The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. The pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.

 

“Plasticity” is the term neurologists use to describe the brain’s ability to change. Your brain grows new connections as you learn new skills. The change is gradual, as your brain cells develop new connections to speed the efficiency of new skills acquired.

Using strategies to increase your emotional intelligence allows the billions of microscopic neurons lining the road between the rational and emotional centers of your brain to branch off small “arms” (much like a tree) to reach out to the other cells. A single cell can grow 15,000 connections with its neighbors. This chain reaction of growth ensures it’s easier to kick this new behavior into action in the future. Once you train your brain by repeatedly using new emotional intelligence strategies, emotionally intelligent behaviors become habits.

Emotional intelligence taps into a fundamental element of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect. There is no known connection between IQ and emotional intelligence; you simply can’t predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.

Personality is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s the stable “style” that defines each of us. Personality is the result of hard-wired preferences, such as the inclination toward introversion or extroversion. However, like IQ, personality can’t be used to predict emotional intelligence. Also like IQ, personality is stable over a lifetime and doesn’t change. IQ, emotional intelligence, and personality each cover unique ground and help to explain what makes a person tick.

When emotional intelligence first appeared to the masses in 1995, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success—IQ. Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

 
Personal competence is made up of your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.
  • Self-Awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen.
  • Self-Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behavior.

Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives in order to improve the quality of your relationships.

  • Social Awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on.
  • Relationship Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions and the others’ emotions to manage interactions successfully.

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

The good news is that emotional intelligence can be learned and developed. As well as working on your skills in the five areas above, use these strategies:

  • Observe how you react to people. Do you rush to judgment before you know all of the facts? Do you stereotype? Look honestly at how you think and interact with other people. Try to put yourself in their place , and be more open and accepting of their perspectives and needs.
  • Look at your work environment. Do you seek attention for your accomplishments? Humility can be a wonderful quality, and it doesn’t mean that you’re shy or lack self-confidence. When you practice humility, you say that you know what you did, and you can be quietly confident about it. Give others a chance to shine – put the focus on them, and don’t worry too much about getting praise for yourself.
  • Do a self-evaluation. Try out our emotional intelligence quiz . What are your weaknesses? Are you willing to accept that you’re not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person? Have the courage to look at yourself honestly – it can change your life.
  • Examine how you react to stressful situations. Do you become upset every time there’s a delay or something doesn’t happen the way you want? Do you blame others or become angry at them, even when it’s not their fault? The ability to stay calm and in control in difficult situations is highly valued – in the business world and outside it. Keep your emotions under control when things go wrong.
  • Take responsibility for your actions. If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize directly – don’t ignore what you did or avoid the person. People are usually more willing to forgive and forget if you make an honest attempt to make things right.
  • Examine how your actions will affect others – before you take those actions. If your decision will impact others, put yourself in their place. How will they feel if you do this? Would you want that experience? If you must take the action, how can you help others deal with the effects?
  1. Self-Awareness – People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware . They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don’t let their feelings rule them. They’re confident – because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control.

    They’re also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of emotional intelligence.

  2. Self-Regulation – This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don’t make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity , and the ability to say no.
  3. Motivation – People with a high degree of emotional intelligence are usually motivated . They’re willing to defer immediate results for long-term success. They’re highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.
  4. Empathy – This is perhaps the second-most important element of emotional intelligence. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships , listening , and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.
  5. Social Skills – It’s usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional intelligence. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

As you’ve probably determined, emotional intelligence can be a key to success in your life – especially in your career. The ability to manage people and relationships is very important in all leaders, so developing and using your emotional intelligence can be a good way to show others the leader inside of you.

We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact and cleverness – especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where emotional intelligence becomes important. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your perception of others: when you understand how they feel, this allows you to manage relationships more effectively.

People with high emotional intelligence are usually successful in most things they do. Why? Because they’re the ones that others want on their team. When people with high emotional intelligence send an email, it gets answered. When they need help, they get it. Because they make others feel good, they go through life much more easily than people who are easily angered or upset.

With the US Presidential race entering its final two months more and more articles are being written about Trump’s emotional intelligence. This post by Lyn Boyer is a good example of the genre. Understandably there is apprehension about Trump having his finger on the nuclear trigger. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., a former US Assistant Secretary of Defence and Chairman of the US National Intelligence Council, and a Professor at Harvard University recently voiced his concerns following an open letter posted by 50 Former National Security Officials and Advisers from GOP Administrations denouncing Trump.  I attended a lunch on Wednesday where Bob Carr, former NSW Premier and Foreign Minister of Australia, said the problem with Trump was his anger.

 

It is only recently that I finally read an article “Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All” in The New Yorker (25 July 2016) that to me actually got inside Trump’s head. In the article, Tony Schwartz, was the Ghost Writer for The Art of The Deal describes how he came to write the book. He first attempted to have a series of interviews but because Trump’s very poor attention span (2-3 minutes) failed miserably. According to Schwartz Trump has no attention span. For example Schwartz believes Trump has never read a book. Schwartz was about to chuck in the project but then suggested to Trump that he would just shadow him during all his meetings and phone calls and not ask questions. This he did for 18 months and this gave him a unique insight into Trump’s personality.

 

I must lay my cards on the table. I use the Humm Wadworth profiling technology and Trump to me is the quintessential Hustler.  

 

One of the great mistakes people make about Trump is that they think he is into power. He is not. He is in it for the money. Schwartz now admits he had wrongly painted Trump as a “deal” artisan in the book. This is completely false. Instead Schwartz says one of Trump’s most deep and basic needs is to prove I am richer than you. He has an insatiable hunger for money, praise and celebrity and just loves the attention 

 

Lying is second nature to Trump. He has a complete lack of conscience about it. However what is different about Hustlers is that they sincerely believe their own lies. Schwartz invented a term “truthful hyperbole” to describe the phenomenon. Trump now sincerely believes he wrote The Art of the Deal while the publisher publicly states his contribution was not even a post card.

 

Hustlers divide the world into winners and losers. Trump has only two positions when he meets someone. “Either you’re a scummy loser or you’re the greatest.” However this view can change. He is a transactional man – it was all about what you could do for him. People are dispensable and disposable in Trump’s world.

 

I would criticise Schwartz one point. He said in the article that if was asked to write a new book on Trump he would call it The Sociopath. Trump is not a sociopath; he is a classic corporate psychopath. His father was a successful property developer, whose estate was worth over $500 million and who helped his son financially and politically. He co-signed loan agreements and lent money. I have blogged about the difference between the two and Trump is positioned at the far end of the Anti-Social Personality Disorder because of genetics not upbringing.

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