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10 things emotionally intelligent people don’t do

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"Anyone can become angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy." - Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics.

Daniel Goleman begins his book, Emotional Intelligence, with this quote, estimated to be written around 340BC. However, it wasn’t until Goleman’s book hit the shelves in 1995 that the topic of emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) launched into mainstream conversations. Its effects are so profound that IQ, once considered the marker of whether someone deserved the opportunity to lead or not, has been eclipsed by a person’s EQ. It’s now accepted that EQ is far more important than how intellectually smart someone is.

Essentially EQ is the ability to recognise and manage your own emotions, and recognise and respond effectively to the emotions of others. Goleman’s model of emotional intelligence has four domains that contain twelve building blocks of emotional intelligence:

  • self-awareness – know your emotions
  • self-management – manage your emotions through self-control and adaptability, have an achievement orientation, and a positive outlook
  • social awareness – empathy and organisational awareness
  • relationship management – be an influence, coach and mentor others, handle conflict management, develop teamwork, and model inspirational leadership

We know this is a time when many of us are feeling COVID fatigued. Some of us have stayed in jobs we had intended to leave a year or two ago, held back from leaping into new opportunities, or feel that life is on hold while we wait to see what happens when we get to a post-COVID time.

However, we’ve noticed that emotionally intelligent people seem to be adapting as we work our way through these pandemic-inspired challenges. We also recognise that there are things they aren’t doing. As it’s sometimes easier to look at what doesn’t work, we’ve put together a list of 10 things emotionally intelligent people don’t do.

  1. They don’t live in their past – Reflection or reminiscing is one thing, living there is another. If this is you, consider whether you’re afraid of the future or avoiding the present.
  2. They don’t do a victim mentality – Do you blame everyone else for your circumstances, complain about everything, believe only bad things happen, and wonder what’s the point of trying? This kind of thinking reflects a resistance to take responsibility for your life.
  3. They don’t criticise other people – Putting other people down is an attempt to boost an ego. It devalues others and fails to spark changes or alter behaviour.
  4. They don’t believe their own excuses – Used to defend behaviours and hide behind fears, excuses are another way to place blame externally rather than self-manage.
  5. They don’t compromise their values – Working to values not aligned with yours leads to disengagement and disconnect, and denies the opportunity for meaningful contribution.
  6. They don’t invest energy in things that aren’t in their control – Trying to manage everything and everyone to the smallest detail is not only exhausting, it indicates a preoccupation with what might go wrong. Take time to consider what is worth your energy and what you can let go.
  7. They don’t hang out with people who drag them down – Successful relationships are built on trust, open communication, and honesty. Difficult conversations are handled. People lacking in EQ are more negative, belligerent, critical and emotional.
  8. They don’t depend on motivation to get things done – We explain the difference between commitment and motivation in this article. Motivation is an unreliable feeling; commitment is a mindset.
  9. They don’t expect life to be fair or easy – Emotionally intelligent people accept bad things happen to good people. They also believe in their capacity to handle what comes and are proactive about working hard and moving forward.
  10. They don’t ‘hope’ things will work out – An achievement orientation combined with a sense of responsibility for one’s life means people with EQ are clear on their values, their purpose, and where they are headed.

For a picture of what EQ looks like, read this article, or watch this short video where Goleman answers five questions about whether Emotional Intelligence can be learned. The good news is that it absolutely can.

- The Coach Place Global

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