September 12

5 Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence


By Chuck Coker

Did you know that emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) remains one of the most vital indicators of success in business?

Here’s why:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply emotions to be more collaborative and productive with others.

Successful leaders and superior performers tend to have superb emotional intelligence skills. The most intriguing aspect of emotional intelligence is that it is not fixed. With a little hard work and some ambition, emotional intelligence can be developed over time.

The Basics

In sum, emotional intelligence is composed of five distinct factors:

  1. Self-awareness -The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives as well as their effect on others.

  2. Self-regulation -The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and the propensity to think before acting.

  3. Motivation -A passion for work that transcends money or status. Motivation reflects the amount of energy and persistence you apply to an activity.

  4. Social awareness- The ability to understand the emotional makeup of others.

  5. Social regulation -The ability to proficiently manage relationships and build networks

Five Ways to Increase Emotional Intelligence

Way #1 – Journal Daily

Reflect daily on your presence and journal how your emotions impact your goals, motivations, strengths, and critical aspirations. Be completely honest with yourself; this is an opportunity to learn and grow. Once you have identified behavioral trends, discuss your observations with a trusted advisor, family member, or friend. Develop a plan to identify and address the instances that impact your ability to maintain composure.

Ask Yourself

– When did I feel good today?

– When did I not feel good today?

– How do I act when I feel good vs. when I don’t feel good?

Way #2 – Identify Triggers

Reflect daily on the connection between your emotions and your behavior. Identify those behaviors that trigger an adverse reaction. Once you have identified the negative triggers, come up with three alternative responses that you can have ready the next time you encounter a trigger.

Ask Yourself

– When I am set off, how do I respond?

– What would be a better response?

– How can I change those responses?

Way #3 – Document Emotional Intelligence Goals

Once you identify your specific emotional intelligence goals, you need to improve, revisit them regularly to ensure you are on track to achieve them.

Place these in a journal or on your calendar so that you can make them visible. Create a ritual where you review your goals and targets each day. Celebrate your small victories!

Ask Yourself

– What do I want to accomplish in my emotions and feelings?

– When do I want to achieve these goals?

– Which rituals and/or habits do I need to practice to help these goals?

Way #4 Anticipate the Response

When communicating with others, ask yourself how people will react to your gestures or statements.

When you anticipate their feelings, you’re considering the potential response a person may give.

Being socially aware will help you be more successful in communicating with others; you achieve your goals. In short, you create win-win situations when you predict emotional responses before communicating with others.

Ask Yourself

– How does this person feel right now?

– How do I know how this person feels?

– How might I make this person feel (even) better?

Way #5 – Be Curious in Others

Show a genuine curiosity for others and their well-being. Identify and appreciate what makes a person stand out from others in the crowd. To explore areas of interest, ask the other person questions, and listen intently. Comment on areas of common interest and build from there. Most of all, be present in the conversation.

Ask Yourself

– What does this person care most about?

– What do I have in common with this person?

– How can I build a bridge to their interests?


There are many methods for increasing your emotional intelligence. The suggestions in this guide are just a few. Influential leaders all over the world regularly employ emotional intelligence to obtain superior results. In short, they do the little things that set them apart from the rest.

You can improve your emotional intelligence and accomplish great things. Just as a home is built brick by brick, emotional intelligence is built over time. Please take advantage of your opportunity to develop your emotional intelligence by working on it actively today. With just a little more effort and attention each day, you will be amazed at what you can build when you improve.

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About the author 

Chuck Coker

For more than 30 years, Chuck has focused his career on people's development. He has implemented proprietary Personal Formation, Human Capital, Talent Management, and incentive-based programs across a broad scope of Fortune Companies, regional organizations, and educational institutions.


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