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  • Gaëtane Lenain

4 Steps to develop your emotional intelligence

According to Ilios Kotsou, Emotional intelligence is the ability to live better with our emotions and those of others.

Dr. Goleman described emotional intelligence as a person's ability to manage their feelings so that those feelings are expressed appropriately and effectively. In his work Dr. Goleman also refers to emotional intelligence as the largest single predictor of success in the workplace.


When looking at these definitions we already get a sense that developing one’s emotional intelligence is about accepting, welcoming and observing your emotions instead of suppressing them or tolerate them until they disappear.



Increasing your emotional intelligence is a personal journey and takes time and practice. In short, there are 4 steps to go through when experiencing strong emotions:


1. Welcome & identify your emotions

When a strong emotion washes over you, you can choose to welcome it and observe its effects on you. Ideally you also label the emotion accurately and to identify what triggered it.


2. Detach yourself from your emotion

You are not your emotion! You can decide to speak and act according to who you want to be and not only according to how you feel. This distinction is crucial because it creates the space for other options to emerge.


3. Determine what you want to do with the information and energy provided by the emotion

Going through steps 1 and 2 helped you break the loop and take a step back so that you can reflect on the situation. It is time to ask yourself what kind of person you want to be.


4. Act Accordingly

Your emotions are also carrying a lot of energy, it is time to channel that energy into the action plan you just devised.


Beside these steps, it may be helpful to remember that an emotion can also been seen as a signal triggered by your body to inform you about the status of your needs, whether they are fulfilled (pleasant emotion) or not (uncomfortable emotion).


For deeper reflections and practical examples, consult our free booklet.



Picture credit: Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/yellow-paintedsmiley-face-eggs-6898856/




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