I was reading an article lately entitled "The Five Signs of Emotional Intelligence", and it was really good. Of course EI is a vast topic and there are many more signs of EI, but this primer was a good read. The five signs according to this article are: being able to handle feedback well (without excuses, denial, stress, etc.), being open-minded, being a good listener, being able to give feedback well, and apologizing when you make a mistake.
I love all of these points and teach and coach these topics in my work with leaders and teams so that over time they are showing the signs. I also seek to live this way myself. All of these points are very difficult though. I tell people that emotional growth is very hard to do because we are who we are for many reasons: our culture, our religious views, our upbringing, our values, etc. The trick in my work is to have people with diverse perspectives come together and collaborate for the sake of the whole and business (or non-profit). Very tricky indeed because people tend to be set in their ways. But over time, we can change, and the more we practice the above points, we become more emotionally intelligent.
I have workshops around most of the five points. I do workshops on conflict, emotional triggers, listening, feedback, and meeting facilitation. I just did a listening workshop in a business last week, and it went amazingly. People want to be better listeners, but most people never really learned how to do it. It's not rocket science, but it is a skill. Especially if you are in a field that deals with customers, great listening has great import.
I guess if I had to pick the one that is the hardest for most folks that I meet, it is the telling the truth one. The article said that good leaders don't sugarcoat the truth. Easier said than done. Giving feedback is especially challenging because we don't want to upset others, we feel emotionally unstable because we don't know the outcome, or we feel apathy in that maybe we have tried before and it didn't go so well. Whatever the motivation is, we lose the ability to practice this precious skill, much to the detriment to our relationships and businesses. Are you holding onto a truth that you haven't spoken? If so why? What are you afraid of? Or have you tried and failed before? As you inspect your own motivation for NOT doing it, maybe you can find something. I think though we all can agree that feedback is valuable.
Take these five signs to heart, reflect on them and see if you can practice them. They are so subtle sometimes so we need to be highly self-aware of their presence and practice when the opportunity arises. Practicing an open-mind may sound funny for instance, but you can actually do it. You can think strategically about it and coach yourself to have an open mind when for instance someone comes to you with an idea that you would normally discard. I would love to hear your successes and challenges with these. Please do share.