How emotionally intelligent are you really? You think you’ve got it covered, well, sort of? Emotional intelligence is a profile of competencies, it doesn’t boil down to you either have it or you don’t. The starting point is self awareness, the ability to recognise what you’re feeling when you are feeling it. But that’s not all there is to emotional intelligence. We investigate.
How emotionally intelligent are you really? Identifying emotions is key
Sometimes when you’re leading it can be difficult to truly acknowledge how you’re feeling. There’s a job to do, targets to meet and teams to lead. Emotional awareness can start to feel like an unaffordable luxury in the midst of competing demands and heavy schedules. But what if there was a way to tap into your emotions? Something that would give you additional information, guidance and clarity when decision making?
‘The ultimate value of life depends upon Awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival’
How emotionally intelligent are you really?Mindfulness
Cue Mindfulness. Self regulation and self awareness have long been recognised by leading researchers such as Dan Goleman and Richard Boyatzis as a key differentiator of leaders. We know that leaders who excel in self regulation out-perform their peers on average between 78% – 390%. That’s a significant figure when thinking about optimising your performance. But what you don’t recognise you can’t regulate until you’ve developed an awareness of it. So how can you develop emotional awareness?
How emotionally intelligent are you really? 3 steps to develop emotional awareness
Ken Jones recommends the following 3 steps to develop emotional awareness.
Sit quietly and focus upon your breath. Bring to mind a difficult leadership situation, or an issue that you find challenging. As you begin to focus upon the issue, extend an invitation to yourself to examine it. Notice how it feels and how it affects the body. Bring your attention to that feeling and begin to ask these three questions, gently listening for the answers without judgement:
- How have I emotionally responded to this issue so far? How have I suffered from my response and reaction to it?
- What does this situation ask me to let go of?
- What difficulty if any, am I having with becoming aware of my emotional response to this situation?
The key to training your emotional awareness is to become keenly aware of how the discomfort feels. This is particularly important in terms of how it feels within your body. We spend so much time in our heads, who know what we think but often miss how we feel. How we feel in the body can provide us with a whole new world of information that often goes ignored and untapped. The Google Search Inside Yourself programme recognises the value of this psycho – somatic practice, using the body scan to familiarise participants with the variety of sensations and emotional responses within the body. Think of your body as an early warning system. Often we are physically aware of an emotion within the body before we are cognizant of it. When you notice the presence of an embodied emotion, bring your attention to where the feeling is in the body; an aching neck? Butterflies in your stomach? Shortness of breath? Clenched fists? Notice and breathe awareness into that space.
Not only will you be increasing your self awareness you’ll also be honing your ability to self regulate. The more you engage in mindfulness practice the more you will begin to notice the changes in your reaction to challenging situations.
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