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What is this EI thing?
I’m getting called into more and more firms, organizations, and teams to discuss Emotional Intelligence (EI). It’s one of those “hot topics” right now.
The four main factors of EI are SELF AWARENESS, SELF-MANAGEMENT, SOCIAL AWARENESS, and RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT.
Basically, this comes down to understanding yourself, so you can control your own responses, and understanding others, so you can act in a way that helps them stay in control of their responses.
There are a lot of ways to do this, and I may re-visit this topic over the coming weeks to give several EI tips. And here’s today’s EI tip:
Not everyone has natural empathy, but those who do can tell what someone is feeling without that person having to say a word. Many actually start feeling sad themselves when someone around them is sad. If you have a strong natural empathy, check in with it regularly in social interactions to help you “read the room.”
However, if you do not have a strong sense of empathy, you are not out of luck. You can develop your “intellectual empathy” by making a conscious choice to “remember to care.” You can choose look for the person’s nonverbal cues (facial expression, posture, tone, etc.). You can form a hypothesis of what you would feel in their situation, or what a fictional character in a book or movie might feel in that situation (this might sound weird, but this framework works well for some people). You can then test that hypothesis by checking the nonverbals or asking questions, such as, “Are you okay with this?”
And it’s also important to not dismiss people’s emotional responses. Those responses are real for them, and they feel like a valid reaction based on their perceptions of the situation. It never works to tell someone to “just get over it.” It is much more effective to come alongside them and work together to help them to find a way to make things okay.