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Talking, thinking, practicing: how to focus on emotional intelligence

A an orange drawing of a happy face

Social and emotional intelligence skills are critical to success at work. And life. We live by this here at EITC. And due to a a range of childhood environmental factors, and perhaps some mysteries of nature, some folks have an abundance of emotional intelligence; they have a high EQ. But what about the rest of us? And for that matter, what about those folks who may have a load of social and emotional smarts but have a desire, a drive, to strive for excellence. Faster, higher, stronger.

There is an absence of public discourse about emotional intelligence in our culture.  Tweet This!

Is it possible to improve our EI? This has been a somewhat contentious question for some. But not to me. Not only is it possible, I would argue that we each have a duty to do so! Well, that’s a post, and an argument, for another day. But the question of how to improve our social and emotional intelligence skills is interesting by itself. I was reminded of this question recently by this excellent post by Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic at Harvard Business Review. He writes about the plasticity of the human brain and the process of improving one’s EI. He has a kind of five point analysis and it’s a great article and I recommend it.

I propose my own five point plan, which is a little more concise. We can, each of us, strive for excellence, by getting focused. We can get focused by:

  1. measuring our emotional intelligence
  2. understanding what emotional intelligence is
  3. thinking about it on an ongoing basis and in detailed ways
  4. talking about it with others and in ways that relate to our personal lives
  5. getting committed to coaching

You’ll notice that on this five point plan, there is some, well, repetition. Every point is about getting focused and staying focused. Even though it’s possible to improve our social and emotional intelligence skills, it requires a good deal of commitment. It requires that we fold the underlying concepts and dimensions of emotional intelligence into our daily lives, in an ongoing way.

As humans, we do this in large part by talking. We talk about the things that matter to us. And as social creatures, we do a fair amount of thinking and processing through dialogue.

Generally speaking, there is an absence of public discourse about emotional intelligence in our culture. That makes it incumbent on each of us to find opportunities to talk about empathy and optimism and impulse control, and especially the dimensions that we may be personally weak on.

And the kicker is that the more this dialogue relates to the concrete events and challenges in our lives, the more benefit this will have. We have to keep it real. And because this can be somewhat complicated, given the nature of business and family, a coach is an excellent option.

Actually, it’s the best option.

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