5 Signs You Lack Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence? Isn’t it a soft skill? Think again. Research has consistently demonstrated that people with high levels of emotional intelligence outperform those with high IQs. It’s a key workplace differentiator when it comes to performance.

What’s going on?

Emotional intelligence (EI) contributes to your relationships with others; how you lead, how you’re perceived, to your overall performance. It’s your reputational capital. Self assessment is notoriously inaccurate, even more so if you lack EI. So how do you know if you have a deficit? Worry not, we’ve put together 5 telltale signs that you lack EI. Take a look at the clues below to identify patterns in your behaviour that you might want to develop or eradicate.

  1. You feel angry. If you find yourself wandering around feeling angry for much of the day but you’re not sure why this could be a sign that you’re unaware of your triggers. Try to identify what they are so that you can preempt them and devise strategies to overcome them rather than having them rule your behaviour.
  2. You feel stressed. This is something of a chicken and egg situation with the first telltale sign. We know from research that self regulation is the first thing to diminish when we’re stressed so feeling angry can be an unfortunate by product. When you ignore your emotions and stressful events in life, allowing them to fester, it damages your mind and your body. Unmanaged emotions may lead to anxiety, depression and isolation. A more emotionally intelligent response is to talk things through or find effective strategies for managing stress such as exercise or meditation.
  3. You don’t let go of grudges. If you find yourself clinging onto grudges, waging mini vendettas or trying to point score the following Chinese proverb is made for you. “If you are planning on revenge, dig two graves. One for your enemy and one for yourself.” Continuing to hold a grudge is down to your amygdala. Another form of stress response, it is your brain in full fight, flight or freeze mode with all of the associated physiological responses. The emotionally intelligent way to manage this is to deal with it, not to perpetuate it. Holding onto grudges will increase your blood pressure and the likelihood of heart disease. Learn to have difficult conversations and use that stress for something more positive.
  4. You feel others don’t ‘get you. This is down to communication. If you frequently find yourself misunderstood or wonder why people don’t seem to ‘get’ what you’re saying, it’s probably down to the way you communicate. Emotionally intelligent people recognise that different people require different communication styles, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. Modify your communication style depending upon who you’re talking to and be better understand.
  5. It’s everyone else fault. If you find yourself constantly blaming other people for how you feel you’ve abdicated from responsibility. How you feel is your business and only you can change that. To blame others will prevent you from moving forwards and developing. Accept responsibility for your own emotions, thoughts and feelings. That way when you recognise that you don’t like them you’re in a powerful position to make changes.

Don’t beat yourself up if you recognise yourself in the 5 telltale signs. You’re not alone. Emotional intelligence is a profile of competencies and we all possess varying levels of each competence. The good news is that EI can be developed. By implementing new strategies and building new habits you’ll create new neural networks, increase your neuroplasticity and your emotional intelligence.

Gill Crossland-Thackray is a Business Psychologist, Visiting Professor, Trainer, Executive Coach and PhD Candidate specialising in leadership, mindfulness and compassion. She is Director of Koru Development and Co-Director of Positive Change Guru. She is a contributing writer at Thrive Global and has written about psychology for a number of global publications including The Guardian, HR Zone and Ultra Sport. She is also visiting professor at CHE, Phnom Penh.

Through Koru and Positive Change Guru she works internationally with CEOs, senior executives, businesses and individuals to optimise leadership, performance and wellbeing. If you’ve enjoyed this post please consider clicking on the heart. You can contact Gill at gill@positivechangeguru.comTo find out more follow her at@KoruDevelopment and @PosChangeGuru

Originally published at positivechangeguru.com on December 10, 2016.