With research showing that up to 45% of job success is down to emotional intelligence, the message is clear – if you want to get ahead in business you need to take practical steps to hone your emotional intelligence skills so you can build strong relationships based on shared experiences and trust.
The great news is that emotional intelligence, just like selling, negotiation and other commercial life skills, can be developed over time. So as a highly qualified coach and emotional intelligence expert, Nicole Soames shares 5 steps to help you boost your emotional intelligence in the workplace so you can reach your peak performance:
1. Be Mindful
The first step to harnessing your emotional intelligence is to develop your self-awareness. Being mindful and focusing on the present will allow you to monitor your feelings and emotions so you can gain greater self-knowledge and change your behaviour. It is only by understanding your own feelings and experiences that you can hope to get a clearer insight into those of others.
2. Be curious
People with high levels of emotional intelligence are genuinely curious about others. So take the time to find out what makes ‘others’ tick. A great way to do this is to ask clever questions that will give you greater insight into what’s important to them. Try to reserve judgement; your aim should be to get a deeper understanding of their perspective. This will help make them feel valued. Remember people buy people – so you need to create a balanced relationship by treating the people you interact with as equals.
3. Listen attentively
This may sound obvious but to be emotionally intelligent you need to listen fully. In reality this can be easier said than done. There are three levels of listening; superficial listening -when you’re only pretending to hear what the other person is saying; selective listening – when you’re only hearing the things you want to hear and attentive listening which requires drawing on all of your emotional intelligence skills to listen live in the moment. Listening attentively takes real effort and concentration to read the other party’s body language and tone of voice so you can understand the true meaning behind their words.
4. Find Common Ground
Build on the information you have gathered by asking the right questions and listening attentively to the answers to make a connection and establish any common ground. This will help you create a balanced relationship based on trust, loyalty and shared experiences. You will soon reap the rewards of increased collaboration and teamwork that will drive your commercial performance.
5. Adopt A “Can-Do” Approach
By dialling up your emotional intelligence and being solution-orientated instead of getting stuck in the doldrums when times are hard, you will generate a positive mood that is contagious. This ability to bounce-back from setbacks is what enables emotionally intelligent people to keep their eyes focused on the end goal so they have a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved going forward.
Finally, remember people like doing business with people they like. As with any relationship – both parties are in it for what they can get out of it. So it’s crucial to create wins for the other side. By harnessing your emotional intelligence to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and showing them that you value their perspective, you are more likely to build trust and achieve a win-win situation going forward.