Ever wondered how to boost your emotional intelligence? After all, it’s been well-documented that emotional intelligence (EQ) is becoming one of the most important qualities that employers look for in their team. It’s also vital that leaders and entrepreneurs understand how to identify their emotions and those of others. Learning to cope with them, manage them, and even better – harness their emotions – for the good of their company or project.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in the US, found that the primary causes behind executive derailment involve deficiencies in emotional competence. So, if you thought that being in tune with your emotions was akin to tree-hugging or meditating with candles, it’s time to admit you were wrong.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Psychology Today describes emotional intelligence as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and those of others. If that sounds pretty hard, that’s because it is! Many a smart entrepreneur is bereft of all emotion. We all know a few of those. Does that make them any less intelligent? Well, no, but it might make them less successful.

Effective leaders understand how to nurture their employees, how to tap into their emotions, trust their instinct and drive their companies forward with determination. One of the main qualities that an investor looks for when backing a startup is passion. An emotionally charged leader at the helm who knows how to create an environment of emotional intelligence leadership.

So, if you’re a little out of whack with your emotions and haven’t a clue how to deal with those of others, then you’re going to have to practice. Fake it ‘til you make it if this doesn’t come naturally to you – and check out the following tips on how to boost emotional intelligence.

1. Quit Complaining

Complaining isn’t helping anyone – least of all you. It might feel temporarily satisfying to let off steam when things don’t go your way, but moaning and whining about your situation won’t get you any closer to fixing it. Complaining can also end up giving you a victim complex, which is not very smart.

If you’re a victim with no way of fixing your problems, then you’re failing to use your emotional intelligence. A better way of approaching difficult situations is not by looking for who to blame, but by figuring out how to change things for the better. Coming up with solutions instead of problems will teach you how to boost emotional intelligence significantly.

Mastering your emotional intelligence leadership skills is also about realizing how your emotions, mood swings, outbursts and attitude directly affect your team. Constant complaining creates an environment of negativity and will drag your workers down. Positivity, on the other hand, is equally contagious and you need an energetic and happy team to drive your company forward.

2. Learn When to Say No

Here’s how to boost emotional intelligence easily. By learning to say no, with confidence and tact. But learning when to say no can be really hard. As former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair famously said: “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.” Most of the time our inability to say no to people is born out of our desire not to offend them. In the end, we take on too many tasks and end up overstretched or near to collapse.

It’s crucial for entrepreneurs to learn when to say no and feel comfortable about doing so. When talking facts and figures. When staring at a horrible idea, or when you simply feel like you’re in an uncomfortable position. Try it today. Cancel that engagement you don’t want to go to or the extra task you know you can’t handle.

3. Be Unfuckwithable

This doesn’t mean tapping into your inner gangster. Being unfuckwithable means that you learn to be in charge of your own emotions. You stop blaming other people for your situation and start to take control. Think about this. Did you ever start your day on a positive note, only to have your partner wake up in a bad mood or spill your coffee on your pants? Did you let it affect your day?

Emotionally intelligent leaders learn to be unfuckwithable. They don’t let external situations, or other people’s problems derail them from dealing with their own. That doesn’t mean they don’t have empathy, or that they don’t care what happens to their employees.

You can empathize with people and analyze what’s going on, without letting it cloud your judgment or spoil your day. Listen, offer assistance if possible, and then move on. Don’t let other people’s drama or problems become your own. You’re too emotionally intelligent for that!

4. Tame Your Inner Beast

I’m not referring to anything tantric here. Taming your inner beast is about learning to silence that negative voice inside you. Everyone has doubts and fears, but that’s what divides the successful entrepreneurs from the wantrepreneurs. Learning to overcome their fears and carry on regardless.

Once you get really good at managing your emotional intelligence, you can learn when your negative thoughts are merely passing clouds, and not indicative of the situation. Many successful people meditate, take yoga classes or exercise. Some read, write, or paint. However you decide to master your feelings, once you learn to tame your inner beast you can become a model of emotional intelligence leadership.

5. Live in The Moment

Don’t dwell on your past or constantly focus on your mistakes. Many an entrepreneur has failed on their way to the top and become twice as strong because of it. So, learn from your past, but don’t wallow in your past.

Have a goal on the future, but know that living in the future doesn’t help either. Emotionally intelligent people use their past experiences to become more powerful in the present and they become better leaders, entrepreneurs and people because of it. So, get boosting your EQ now!

Christina is a copywriter, MBA, marketer, columnist and general life enthusiast with a love/hate relationship with monkeys.

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