Emotional Intelligence, Learning and Developing “People Skills”

When someone tells me, “I’m a People Person,” I want think about four things:

1. This person is a good listener who always seems to know what needs to be said, but more importantly, how to not upset or offend others in their delivery.

2. This person considers proper word-choice when conversing because they care about creating and optimistic solution and they are hopeful they will reach it.

3. This person consciously works at managing their emotions, especially in stressful situations.

4. This person looks at themselves in an honest way, because they believe you can learn more from failure than you can from success. Criticism, to this person, is an opportunity to improve their performance and decision making.

People who have these skills have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence, or EI. They are able to sense the emotional needs of others because they know themselves very well.

So, what exactly is Emotional Intelligence, and what can you do to improve your People Skills?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact and cleverness – especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where EI becomes important.

Emotional Intelligence is a person’s ability to consciously understand and recognize their own emotions and how they affect others. It involves a delicate perception of understanding of how others are feeling- a person with emotional intelligence uses this knowledge to manage relationships more effectively.

Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:

1. Self-Awareness – People with high EI are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don’t let their feelings rule them. They’re confident – because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control.
They’re also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of EI.

2. Self-Regulation – This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don’t make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity, and the ability to say no.

3. Motivation – People with a high degree of EI are usually motivated. They’re willing to defer immediate results for long-term success. They’re highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.

4. Empathy – This is perhaps the second-most important element of EI. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships , listening , and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.

5. Social Skills – It’s usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high EI. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

The ability to manage people and relationships is very important in all careers, so developing and using your Emotional Intelligence can show others your leadership qualities.

How to Build Your People Skills by Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence be learned and developed. As well as working on Daniel Goleman’s skills, you can use some of these strategies:

• Observe how your actions and reactions affect people. Before you act, consider your own impact and how others might judge or deal with your action or reaction.

• Practice Humility. Be quietly confident in your accomplishments and don’t intentionally seek out praise.

• Identify your weaknesses. Be willing to accept that there is an honest way to be a better, happier, more productive, version of yourself.

• Control your emotions. Remember that anger clouds thought, especially in stressful situations. Stay calm when things go wrong.

• Be responsible for your actions. If your word-choice merits a direct apology, do it as an effort to make things right.

Practicing Emotional Intelligence is not only being aware of your actions and feelings – and how they affect those around you but also about valuing, empathizing, and identify with people on many different levels.

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