Improving your EI is about managing your inner response to things and choosing a new way to handle your inner reaction to people and situations.
For example, Bob is a leader who has little impulse control and in meetings or even in casual interactions, he would frequently interrupt others to make his point. Worse yet, he’d unknowingly tap his finger while others spoke to mark the time before he could get his view in.
Bob initially told me he was baffled about why his management team didn’t share more with him. My first step was to help him become aware of what he was doing and the impact it was having on his team. “I honestly couldn’t understand how others saw me and experienced my communications skills or lack of,” Bob says.
I conducted confidential interviews with people who report to Bob. They gave me feedback on what they saw as Bob’s strengths and weaknesses, and what he could do to improve his leadership and communication style. Then Bob received that information as a composite group assessment, not the opinions of individuals. Bob stated upon reading the assessment, “I’ll admit, I had a serious blind spot about the effect of my impatience on others. When I asked my wife and friends if they thought the feedback was accurate, they found it funny that I would even ask. I realized then that I had been oblivious to my impact on others.”
You can increase your EI scores by working on a plan to address deficits. For example, after putting together a behavior change plan and following it diligently, Bob improved his communication skills by working on his impulse control. Impulse control is the ability to hold back your physical or verbal reaction or response in order to fully focus on the other person.
Bob reports, “As a result of working on my plan, I have been able to build a great team who all feel they can share their insights and opinions with me. They know, too, that I am listening, not just biding my time until I can give my opinion or announce my decision.”
Even though emotional intelligence can be improved, for certain positions, you may wish to assess and screen for emotional skills and abilities – it saves time and allows you to hire someone who can be effective in collaborating and in leading others.
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