and behavior could be perceived by the people around me.


Once aware of how conflicts, challenges and stressful events affected my emotions, the key was to course-correct and apply these insights in a meaningful way to create the improvements I wanted to achieve when interacting with others. Following the two-week challenge, I refined my learnings and put them into practice.


By implementing these 4 key strategies, you will become more cognizant of the FLOW of your emotions will help you boost your leadership EQ so you can show up as the best version of yourself regardless of the situation.


Here are 4 key strategies to help you boost your leadership EQ


1. FOCUS on Your Emotions


When faced with a stressful situation, take a beat. Tune in and focus on your emotions; pay close attention to your thoughts. Ask yourself what is it that you’re reacting to: is it what was said, how it was stated and why is this affecting you? Next, question whether your knee-jerk, go-to response will help or hinder the situation? As you focus and reflect on your emotions, allow yourself to create some distance and see the situation from a 360 degree perspective. In this moment, become aware of not only what you’re feeling, but how you perceive others in your environment may be reacting as well. During this introspective moment, ground yourself by asking, what is the desired outcome you want AND what you believe the other person wants. Identify behavioral modifications you can integrate so you can show up better. The goal of this exercise is to assess; be objective, not brutal.


2. LISTEN to Comprehend


Does your communication diffuse the conflict? What patterns, if any, can you identify in your behavior, tone and communication style? How are others responding to what you're saying (or lack thereof)? Become mindful of how your words are landing, learning to read the room will go a long way as you develop this skill.


Many individuals speak to be heard and underestimate the value of being an engaged, active listener. Research shows the average person listens with 25% efficiency. When you listen to comprehend, and not merely for your turn to speak, you will begin to see a positive shift in your relationships. Combine this skill with well-directed questions and conflicts will resolve themselves. When in doubt, ask the other person to reiterate what they said and then repeat it back so you are both clear with what’s being communicated. Empathetic leaders know for team members to feel valued and it’s important they feel heard and understood.


3. OBSERVE Your Environment


Once again, read the room. Pay attention to changes in body language as you speak, this includes yours and the person to whom your speaking. When communicating over the phone, listen for long pauses in the conversation, heavy sighs or a dramatic shift in someone’s tone. This may be an indication the person on the other end feels attacked or misunderstood; they may have withdrawn from the conversation. Use this as an opportunity to ask if they are okay, or do they need clarification. The game-changer here is to use curiosity purposefully and with integrity. This will elevate your relationships to the next level.


When observing yourself, note how your mannerisms change when you're exhausted, stressed, frustrated or fatigued. Is your vocal tone and body language in alignment? Are you sending mixed signals with your words and mannerisms? If you’re frustrated or fatigued consider how you would like others in your environment to show up and support you. Offer space for people to cope with their emotions during challenging situations; for some it may be difficult to ask for this and a welcome relief when it’s offered. By the same token, ask for space if that’s what you need.


4. Wins from Losses

Savvy leaders possess the ability to mine lessons in losses. They think I'm terms “we,” not “me” or “you,” and look for opportunities to create favorable solutions for all parties when possible. Additionally, empathetic leaders work from an elevated perspective which allows them to see the big picture and how foreseeable events may adversely impact others.


As the late great Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” Make a commitment to deep dive into self-reflection and document your emotional responses and reactions for two weeks. On day 1, assess how you perceive your current EQ on a scale of one to five (one being the lowest ranking and 5 being the highest). Assess yourself again at the end. Note patterns, strengths and opportunities for improvement. Implement positive behavioral modifications and you will likely see an immediate boost to your emotional EQ.


By managing your emotional intelligence, you can better understand how your behavior impacts others and how to self-regulate accordingly. Over time and continued practice, having this FLOW technique in your tool box will help you become a highly effective communicator and leader who creates a culture that promotes empathy, integrity and trust.


Ready to take the two-week challenge and boost your leadership EQ? Contact Us to receive your downloadable EQ Tracker Worksheet.

For more info, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit my website!


 

Eleanor Oliver-Edmonds, Brainz Magazine Executive Contributor

Elle (Eleanor) Oliver-Edmonds is a writer, speaker, and certified virtual coach. She pivoted from her advertising/marketing career as a creative strategist crafting consumer-directed messaging for top household brands and applied her creative problem-solving expertise to coaching individuals.


She’s the founder and creator of the S.H.I.F.T. Factor, an online transformational space where Elle empowers women over 40 to reconnect with their dreams, overcome barriers, and strategize a path to success. The five-part inside-out process is based on the guiding principles, tools, and resources Elle successfully used to reimagine and redesign her own life after losing of job, marriage, home, and business.


She now lives a life where every day looks like a vacation. She relocated from hectic city life in Los Angeles to the Palm Desert area where she lives with her husband and is affectionately referred to as “Coach Elle in Coachella” by her clients. Elle is the proud mom of two entrepreneurs who inspire her to follow her passion of living with intention and creating a ripple effect.

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