Define Your Emotional Intelligence

Imagine two managers; the first manager takes their frustrations out on their team by shouting at them whenever things don’t go to plan (yikes!)

The second manager calmly assesses situations and focuses on finding solutions with the team when things don’t go to plan.

Which one possesses qualities that make them a better manager?

The second manager possesses a high level of emotional intelligence. Why is having this skill so important for managers, and how can you improve your own emotional intelligence?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to perceive, control, express, and understand emotions – whether that be your own emotions or the emotions of those around you.

American psychologist, Daniel Goleman, helped outline Emotional Intelligence as having five main components, these are:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills

Let’s explore them in more detail…


Self-awareness is the ability to notice and be aware of your traits, behaviours, and feelings.

Understanding your strengths and challenges allow you to control how you respond in certain situations, so you’re able to build a solution-orientated working culture.

Top Tips for Building Self-awareness

Write down your plans and priorities

Meditation is a great way to improve your awareness. Focus on answering four questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What’s working currently?
  • What’s slowing me down?
  • What can I do to change/improve?

Ask trusted friends or colleagues

Sometimes it can be difficult to evaluate yourself objectively, so ask a trusted friend or colleague to help you identify any further points for you to work on. Take in criticism; no one is perfect, then build on the notes to work on for a better you!


Self-regulation is the ability to manage and understand the emotions that output your behaviour to yourself and the people around you.

It’s how we are able to effectively cope with stressors, adapt to changing situations, and keep focus.

Top Tips for Building Self-regulation


When you experience a stressor, your fight or flight response is engaged, and emotions happen fast. Between experiencing a stressor and your response, it’s important to take a breath and pause before responding.

Choose how to respond

In most situations, we can choose how we respond. Think about the consequences of responding with your negative emotions and how you can change your response to communicate effectively rather than lashing out.

Practice mindfulness

Live in the moment; use your senses to pay attention to what’s going on around you, how you’re feeling, and what the best outcome in the situation could be. This can help you stay calm and think more pragmatically in negative or stressful situations.


Intrinsic motivation is a key driver when it comes to your career and managing a team. It refers to motivation for enjoyment as opposed to being motivated by money or a promotion.

Enjoyment increases your willingness to continue and persist in an activity, which is crucial to success as a team and as an individual.

Understand why you’re passionate about your job and adopt an optimistic outlook – this can help you feel energised to find solutions and make you determined to cheer the people around you on to their next success.

Top Tips for Building Motivation

Goal Setting

Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) and regularly review them to help you and your team stay accountable and motivated.

Squeeze in some breaks

It’s important to remember to give yourself little breaks throughout your working day to prevent you from feeling burnt out – even taking 5-10 minutes away from your desk every 60-90 minutes can help you feel more refreshed to continue with your tasks.

Reward hard work

Don’t forget to reward and celebrate your team for their hard work. Helping them recognise their achievements will make them feel appreciated and motivated to jump onto the next task, knowing they’re doing a good job!


Empathy is your ability to ‘put yourselves in someone else’s shoes’, understanding their emotions or perspectives.  

As a manager, this is important in helping you see problems more holistically and make clear, objective decisions. Empathy also helps to defuse bias.

Being empathetic means you are more approachable as you’re open to listening to your team and providing sound advice.

Top Tips for Building Empathy

Actively listen & attune to behaviours

Rather than being a reactive listener, focus on being an active listener. Set the intention of listening out for emotion. Try to notice the verbal and non-verbal cues people give you that could help indicate what they are feeling.

Take action

Once you’ve understood the challenges your team are facing, consider asking them if you can help in any way, or if you have ideas, work with them to create an action plan that will tackle the challenges.

[Sub heading]Social Skills

Building a strong rapport with your team takes good social skills. If you can create a good rapport, there will be a higher level of trust, making a more productive and loyal workplace.

Social skills can be anything from actively listening, empathy, non-verbal communication, and verbal communication.

Top Tips for Building Your Social Skills

Start small

If you aren’t sure where to start, start small. Consider saying ‘hello’ when you walk into the office or ask your team how their weekend was to initiate conversation.

Open-ended questions

If you’re unsure how to engage in deeper conversations, use open questions that require more than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response, this may encourage others to keep the conversation going.

Do your research

Brush up on your non-verbal cues by looking out for body language changes or consider watching seminars on how to improve social skills. You’ll get out what effort you put in.

[Sub heading]So, Why is Emotional Intelligence important?

As you build up your emotional intelligence, you’ll be more present for your team to help them reach their full potential.

Where do the five components come in?

  • Self-awareness and self-regulation will help you become more aware of your strength and challenges, removing any of your own toxic behaviours in the workplace.
  • Motivation will help you inspire others in your team to strive for success.
  • Empathy will help you become more socially aware of those around you, helping you understand your team, their successes, and their challenges better.
  • Strengthening your social skills will help you in all aspects of relationship management. From influencing, inspiring or mentoring your team to managing conflict or facilitating collaborative teamwork.

Now that you know the five key components of building your emotional intelligence, which one would you try out first?

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