Emotional intelligence: A self-discovery Journey to better perform and manage stress! By Angela Mejia, Global Marketing Director Amora - Maille at Unilever

In the last century we have been extremely focused in being smart, intelligent and at some point, we were even obsessed with IQ, I still remember when applying to companies they would request you to take an IQ test to see how smart you were! Lucky enough those days are almost gone and now we are moving into a new era where having the highest score is not the most important part. Now life is more about finding the right balance. 

Within that new trend of self-discovery, the EQ is playing a pivotal role helping us to measure, develop and evolve a different type of intelligence, it is what we call now Emotional Intelligence. The great news is that EI is not about getting the highest score, it is about balancing a set of emotional and social skills to live and perform better at work while improving our wellbeing!  We can start the exploration asking ourselves some questions: How do I perceive and express myself? How do I develop and maintain social relationships? how do I cope with challenges? and how do I use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way? Although easier said than done, EI explores the different components of these interactions, let’s explore the model EQ-I 2.0 Developed by MHS:

 

  1. Self- perception explores the inner self looking at how confident and independent you are, and to what degree you set goals and work towards that.
  2. Self-Expression is an extension of the self-perception, it’s the expression of the feelings and emotions identified in the first scale, it allows a person to express how he/she is feeling in an effective and appropriate manner.
  3. Interpersonal: how we relate to others. Develop and maintain relationships based on trust and compassion, articulates an understanding of another’s perspective, while acting responsibly showing concern for others.
  4. Decision making: The ability to reduce or delay the impulses and remain objective so to avoid rash behaviors and ineffective problem solving.
  5. Stress management: how we cope when challenged, managing the emotions associated with change and unpredictable circumstances. Remaining hopeful about the future and resilient about obstacles.

Now that we better understand the components of EI, lets jump from the theory into practice and how we can apply these concepts to the day-to-day life.

In this changing context where now we work more in collaboration, where fast decision making is becoming more and more important, where we need to read the context faster to adapt EI plays a magnificent role, it helps us to better understand ourselves, to understand and anticipate our reactions, it helps us to understand better the others needs and emotions to improve collaboration, it helps us to anticipate our needs and other people reactions to better plan different scenarios, and help us also to take distance from our emotions and feelings to make better decisions and at the end reduce our stress levels improving our performance and our wellbeing.

By now you might be asking yourself, but then what can I do to better understand and even improve the different elements? Below you will find some practical tips that you can put in practice to improve in the different aspects:

  1. Understanding your emotions: Take the time at the end of the day to explore the key moments of your day, how did you feel, what was the emotion related to the moment, how did your body reacted to it, how did you express it to others, if not what are your thoughts around it and why, take some notes and leave it for that day, after 15 days review the notes and try to find the common topics, what do you find interesting, what would you like to do different next time, start experimenting and learning from the experiments.
  2. Learning about others: Identify the top 3 persons you interact with at work or at home, how do they react? Do you know what drives them happy, angry, anxious? Try to listen carefully and understand the emotions behind their expressions, is there something that you can do to have a better interaction with them next time?
  3. Decision making: Review the last 3 decisions you made this week, how were you feeling when making the decision, now that some time passed by would you still stick to that decision or would you have taken some time to reflect on the emotions and the context? Next time that you’re deciding try to think how you feel, how that decision will make others feel and if possible, try to project how would you feel about the decision you’re making.
  4. Stress management: One of the critical elements is the cumulation of feelings, thoughts, to do lists and pending decisions, which at some point end up in a great explosion that sometimes is completely unrelated to the subject. The analogy I like the most is the balloon that you blow and blow and blow and at some point, it exploits. Try to find practices that help you to release the pressure, for example writing at the end of the day to identify how you felt, talk to your partner, friends, close colleagues, telling them how you feel, what is generating that feeling and asking them how you would like them to interact with you next time.  Do some exercise to balance your energy and when you’re back into a calm mode reflect on the big impulses of the they, it will help you to identify the “buttons” like that next time someone will push them at least you’re aware and might be able to retard the explosion and with a bit more of practice prevent it and turn it into an opportunity.

Resources:

If you’re interested in learning more about EI or testing your EQ, you can refer to the following elements:

  1. Read Daniel Goleman’s book: Emotional Intelligence: 25th Anniversary Edition, this is a revised version he did in 2020 adapting his first edition to today’s needs.
  2. Join the https://www.actionforhappiness.org/ where you can find easy tools to build your resilience and improve your wellbeing.
  3. Find a Podcast that can help you improve your listening skills, your writing or your creativity to better express yourself and listen to others. i.e., Coachingforleaders.com, onpurpose with Jay Shetty.
  4. Book your EQ-I 2.0 test and get support on personalized coaching in English, French or Spanish: Angela.EQCoachFrance@gmail.com

 

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