A smarter approach to feelings - Emotional Intelligence

connection emotional intelligence eq leadership strong leader Nov 16, 2022

Intelligent Quotient, or IQ as its most commonly known, is a static type of intelligence assessment. You are awarded a number or a category of intelligence at the time you take the assessment. A low IQ doesn’t mean an individual is unable to have a high-quality, successful life, and vice versa. The difference with Emotional Intelligence (EI) is that it is a dynamic state that can be changed and transformed. This dynamic state is wonderful for everybody because we can keep learning and we can keep growing. On a wider scale, when you're socially intelligent, you understand both your own emotions, as well as other people's emotions.

The dynamic of emotional intelligence is that you can only understand other people to the extent that you understand yourself. You need to start the process by learning what motivates and drives you so that you can support and connect with yourself. Only when you have worked through this process can you begin to understand and connect better with the people around you.

Six Seconds is a global EI network of practitioners who have split emotional intelligence up into three defining areas:

1. Know Yourself – Clearly seeing what you feel and do

2. Choose Yourself – Doing what you mean to do

3. Give Yourself – Doing it for a reason

Let's go into more detail about these points.

1. Know Yourself

Know yourself is about emotional self-awareness. This sense of self-awareness is based on your emotional perception, your feelings. It is not necessarily focussed on your general self-awareness. Knowing yourself is not only about being able to recognise the emotions that you have, but also how those emotions motivate you or, limit you. Is what you feel motivating you to take action, or does it make you want to do nothing at all? Part of this emotional self-awareness is reflecting and recognising the following:

  • Your strengths
  • Your patterns of behaviour
  • What Is it that makes you "lose it"?
  • What is it that frustrates you?
  • What is it that makes you get impatient?

Are you aware of all those things or do you just accept them and say "well, I get impatient", or "yes, I shot the messenger"?

  • What automatic pilot reactions do you have?

Emotional self-awareness allows you to be conscious of not only the impact that something has on yourself but also the impact you have on others. If something frustrates you, it may be bubbling away under the surface, just building up. Then suddenly, when it's reached boiling point, BOOM! - it explodes. Everyone is covered in lava - it’s not just you that this affects!

Therefore reflecting and recognising your own patterns is actually super important in terms of emotional self-awareness.

2. Choose Yourself

Choose yourself is about self-navigation and how you proceed with a positive stance and communicate in a positive way. When you are faced with an emotional trigger (also known as a disrupter or derailer), take an optimistic approach by asking yourself, “what do I hope to achieve? What outcome do I want? I don't particularly want to react. I don't want to snap at somebody or shoot the messenger, so what do I want to do?” By choosing yourself you are actually allowing yourself to take a step back and think about the situation before giving yourself and navigating through that trigger. It's called self-regulation. It's taking a pause, taking a step back before communicating or taking action. Self-regulation can also be used in other areas such as conflict management, change management, or even in a high-stake conversation. 

If you have children, you will have the most amazing playground for finding emotional triggers! πŸ‘ΆπŸ½ Whilst facilitating a program recently, one of the participants (we will call her Jody) told me a story about her biggest trigger. It was so big in fact, that it put her into the wrong frame of mind for the rest of the day every time it happened!

Jody’s story goes like this:

"My three year old always takes forever to get her shoes on. We're about to leave the house and she says, mummy, I need to put my shoes on. She won't accept any help. She has to do it herself. It fires me up and I get frustrated because I know I am now going to be late to day-care and late for work. It has a knock-on effect. I end up shouting at my child - "why aren't you putting your shoes on quicker, hurry up or why won't you let me help you!"".

Consequently, after some self-reflection on her emotional intelligence, Jody recognised that it was her frustration and her inability to manage the situation that inflamed the situation. So, to avoid this trigger and rectify the situation, she got up 15 minutes earlier with her daughter. Doing this and having that extra 15 minutes meant the knock-on effect was eliminated and that she was going to be ok and on time.

Ultimately, Jody was able to take hold of the whole situation by reflecting and taking stock of her emotions. She changed her behaviour because somebody else was triggering her (through no fault of her daughters, she didn't know - she was only 3 years old!). However, by simply changing the dynamics of the situation, Jody was in a better frame of mind and her daughter was in a much better frame of mind as well. In fact, Jody was so grateful she had had the ability (and the EQ) to be able to stop and reflect. And by recognising and understanding that she needed to stop and reflect, we arrive at the third point.

3. Give Yourself 

Give yourself is where you can recognise and understand how others are feeling and what they require. To give yourself is to put yourself in the other person's shoes and actually say “this needs to happen and this is why". You can empathise and you can then connect with the person for a better outcome. It allows the individual to feel understood. It allows the individual to feel like they've got influence in that dynamic state and that is exactly what you need to empower your employees and your team. Giving yourself allows for that greater connection. However, you can't get to this stage unless you know what your triggers are, and you know what your emotional self is about. This is key before you can understand other people’s emotions and motivators. 

For leaders who are interested in becoming more emotionally intelligent, the three steps above are an excellent starting point. Remember, you can't be a strong leader without being able to understand, navigate and connect with your people.


We are pleased to share this blog with you, which was narrated by coaches Bibi Sheikh and Samantha D'Angelo. Kinetik Global certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioners are available to help you reach your leadership goals.

For more information contact [email protected]