Last year, a Forbes article attempted to scare us by stating that 45% of existing jobs could be taken over by robots.
I say “attempted” because I can’t believe it will be that bad. More tasks will be automated in the future, but the collective added-value of the human side of work can’t be outsmarted by a machine.
What does mean for you in the day-to-day?
Handling your personal feelings is no longer a challenge. It’s part of the job.
Look for your own guide to emotional intelligence. Yes, it’s a necessary step in your personal development if you aspire to a happier and more successful professional life. This is what it takes to build positive relationships with others. This is how you make impactful decisions – even in times of conflict. And the list goes on.
Ready to invest time in your emotional education?
Here’s the minimalist guide to emotional intelligence. This first part will show you how to develop your inner qualities.
Get curious about emotions: self-awareness
In the “Hi, I’m Coralie” section on the homepage of my website, the text reads: “before you lead others, you need to lead yourself“.
An emotionally intelligent leader develops curiosity about her own emotions. Your emotional triggers are the best guide to emotional intelligence. As you get familiar with them, you won’t let emotions dictate how you appear in a situation. By reflecting on how you act, you begin to optimise your performance.
The minimalist guide to emotional intelligence: self-awareness
Get curious about how your emotions flow throughout your day. If you can’t control emotions (unless you’re a zen master) you can control your actions. What is the narrative between facts and your emotional state?
1. Identify your emotional strengths and weaknesses
We can’t be emotionally good at everything (and that’s ok). What matters is to know what emotions can help you move the needle and which ones are destructive to your relationships.
Trigger situations are always a good guide for emotional intelligence: by examining the associated thoughts, you can adapt to anything.
Journaling is a fantastic tool – I can’t recommend it enough. Write down what’s going on. Get it out of your system.
First, you’re less likely to hold on to negative emotions. Second, it gives you space to reflect on the emotions that drove you to behave as you did.
Why did you have to alleviate stress onto others? Was your cup full? If yes, why?
Self-awareness is decisive for your own growth because it breeds self-confidence. Do you instinctively feel the difference between someone faking confidence and someone who has genuine self-trust? Who would you trust?
Discover how to get the confidence to lead others and become an influential leader. In 3 practical steps: download my FREE ebook here.
Deal with your emotions: self-regulation
I’m going to tell you a secret: I know quite a few people who can remain calm and collected whatever the situation. And I admire them. I’m always impressed by the quality of conversations and decisions that come out of those situations.
Self-regulation is the ability to see when you’re on the edge of reaction and decide to keep emotions in check. Could a better guide to emotional intelligence exist?
Sure, it requires the flexibility to control your ego and see an alternative path. It demands a great awareness of your personal ethics, knowing what you stand for but keeping your word with diplomacy. And more than anything, it requires you to learn to balance your emotional state
The minimalist guide to emotional intelligence: self-regulation
Observe your behaviour patterns when under stress. Then, spot your default response. Was it shut down, anger? Something else? Careful self-observation is another great guide to emotional intelligence because it forces you stop your default reaction cycle.
1. Pause, breathe and be mindful
It could take only one word to send you “out there” and as much as 10 minutes to come back to your normal state. It’s chemistry, never forget it.
I prepared a complete post about how to respond and not react, so I invite you to read it.
2. Let go of the need to be right
It’s the hardest thing to do for any human being! But it could be the price to pay to protect a relationship.
Self-regulation is a little like poker: you need to choose when to play your hand… or wisely fold because the odds are against you. A little ego twist is a small thing compared to sabotaging your career.
3. Keep your sense of humour
Remember attitude is everything. Making people smile can save a desperate situation.
Impulse control can guide you to emotional intelligence faster than anything else. Your mind is not clouded by the emotional state of the situation.
As a result, you get consistent in words, actions and attitude. Your decisions are sharp. Your ideas are clear. And your relationships are strong.
Know what drives you: motivation
A strong sense of responsibility is one of the trademarks of emotionally intelligent leaders.
Why would emotional intelligence give you access to the inner resources to take initiative?
All your inner work invites you to explore what drives you. Then, you’ll get curious about what drives others. Suddenly, not only are you your own guide to emotional intelligence, you become one for others too.
The minimalist guide to emotional intelligence: motivation
You don’t “get better” at motivation. You understand what elements and values move you forward.
1. Understand your inner motivation drivers (things you do for their own sake)
Why do you do what you? Is it that sense of freedom? Is it because it represents a personal challenge or inspires you to be a better person? Or because it gets you in a state of flow?
Exploring curiosity, challenging your beliefs, exploring your distractions and how they affect your performance are great ways to know more about your inner motivation.
2. Understand your outer motivation drivers (things you do to gain a reward or avoid punishment)
Be honest. Is it because it brings money, reputation or social acceptance? Now, give it a second thought. Is that the only reason? Could it be that there are inner motivation drivers for it? What about the social aspects? Are connection or collaboration completely out of the equation?
Personal drive is a great guide to emotional intelligence. It’s a statement of the standards you set for yourself. By showing initiative, you emulate a strong desire to succeed. And you’re likely to inspire others do the same!
Understand and share others’ feelings : empathy
I believe no leader can succeed without empathy. Empathy is what makes you bond with your team. It’s how others perceive you as a trusted person because you listen to them and respond appropriately to what might be a concern.
Of course, empathy is difficult especially if someone annoys you. It’s not about agreeing with others’ point of view, but trying to understand.
You need to learn to let go of judgment. You need to remind yourself that the most effective way to get others to commit is to build a bridge: see from their perspective and meet them halfway. But by far, empathy can guide you to emotional intelligence faster than anything else.
The minimalist guide to emotional intelligence: empathy
1. Share your failures
Storytelling is one of the most efficient ways humans have found to connect to one another. When you share what went wrong, you put yourself in a position of openness.
2. Respond to feelings
Some feelings are obvious. So you don’t risk much of a mistake by acknowledging them! If the team works late, you can tell them you hear their frustration – you’re all in the same boat after all! By doing so, you shift the balance of power. You move conversations and relations to a deeper place.
3. What’s going on under the surface that influences what others say or do?
One of the 10 commandments of emotional intelligence is to reflect on what could be the drivers for the people you lead to act as they do. Are they emotional because of something else other than another frustrating meeting? How could you avoid to trigger escalation? How can you help them go back to a more balanced place?
Empathy is the starting point for you to put others first. It’s how you move from manager to leader with a sense of service; ultimately one who can step back so that others can step up.
Apply EI for real: social skills 101
Emotional intelligence can’t happen without good social skills. If there’s one thing that will be your guide to emotional intelligence, believe me, it is the social element. It’s the ultimate test: working on yourself makes full sense when it passes the test of a difficult time in a relationship.
The ability to manage relationships positively fosters collaboration. But this spans through a wide range of crucial communication skills you need to master.
The minimalist guide to emotional intelligence: social skills
1. Learn conflict resolution
Any outstanding leader can resolve conflicts between team members, sponsors or even customers.
Can you let words be the guide to emotional intelligence for all parties around the table? Can you ask questions to keep the conversation focused on facts? Can you make sure participants stay away from negative talk when you look for common ground?
2. Improve your communication skills
There’s a golden rule to remember: clear, concise and open. A good conversation empowers others to solve problems or express creative ideas.
For a detailed guide on communication, look at this in-depth post: upgrade your conversation skills – in 5 minutes
You’re 3 steps away from speaking up your ideas and being a confident leader. Download my FREE e-book to discover how to communicate for impact and lead through trust.
3. Praise others
As humans, we crave positive appreciation and gratitude. We’re just wired for it, as it answers our need for socialisation. Praise inspires loyalty and sends positive energy towards team members as you focus on the good. Be honest and brief, and speak from heart.
4. Give helpful feedback
All leaders dread the feedback conversation. When done badly, you will only succeed in hurting others feelings!
But if positive, constructive feedback is a powerful tool to empower your team members to move past their limitations. One trick? Let your team member solve the problem first and offer feedback in a timely way.
5. Say you’re sorry
It takes strength to be able to say you’re sorry. But doing so with honesty demonstrates humility.
Being sorry is to be vulnerable. That’s a quality that will naturally draw others to you. And a guide to emotional intelligence on steroids! Never forget that being right or wrong is an ego problem. Making an intelligent move to protect a relationship is wisdom in action.
Simple habits can act as your guide to emotional intelligence for yourself and train your team to be emotionally intelligent
Emotional Intelligence can unlock your intelligence potential and help you use it in the right way as you interact with others. So whether you are a leader or a team member, get that set of skills underneath your belt… and outsmart the machines!