Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A quick exercise to increase your Emotional Intelligence

Whenever I ask my classes of students if there is ‘anybody here that has heard of the term Emotional Intelligence?’ about half put their hands up.  Of that half, I’d say on average, half of that number have heard of the term but are unsure what Emotional Intelligence is.

Now, I could give you a textbook definition so that the interpretation of the term is clear for you to understand, or I could direct you to one of the many definitions available through a simple internet search but, I’m not going to do that.


Because you already KNOW what Emotional Intelligence is!  And I will prove this to you now.

Think of someone who has created a positive impact in your life - ideally, someone who may have been one of your teachers, or colleagues; possibly a coach, a mentor or more likely a boss.  Picture that person in your mind’s eye for a moment.  Remember, it must be someone who has left a positive indelible impression on you. 

Can you see them?  Do you know why they’re appearing in your consciousness like a friendly ghost? 

All will soon be revealed…


Now, grab a pen and a piece of paper and write a list of one-word adjectives that describes that person.  Aim for about 8 to 10.  Are you struggling?  Okay, I’ll give you the first one for free to get you started, how about ‘Honest’ or ‘Honesty’?

Take a quick break from reading so that you can do this and then read on when you’ve finished this exercise.

What you have in front of you is a list of behavioural attributes that are probably emotionally intelligent behavioural traits.  As you recalled your mental image of this person and recollected how they used to operate – or maybe still do if they are currently in your life – you will have probably remembered them with a sense of warmth and fondness. Why?  Because you like them of course! 

You like them for who they are and what they stand for.  You like them for what they do or did.  You like them for how they conducted themselves and importantly, how they treated you.  They were probably supportive.  They probably listened.  And you would, if asked, work harder for them, harder than you would for other people – because you wanted to. 

Emotionally intelligent behaviour is an integral part of effective and positive leadership.  People are drawn to those demonstrating high EI behaviours.  Emotional Intelligence creates a positive followership.  People with high EI are listened to because they are respected.  Followers feel obliged to please them. 

Followers like you! 

What’s more, studies show that people with high levels of EI tend to do better in business as well as in life in general.  That’s why I strongly believe that developing emotional intelligent behaviours should be part of every school curriculum.  It’s my view that they are far more likely to be beneficial than studying algorithms for example. (No offence intended to all those mathematicians, economists and computer scientists out there!)

How do increase your emotional intelligence?  Use your positive role models but always remember what comes naturally.  Be accurate in your own self-assessment.  Ask yourself if others view you in the same way that you view your role model?

Collective EI behaviours create great organisational cultures.  They create companies that are considered as great places to work.  Great culture creates great performance.  Great performance usually leads to increased profit margins and the organisation wins repeat business because they also become great companies to work with.

You know what to do!

With best wishes in all that you do.



  1. Nice post Keith, cheers mate...

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