Emotional intelligence is increasingly becoming mainstream importance in relationships. Defined by helpguide.org as the “ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict,” emotional intelligence centres in reading emotions in guiding your relationships with others.
This is particularly important in your business: with team members, employees, clients, and networking. Emotional intelligence not only has the capacity to better relationships but expand your own influence over those you have relationships with (which is especially important in client or employee relationships).
Here are three ways to engage emotional intelligence to better your relationships and expand your influence.
1. Try To Understand The Other’s Motivations And Emotions
Firstly, recognize that everyone perceives the world from the perspective of their own emotions and motivations. In order to ‘win’ in their perspective of the world and be as effective as possible, begin to ask questions and be observational. Just as you ask a potential client a host of questions to determine their motivations and emotions on an onboarding call, exercise the same level of interest in all of your relationships.
Another way to think about this is through empathy: Mark Manson writes that understanding the other’s pain should be similar to taking their pain on as your own.
This is also important for navigating your communications with the other person. For example, if you’ve observed them carefully and noticed that they’re feeling down on a particular day, it’s probably not the day to vent about your own problems. Assess their emotional state first so they never feel that you’re overstepping.
2. See The Value In What Others Contribute
Ultimately, everyone wants to feel that they are valued in their relationships. If they don’t feel this way, they’re less likely to invest more time and energy into the relationship.
Jarom Smith is an expert in leadership and emotional intelligence especially for youth and young adults, and he shared with me that emotional intelligence includes orienting your actions and motivations in the other person – “Influence is not about helping others see your value and what you contribute, it’s about helping others see their own value in what they contribute.” In other words, emphasizing their unique contributions will go further with them than emphasizing your own.
In most situations, people naturally hold back when they feel they have nothing to offer. As you help others understand their importance in a relationship or to a team, they will revere you more as a leader because you revered them first. Those who lack emotional intelligence assert themselves as superior rather than seeking to help and empower, and in turn, lose their ability to truly influence.
3.Understand Your Own Emotions
Another pillar of emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your own emotions and how they may have an effect on others. Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, PhD writes that: “This means that [you] are in touch with what [you] are feeling, rather than stuffing it down, mislabeling it, or brushing it aside.
For example: perhaps on a certain day, you’re more stressed than usual. You don’t fully see it, but your stress and overwhelm makes you less emotionally available than you usually are. While one day of this won’t do irreparable damage, it can hurt your employees in the long run. They can feel that you’re stressed and therefore, not want to bother you.
So, taking the time to check in with yourself can spell the difference between distancing yourself from your relationships or keeping them close. Do a mental and emotional check-in every morning, and midday if something has been particularly stressful. The key is to not stuff it down – you can feel the emotions, but make sure you’re expressing them in a healthy manner.
Ultimately, emotional intelligence will not only strengthen your interpersonal relationships, but it will help you become more self-aware which can only benefit you in the long run.