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5 Ways to Increase Emotional Intelligence

Written by Stephen Scoggins

September 15, 2020

increase emotional intelligence

EQ is perhaps the most important indicator for a person’s success. It’s what makes you able to connect with others, express yourself well, sell effectively, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. That’s why you need to increase your emotional intelligence.

What is EQ?

The term Emotional Intelligence, a.k.a. EQ originally came from psychologists Mayer and Salovey. It’s the awareness of your emotions and those of others, and the ability to manage them. Mayer and Salovey believed it was related to the following traits:

Self-Awareness – Your knowledge of your thoughts, strengths, weaknesses, blindspots, habits, and personality.

Self-Regulation – The ability to control your emotions in a range of situations.

Self-Motivation – Your ability to align your motivations with those of a team or community.

Empathy – Your ability to experience and validate the emotional values of others.

Why Does EQ Matter So Much?

Up to 90% of the world’s top performers in business demonstrate high levels of EQ.

Recently I had to turn down a team member for a promotion that they’d repeatedly asked for. This person was loyal, reliable, and good at their job. So why didn’t I promote them?

The answer: no one wanted to follow them. This person came across as rash, disagreeable, and had a dictatorial style of leadership. In other words, they lacked emotional intelligence, particularly empathy and self-regulation. They were very knowledgeable and sharp, but people seldom care how much you know until they know how much you care.

This is a prime example of how shortcomings in emotional intelligence can hinder you. It was one thing that they were skilled in their position, but I had to turn them down for leadership because their frustrations would’ve put a burden on everyone underneath them. 

“People seldom care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Since then, this person has made significant improvements in their EQ, and I’m very proud of them for that. However, had I not said anything, this person may have never become aware of the true source of their professional setbacks. This is where most people are today. They’re sabotaging themselves by not engaging with others well, and the people around them either don’t have the understanding to correct them, or they don’t want to say anything.

You don’t have to be this person. You can increase your EQ and become the person that everyone wants to follow and spend time with. 

By following these 5 Principles to increase emotional intelligence, you can see tremendous breakthroughs in any area of your life.

1. Express Empathy

Empathy is the ability to see from another person’s perspective. You don’t have to agree with someone in order to empathize, rather you need to comprehend their framework and understand what rules they’re playing by.

This includes treating someone as they would like to be treated. Empathetic people are courteous and sensitive to other peoples’ desires and feelings. To some of you, this may sound touchy-feely, but I’d argue that everybody wants to be treated this way, and you’re not the exception. All of us have sensitivities and desire to be treated with respect, and we all have our own ideas of what is insulting. Empathetic people are aware of this and are constantly trying to honor these things.

Here’s a tried-and-true way to practice empathy: if someone is sharing something with you and you think you disagree, say, “Can you help me understand?” Simply be sincere about trying to understand where that person is coming from. 

2. Use Approachable Posture 

I’m a high D personality on the DiSC. This can make my tone and posture be a lot more aggressive than I mean them to be. While my brain is usually saying, “Tell me more!”, my body can still be saying, “Keep your distance.” Even when your intention is to help, crossed arms, hard stances, and resting stink faces will communicate the opposite.

This is why you should always make sure your posture matches your emotions. This comes harder for some of us than others. I personally have to intentionally relax my posture, soften my tone, and mirror the facial expressions of the person I’m trying to communicate with. It takes effort, but it’s worth it every time.

3. Fight to Understand, Not to Win

Listening to other people will make them many times more likely to like you and listen to you. Trying to beat them in an argument has the opposite effect. 

I’ve missed out on connecting with people so many times because I wanted to share my idea or quick fix, while the other person simply wanted to connect. So if you want to increase emotional intelligence, practice talking 20% of the time and listening 80%. 

4. Build Bridges Not Ditches 

At JPI, this is one of our team mottos. We do it to remind each other to always seek common ground and a win-win way forward. Most people are always looking for why something can’t work, and what’s wrong with someone who’s different from them. They dig a ditch to plant themselves deeper into their own opinion in order to validate themselves. 

If you’re known for digging your heels in, other people simply won’t want to engage with you. However, if you’re always thinking in your head, “How can I find common ground?” you will connect with a large and diverse set of people. This is also a great way to increase emotional intelligence at an increasingly accelerated rate.

5. Count to 10 or You’ll Have to Do it Again

Anger and frustration are normal, but it’s a bad idea to let them determine your next move. Instead of doing something you’ll regret, step outside and take 10 deep, slow breaths to find some center. You’ll save yourself from reacting out of emotion and blowing up. Then, you can come at the problem from a place of reason and develop a win-win situation.

Increase Your Emotional Intelligence Every Day

Since using these practices for increasing emotional intelligence, I’ve seen strong returns in my income, opportunities, and overall relationship satisfaction. That’s why I’m convinced that if you put these 5 principles into practice, you will attract new opportunities and partners and advance in your life.

For more information on how to accelerate your relationships and grow in EQ, check out our E Books. Right now the Journey Principles Institute is giving away our entire library for free, so take advantage and get as much life-changing knowledge that you can!

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