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How to improve our emotional intelligence for better business relationships

English version reviewed by Nev Taylor. This article was published in French on joHdi. Original title: “Comment améliorer notre intelligence émotionnelle pour de meilleures relations professionnelles”.


We know that people with emotional intelligence are more successful.

Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that can be trained.

There are several avenues that we can following order to learn how to recognise and manage our emotions.

  • how to put ourselves in other people's shoes

  • how we can understand their emotions

  • how to react optimistically. even under stress or in the event of conflict

  • how to convince others by communicating our ideas, objectives and intentions

  • how, if we manage to gain the trust of others, we will be able to influence and motivate them.

These initiatives in turn will improve the working environment and the whole performance of the company.

Emotional intelligence

The various capabilities

According to Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence consists of four capabilities:

  • self-awareness, of what we feel and why we feel it, which allows us to have a good intuition and to make the right decisions

  • self-management, which allows us to manage difficult emotions, so that they do not hinder our actions, but allow us to move forward learning from them

  • empathy, understanding how others feel

  • and finally, these three axes grouped together, which allow us to manage our relationships with others.

Every emotion has a function and an origin.

Consequently, we need to know, understand and manage these emotions :

  • why do I get angry?

  • how can I manage it in order to maintain good relationships with others?

It is important to understand where this anger comes from — for example, is it from my childhood or from some other situation that I have experienced? Knowing this is what will enable me to understand it and manage it.

In general, women manage empathy better and have better social skills, while men have more self-confidence and better painful emotions management. So, let us try to improve other aspects of our emotional intelligence.

How to improve

To improve our emotional intelligence, we must be able to use our emotions constructively and not lose control as soon as a negative emotion overwhelms us. We must therefore use an emotion as information that gives us indications about ourselves and our relationship with others. This will enable us to control our reactions, and then to make choices, take initiatives and adapt to changing situations, so that we keep working on and achieving our goal.

Being aware of our emotions is crucial.

Obviously, it is easier for some of us than for others and this can be for many reasons but especially depending on the way we were educated. If our parents have taught us to understand how we feel and how to express those feelings we have a better chance of being able to deal with them better. Giving a name to an emotion helps us understanding it and not being overwhelmed. We will then be able to understand the emotion and accept it without judgment and give us the ability to control our reactions.

Social awareness is equally important as it allows us to recognise the emotions of others in our communication. To do this, we need to be present in the moments of exchange, and not on our computer or mobile phone. The emotions of others provoke emotions in us, and being aware of each other, keeping them in mind during the exchange, allows us to learn and move forward.

Managing relationships with others requires us to use awareness of our own and others’ emotions and to develop the relationship using this awareness.

For example, in the event of conflict, if we understand what we feel and understand what the other feels, we have a better chance of finding a compromise to make everyone feel better. Whereas if we let our negative reactions burst out, no solution will come out of the exchange, and the relationship with the other will deteriorate. In the next interaction, the exchange may start on a negative note because of the memory of the unmanaged conflict.

There is no miracle solution to manage one’s emotions, especially when they are strong or painful, but a note of humour can help us release tension, laughter will improve the relationship. We need to learn to see the conflicts and disagreements, which are inevitable between people, in order to get closer to others, even if our opinions, needs and expectations are different. Resolving conflict in a constructive and healthy way will strengthen trust in each other. The conflict will then no longer be perceived as a threat, but its resolution will transform it into a cement that will strengthen the relationship.

A good manager

Often, leaders are people who have learned to strengthen their interpersonal skills, to manage their exchanges with colleagues, clients, and generally with others parties.

A good manager needs both skills and emotional management in order to perform well and be well perceived by his or her colleagues.

He needs to be able to understand how his teams feel and must be entrusted by his subordinates and colleagues. However, he must also manage conflicts with empathy and be able to influence and coach his teams, while maintaining a good team spirit and inspiring confidence as a leader. He still needs to maintain organisational awareness and stay focused on his objectives as well as those of his team and those of the company.

Conclusion

Employees with this emotional intelligence are better perceived by others and more effective.

Good emotional intelligence will allow us to collaborate effectively with others and to manage all kinds of situations. Recognising and accepting our emotions enables us to manage them.

Melanie Blaser

Reading: Daniel Goleman “Emotional Intelligence”.


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