Emotional intelligence can help people to lead and manage their relationships far more effectively. Evidence suggests that people with higher levels of emotional intelligence enjoy more successful careers and nurture better relationships.
Self-awareness is about knowing and understanding our own emotions and increasing our ability to cope. Within personal relationships, there are numerous questions that we ask ourselves; for example, am I happy, is my partner happy, is the relationship working or do things need to change. In professional relationships, it can also help to analyse and reflect on relationships, and our impact on them. For instance, being aware of our behavioural drivers, how we manage our ‘state’ (emotional reactions to situations) etc.
The process of self-awareness is simple. Becoming aware of how you react to situations is essential in accepting how you deal with situations either at home or in the workplace. Conversely, having limited awareness will lead to distractions and arguments, and can lead to negative relationships.
Self-reflection is also a useful tool to increase self-awareness. Reflection enables us to better understand our own emotions and the actions that these can trigger. In essence, increased self-awareness leads to a better family and work environment and stronger and more positive relationships. I encourage my clients, however busy they are, to clear their desks ten minutes before ‘home time’ and sit and reflect on the day. What went well, what could have been handled better, and are there any situations that need attention now rather than leaving to the next day? Just this practice alone can have a massive impact on relationships and productivity. The same can be done with personal relationships; does anything need saying or fixing before you turn in for the night?
The role of self-regulation
The concept of self-regulation is relative to understanding how your body reacts to emotions. Emotions can be categorised as positive or negative. Positive emotions provide people with affirmations that lead to increased direction and focus. People who experience positive emotions will generally be happier and more balanced.
Negative emotions fuel the body with feelings of despair, stress, anxiety, and even depression. These issues lead to a loss of control and can have severe impacts on the individual’s well-being, relationships, productivity and success.
Therefore, we should attempt to regulate how we feel and recognise our own feelings and that of others. This assists in controlling our emotions and fosters better thought processes. It can also ensure high levels of resilience when faced with situations such as the Pandemic etc. A calm head and logical thought processes are a must in times of crisis. This is a skill that can be learned and practised over time and will ensure that nothing is ever ‘said in haste and regretted at your leisure’ as the saying goes! I personally used to be very impulsive and once I reflected on this I realised that it very rarely served me well and often left me with many regrets.
The role of empathy
Empathy is essential when supporting each other. Don’t make the mistake of confusing sympathy with empathy, sympathy takes away an individual’s power and motivation. Empathy is saying that you are standing for them and with them.
Empathy is about understanding needs and desires, and showing appreciation. To foster empathy, it would be useful to identify needs and examine ways to meet these.
Effort and time must be spent to understand the basics, such as their 6 Human Needs, but also their individual character, likes and dislikes etc. We must question whether we understand others’ needs and if not make it our duty to find out. Having discussions on how to support one another promotes empathetic needs and desires and the time spent on this will bring many positive results.
CERTAINTY – assurance that you can avoid pain and gain pleasure, safety, security
VARIETY – the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli and adventure
SIGNIFICANCE – feeling unique, valued, important, special or needed, independence
CONNECTION – a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
GROWTH – an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
CONTRIBUTION – a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others
Introducing this theory to your staff during supervisions or appraisals will give you invaluable insight into their needs. You can then match the way you communicate with them, what tasks they perform and with whom etc. This can lead to high levels of motivation, job satisfaction and ultimately good staff retention.
The purpose of emotional intelligence is to understand oneself and others. The more we practise self-awareness and develop strategies to support each other, the better our opportunity of having effective relationships in all areas of our lives.
Jayne Warwicker BSc – Founder of The Lioness Power System