13 Emotional Intelligence Activities & Exercises

Emotional Intelligence Activities and Exercises
Image via Pixabay

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that we’ve devoted considerable attention to emotional intelligence. This isn’t an accident—our focus on the subject reflects its importance in the positive psychology literature and the value of a culture of emotional intelligence (EI).

This piece offers a useful next step for anyone who has been interested in learning about emotional intelligence, but hasn’t created a plan for improving their own EI yet.

Should you want to learn how to professionally teach, coach, and increase emotional intelligence⁠—be sure to check out the Emotional Intelligence Masterclass©.

What are Emotional Intelligence Activities and Exercises?

As the name suggests, emotional intelligence activities and exercises are attempts to build, develop, and maintain one’s emotional intelligence, often called EI or EQ for Emotional Quotient.

Many people are interested in improving their EI, for a variety of reasons.

Some of the most common reasons to work on your EI include:

  • Wanting to succeed in a leadership role;
  • Trying to fit in with a new organization or new team;
  • Attempting to branch out of your network and make new friends or contacts;
  • Starting a new business and wanting to improve your customer service.

 

And, of course, many people want to enhance their EI simply to understand themselves and the people they interact with on a deeper level. There is no downside to becoming more emotionally intelligent and the benefits can be numerous.

If you’re interested in enhancing your EI, rest assured that you are not alone in your goal! Read on to learn how to go about meeting your goal.

Tips for Using Emotional Intelligence Tools

Emotional intelligence team building

Whether you’re looking to build your own emotional intelligence, encourage its development in your children or students, or trying to boost your team’s or organization’s EQ, there are many activities, tools, and resources you can use.

You can find a few of them below.

Tips for Enhancing Your Own Emotional Intelligence

If your goal is to boost your own emotional intelligence or help your clients boost their emotional intelligence (e.g., any EI work on an individual level), keep these seven tips in mind:

  1. Reflect on your own emotions;
  2. Ask others for perspective;
  3. Be observant (of your own emotions);
  4. Use “the pause” (e.g., taking a moment to think before speaking);
  5. Explore the “why” (bridge the gap by taking someone else’s perspective);
  6. When criticized, don’t take offense. Instead, ask: What can I learn?
  7. Practice, practice, practice (Bariso, 2016).

 

Learn more about these important tips.

Tips for Enhancing the Emotional Intelligence of Teams

If you’re looking to enhance your team’s emotional intelligence, keep these 7 tips in mind:

  1. Have a ring leader;
  2. Identify team members’ strengths and weaknesses;
  3. Spark passion;
  4. Build team norms;
  5. Develop creative ways to manage stress;
  6. Allow team members to have a voice;
  7. Encourage employees to work and play together (Rampton, n.d.).

 

Read more about how to implement these tips.

EQ experts Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff tell us that three factors are absolutely essential to the success of a workgroup:

  1. Trust among members;
  2. A sense of group identity;
  3. A sense of group efficacy (2001).

 

If it sounds to you like these three factors are strongly associated with emotional intelligence, you’re right! You can’t have an emotionally intelligent team with emotionally intelligent members, but it takes more than that⁠⁠—you need emotionally intelligent norms and values, the right team atmosphere, and willingness to build team EQ.

To do that, you’ll need:

  • Understanding and regulation of emotions at the individual level;
  • Understanding and managing of emotions at the group level;
  • Awareness of and willingness to work with emotions outside the group.

 

Make sure to keep these three levels in mind as you work on building your emotionally intelligent team; remember that it’s not all about the individuals on the team, but about how they interact with each other and with those outside the group (Druskat & Wolff, 2001).

7 Emotional Intelligence Activities

It can be daunting to think about how to improve your emotional intelligence⁠⁠— where do you even begin?

Not to worry! There are many activities and exercises that are designed to do just that. Some are intended for individuals and others for groups, but you’re sure to find something that will meet your needs.

3 Exercises for Developing and Improving EI

These three exercises are meant to help individuals build their emotional intelligence and they are particularly helpful for leaders who want to boost their EI/EQ.

1. Emotional Intelligence Assessment for Leaders

Leaders have a big job to do in any organization: they need to shape, communicate, and contribute to the organizational vision. Naturally, emotional intelligence helps immensely in this role.

This is an activity that leaders can do to assess their own emotional intelligence, which is the first step towards improving it. Find more emotional intelligence assessments here.

This activity consists of 10 descriptions of vision-killing behaviors that a leader may engage in, and a scale upon which to rate your own engagement in each behavior from ‘very seldom’ to ‘very often.’

The vision-killing behaviors include:

  1. Treating people badly⁠—such as not showing people they care, forgetting to say thank you, not respecting people, not making people feel valued;
  2. Living by the adage “Do as I say, not as I do,” and not setting good examples;
  3. Focusing on too many things at once;
  4. Pushing too hard on the task and forgetting the people;
  5. Not giving clear direction;
  6. Giving inconsistent direction;
  7. Not taking responsibility for failure;
  8. Focusing on the detail and forgetting to tell the “whys” or the big picture;
  9. Showing little or no personal commitment to the vision;
  10. Allowing people who aren’t performing the job to remain.

 

If you find yourself frequently engaging in these behaviors, that’s a good indication that your leader EQ is low. Pay close attention to the three behaviors you engage in the most often and commit to working on reducing or removing those behaviors entirely.

Download a PDF from Adele B. Lynn and the HRD Press with more information and exercises like this one.

2. Temperament Analysis

Another good assessment activity is the temperament analysis. It was designed to help participants learn about temperament, understand their own temperament, and learn how to work with it.

To get started, keep in mind that our temperament is made up of tendencies and feelings that are influenced by four factors or parameters:

  • Genetic Inheritance
  • Physical Attributes
  • Life Experiences
  • Environmental Conditions

 

To give this activity a try, get started with the temperament questionnaire:

  1. Describe your temperament with three adjectives. Choose the ones that describe you best.
  2. Suggest three adjectives that others use to describe your temperament.
  3. Go through each of the adjectives identified in the above two questions and see if each one is because of (or how much each one is driven by) Genetic Inheritance, Physical Attributes, Life Experiences, or Environmental Conditions.
  4. How does each of the temperamental factors affect you on a personal level?
  5. How does each of the temperamental factors affect you on a leadership role level?
  6. Which of these factors do you want to change and why?

 

Think about each of the questions in detail and try discussing with a friend to maximize the learning opportunity.

See this exercise in more detail.

3. Be the Fog (Regulate Your Emotions)

It can be very difficult for many of us to accept criticism, especially if receiving criticism provokes strong emotions. This simple exercise will help you “be the fog” and learn how to regulate and modulate your emotions in a difficult situation.

Here’s what to do:

“Act like a fog! Imagine you are a fog. When someone throws a stone at you, you absorb that stone without throwing the stone back. This is a very easy and effective technique to use against people who keep criticizing you repeatedly.” (Skills Converged website)

For example, if someone tells you something like:

  • “You just don’t understand.”
  • “You are lazy.”
  • “You are always late.”
  • “You don’t feel responsible.”

 

Respond with:

  • “Yes, I just don’t understand.”
  • “Yes, I am lazy sometimes.”
  • “Yes, I was late.”
  • “Yes, I just don’t take responsibility.”

 

When you accept the criticism that is thrown your way (without actually taking it to heart), you will find that you disarm the person criticizing you. To practice, ask someone you know well to criticize you at rapid speed, one after the other, and employ the fogging technique to counter it.

Read more about this exercise.

Emotional Intelligence Group Activities

If you’d like to help a group work on building their EQ or work on your own EQ in a group setting, you’re in luck! There are tons of group activities focused on developing, enhancing, and maintaining your emotional intelligence.

Check out the four examples below.

4. Accepting Your Emotions

This exercise can help you work on one of the most fundamental skills related to emotional intelligence: understanding and accepting your own emotions.

Emotional Intelligence. Image by Lisa Runnels of Pixaby.

You’ll need a group of people for this activity, but you could also modify it to work with just one pair. Here’s how to do it:

  • Divide your group into pairs and have them sit far enough away from the other pairs to get a sense of privacy.
  • Have each pair decide who will go first.
  • Tell the group members that they will each have a chance to share an experience where they felt like a victim. Once one partner has explained the experience, they should explain how they felt as a result of their experience in as much detail as possible, thinking about their specific feelings at the moment and how it impacted them afterward.
  • Allow 15 minutes or so for the first partner to share and for the pair to discuss, have them switch roles.
  • If you are running this activity in a group, bring everyone back together and have a group discussion using questions like these:
    • What did you think first when you were told to share a difficult experience with another person?
    • How did you manage to share it? How did you feel when you shared it with someone else?
    • How did you feel after acknowledging and accepting your emotions?
    • Does this exercise help with accepting how certain experiences make us feel and that it is okay to feel a certain way after negative experiences?
    • Did you feel more at peace after accepting your emotions generated by your experience?
    • Would you consider using this exercise to evaluate and acknowledge your emotions after negative experiences?

 

Read about this activity at the source.

5. Making Eye Contact

As the name of this exercise suggests, it involves using eye contact to better understand our own emotions and how we connect emotionally with others.

Gather some index cards and distribute them to your participants, then ask them to spread out within the room. Tell them to imagine themselves in an art gallery or a museum.

Next, have them move through the three stages:

  1. Stage One:
    1. Ask your participants to roam around the room as if they are in a public space while not making eye contact with anyone else. They should improvise and act the role. Allow one minute for this part.
    2. Stop everyone and ask the participants to make a note of their feelings on their cards.
  1. Stage Two:
    1. For this round, ask your participants to seek out eye contact as they go about the room. However, as soon as they have made eye contact, they should break it and look away. Allow two minutes for this part.
    2. Stop everyone and ask them to record their feelings on their cards.
  1. Stage Three:
    1. In this round, ask your participants to seek out eye contact and as soon as they have made eye contact with anyone they should pair up with that person. They should stand side by side and do not establish eye contact with anyone else. Allocate two minutes for this part.
    2. Stop everyone and ask them to record their feelings on their cards.
    3. Bring everyone back together and follow with a discussion.

 

Allot 10 minutes or so for the group discussion. Here are a few questions to guide your discussion:

  • While going through various stages of the exercise how did you feel?
  • How did it feel when you were making eye contact and you had to break it straight away?
  • How did it feel when you made eye contact and you could approach the person to pair up?
  • If you were slow to pair up with someone, how did it feel to go about finding someone you could make eye contact with?
  • How easy was it to make eye contact with someone?
  • How close do you feel with people that you maintained eye contact with?
  • What pre-conditioning dictates our behavior in making eye contact or maintaining eye contact?
  • How does this compare between different societies?

 

This exercise will help you and your group see just how vital eye contact is to emotional connection.

Here is a full description of this exercise.

6. If You Knew…

This activity is an excellent choice for new teams or as an icebreaker at small events. It will encourage participants to share information about themselves with others in a way that encourages intimacy and group cohesion.

Start with a flip chart or a whiteboard with these questions on it:

  • What was the happiest moment in your life?
  • What was your unhappiest experience in life?
  • What motivates you to get up in the morning?
  • What do you use your money for?
  • Who is the most important person in your life?
  • Describe your best friend.

 

Once everyone is ready to get started, ask them all to sit in a semi-circle facing a flipchart or whiteboard. Randomly select one participant to answer the questions on the board, and tell them they have 10 minutes to go into as much detail as possible. Instruct the other participants not to ask questions or interrupt during those 10 minutes, then move on to the next participant.

At the end, pose these questions to get a good discussion started:

  • Did this activity help you to know your team members better?
  • Did it help explain certain behaviors and actions of co-workers?
  • Would it be helpful to share some personal information with those that we work closely with?
  • Did this session help clear up some of the misunderstandings between team members?

 

Completing this exercise will likely result in you feeling more connected and comfortable with the other participants, and help you learn how to read emotions in others and listen attentively.

You can find this activity at its source and find more EQ framework, charts and diagrams here.

What would it actually look like, to live in a culture where empathy and EQ were part of our vision? Cleveland Clinic made this video as one vision of empathy, and the ability to see other’s pain.

If you watched the video, what parts did you find most insightful? We would love to hear from you in our comments section below.

7. Exercise to Increase Your Self-Awareness

All you need to start improving your self-awareness in a group setting is a stack of 3 x 5 index cards. Oh, and a group of people!

Here are the instructions:

Part One:

  1. Ask the participants “How do you feel?” Ask each participant individually instead of in the larger group, if possible.
  2. Most people will probably say they feel fine, so prepare to start the exercise with this: “Why do we almost always say we are fine, even when we are not?”
  3. Continue the discussion with questions like:
    1. “Do you find it easy to talk about your feelings?”
    2. “What makes it hard to talk about your feelings?”
    3. “Can you consciously shift your feelings from one to another?”

Part Two:

  1. Discuss how important it is to understand the wide range of human emotions so you can better understand yourself and others, and give yourself the opportunity to regulate your feelings.
  2. Instruct the group to think of as many emotions as they can and write one on each card.
  3. Spread the cards around on a table so you can help the group avoid creating duplicates.

Part Three:

  1. Collect all cards and put them upside down on the table.
  2. Ask each participant to pick two cards at random.
  3. Take turns asking each participant to reveal their cards and explain what it would take to get from one emotion to the other.
  4. After the participant provides their explanation, allow other participants to share their own explanations.
  5. Follow up with a discussion, using questions like:
    1. Do you think you came up with many emotions?
    2. Was it easy?
    3. Are you surprised there are so many emotions?
    4. Was it easy to switch from one emotion to another?

 

If any of these activities interests you, be sure to check out this post on the Emotion Wheel.

6 EQ Worksheets (PDFs)

Team work for small businesses
Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

If you like circling, underlining, and filling in the blanks to work on improving your emotional intelligence, you might find these 6 EQ worksheets helpful.

1. Giving Feedback: Improving Your Self-Awareness

With this worksheet, you’ll boost your self-awareness and, in turn, your emotional intelligence.

Here are all the questions it poses:

  1. Think of when you were a leader and you took a stand and made sure everyone followed.
    1. How did you feel?
    2. How do you think others felt?
  2. Think of when you were a leader and took a stand on an issue and then backed down.
    1. How did you feel?
    2. How do you think others felt?
  3. Think of when you were a leader and didn’t take a stand on a particular issue when you should have.
    1. How did you feel?
    2. How do you think others felt?
  4. Think of when you were an employee and took a stand on an issue and did not back down.
    1. How did you feel?
    2. How do you think others felt?
    3. How did your boss feel?
  5. Think of when you were an employee and took a stand on an issue, felt forced and backed down.
    1. How did you feel?
    2. How do you think others felt?
    3. How did your boss feel?
  6. Think of when you were an employee and didn’t take a stand on an issue and then later strongly regretted that you should have not backed down.
    1. How did you feel?
    2. How do you think others felt?
    3. How did your boss feel?

 

If you complete this worksheet and want to continue the self-exploration and EQ-boosting, go through these discussion questions:

  • How useful were the questions?
  • Did you discover something about yourself that you were not aware of before?

 

If you completed this worksheet in a group setting, you can also use these two questions to spark a useful discussion:

  • Did you get inspired by what others found about themselves?
  • Did their thoughts make you feel more comfortable about yourself?

 

2. Self-Awareness Activity

Another good worksheet for enhancing your self-awareness comes from Florida State University.

It begins with a great point: it’s hard to make changes to yourself when you aren’t sure where to start! Enhancing your self-awareness will help you figure out what your strengths are, where your EQ competency levels lie, and where you should focus your self-improvement efforts.

The worksheet lists 30 strengths or character traits that you might feel are strengths or areas for you to improve. This list includes traits like:

  • Creative
  • Confident
  • Positive
  • Funny
  • Curious
  • Imaginative
  • Hard-working

 

On one side, there is space to identify three strengths you have and on the other, there is space to identify three traits you would like to work on.

If you think of any strength or an area you’d like to improve that is not included on the list, add it in any way. Your list should be personalized to you, so add and edit what you need!

 

3. Social Awareness Activity

If you feel comfortable with your self-awareness but are less comfortable with your social awareness, this worksheet is the one for you!

Social awareness is all about how well we understand others, how we recognize and identify emotions in others, and how we manage emotions in social situations.

The worksheet includes five pictures of faces with various expressions and a list of emotions on the other side, like:

  • Stressed
  • Peaceful
  • Disappointed
  • Relaxed
  • Upset
  • Frustrated
  • Tired
  • Happy

 

The instructions state that you should feel free to match more than one emotion with each picture and that you’re free to add more emotions if you’d like. The point of the worksheet is not to create a one-to-one match or to get them “right.” Instead, the point is to be more aware of the emotions of those around you and to be more attentive and responsive in your interactions with others.

4. Relationship Management Activity

This worksheet is a good way to work on building your core EQ competencies and relationship skills.

The worksheet opens with the following instructions:

  • Write the names of three of the most important people in your life.
  • Think about what you know about each person and list two traits, hobbies, or features of each of them (e.g., someone runs marathons and tells funny jokes).

 

Finally, the worksheet provides a tip if you’re having trouble:

  • If you had trouble listing something about the people in your life, you may want to pay more attention to those around you. Learning something unique or personal about the individuals in your life can help you maintain caring and positive relationships.

 

5. Self-Management Activity

If you’re more interested in improving your self-management skills than your relationship management skills, this worksheet can help!

It opens with this description:

“Self-management builds on the basis of self-awareness and is the ability to control your emotions so that they don’t control you. Self-management means you’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.”

The worksheet lists some positive and negative emotions for reference.

Positive emotions include:

  • Happiness
  • Excitement
  • Joy
  • Peaceful
  • Relaxed
  • Calm
  • Cheerful
  • Caring
  • Flexible
  • Harmonious

 

The negative emotions include:

  • Anger
  • Disappointment
  • Exhaustion
  • Frustration
  • Stressed
  • Concerned
  • Worried
  • Anxious
  • Defensive
  • Confused

 

This activity can be focused on any emotion, but the worksheet targets anger. Here are the instructions:

  1. Think of a time when you were angry and how you handled it.
  2. Describe your reaction and behaviors in the lines provided below.
  3. Fill in the blanks: “The last time I was angry I…”

 

Once you have filled in the blanks above, move on to planning for how you will handle future episodes of anger:

  1. Think about how you would like to process anger in the future.
  2. Describe healthy management skills and behaviors and write them in the lines provided. You might list management and coping skills like:
    1. Breathe deeply
    2. Take a break
    3. Go for a walk
    4. Take a shower
    5. Distract yourself
    6. Lie down
    7. Think before speaking
    8. Write about it

 

Keep these planned future coping skills in mind and make sure to pull them out the next time you get angry.

6. Name Game

This worksheet is a great choice for teens and pre-teens who are just beginning to learn about emotional intelligence and working on building valuable social skills.

Name Game for Pre-teens. Image by Isabel Alvarez.

The worksheet includes two spaces to write out two names: the teen or pre-teen’s own name, and the name of a friend or family member who has influenced their life.

In the first space, the user should write out each letter of their name in a vertical format. Next, they will note an adjective that describes one of their positive traits for each letter of their name.

For example, if your name is Jane Doe, you might write:

J – Joyful
A – Assertive
N – Nice
E – Energetic
D – Delightful
O – Optimistic
E – Even-tempered

The user should complete their own name, then do the same for the person who has influenced their lives.

Completing this worksheet will help the user to start thinking about themselves, their personality, and the traits and characteristics of others. This will help them stay open-minded and attentive to emotions – both their own emotions and the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence Workbooks (PDFs)

If you’re looking for a workbook to guide you through improving your emotional intelligence, you have several options. Here are just a few of the workbooks available (some paid, some free):

PowerPoint Presentations on EI (PPTs and Images)

Workbooks aren’t your style? Are you more of a visual learner? No problem!

For more information on emotional intelligence, check out these slideshows and presentations on the subject:

  • Emotional Intelligence: Why We React the Way We Do by Marcia Rase Schmitz and Sherry Kurtz-Anderson from Lead to Inspire (Access here)
  • Leadership Essentials: Leading with Emotional Intelligence from Skillsoft (Access here)
  • Emotional Intelligence: How Your Emotions Influence Your Life at Work and at Home by Rebecca Gulliford from The University of Buffalo School of Management
  • Emotional Intelligence at Work by Sanchita Singh on SlideShare (Access here)
  • Emotional Intelligence by Kerry Goyette from Aperio Consulting Group (Access here)
  • Emotional Intelligence: A Core Competency in Healthcare by George Anderson (Access here)

7 Emotional Intelligence Programs, Workshops, and Webinars

To get more involved with what’s happening in EI/EQ research and boost your own understanding of how to apply it, you might want to check out a training program, workshop, or webinar. These are just a few of your many options:

  1. Team Bonding Workshop: Emotional Intelligence for Teams (Access here)
  2. Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Program (Access here)
  3. The Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence Coaching and Training Programs (Access here)
  4. The Science of Emotional Intelligence Program from the Institute for Health and Human Potential (Access here)
  5. Emotional Intelligence Training from TalentSmart (Access here)
  6. Emotional Intelligence Webinars from Penumbra (Access here)
  7. Emotional Intelligence at Work Webinar from Reflektive (Access here)

5 Online Courses for EI

To get even deeper into understanding the concept of emotional intelligence and learning how to build and continue to develop your own EI, there are several courses that you might find useful:

  • Udemy’s Course on Emotional Intelligence (Access here)
  • Class Central’s Free Online Emotional Intelligence Courses (Access here)
  • Coursera’s Courses on Emotional Intelligence (Access here)
  • The Emotional Intelligence Network’s Free EQ Courses (Access here)
  • Future Learn’s Emotional Intelligence at Work Course (Access here)

 

Here is a master list of some of the best and most popular emotional intelligence training opportunities.

Useful Emotional Intelligence Movies, TEDx Talks, and YouTube Videos

For those who want a less intensive crash course in emotional intelligence, there are some excellent videos you can check out, like:

The Power of Emotional Intelligence TEDTalk by Travis Bradberry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auXNnTmhHsk

 

6 Steps to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence TEDTalk by Ramona Hacker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6_J7FfgWVc

 

The People Currency: Practicing Emotional Intelligence TEDTalk by Jason Bridges

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z0asInbu24

 

What is Emotional Intelligence from The School of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgUCyWhJf6s

 

Daniel Goleman Introduces Emotional Intelligence from Big Think

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7m9eNoB3NU

 

Emotional Intelligence – Understanding EQ with Daniel Goleman – Animated Book Review from Practical Psychology

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26N1XjfFwrE

 

Rachel Lyons, from Fitch Learning, lists these award-winning movies where you can see emotional intelligence on display:

  • Birdman
  • Whiplash
  • Boyhood

 

Read more about the EQ skills here.

Building an EQ toolkit – Discussion Questions and Notes

If you’re serious about improving your EQ (or your clients’ EQ), you might want to use some of the resources in this piece to build your own EQ toolkit.

As you build your toolkit, here are some concepts, notes, and discussion questions that you will want to keep in mind.

Motivation with Athletes
Athletes and Motivation. Image by Pexels of Pixaby.

There are five key characteristics of EQ:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills (Akers & Porter, 2018)

Those who are high in emotional intelligence are more likely to be successful in their career, in their social relationships, in their intimate and romantic relationships, and healthier both mentally and physically (Grewal & Salovey, 2006).

A popular item to include in your toolkit is the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, which can help readers improve their understanding of emotional intelligence and assess their own EQ level. If you decide to add the book to your toolkit, here are some excellent discussion questions for those who read the book:

  1. How many members in the group were familiar with the term “emotional intelligence” before reading Emotional Intelligence 2.0?
  2. What’s the most important thing you discovered after reading Emotional Intelligence 2.0?
  3. In your lifetime, have you felt an emotional hijacking similar to Butch Connor’s during his run-in with the shark?
  4. What are the physical symptoms you experience with emotion? An example might be your face turns red when you’re angry.
  5. How did you learn to recognize or manage your emotions? What about learning to recognize what other people are feeling and going through? (TalentSmart, 2013).

 

See the rest of the questions or download them for your toolkit.

For quick, in-the-moment opportunities to enhance your EQ, there are three vital questions you can ask yourself:

  1. Does this need to be said?
  2. Does this need to be said by me?
  3. Does this need to be said now?

 

For example, if you just noticed an employee doing something great at work but remember that they made a mistake a couple of weeks ago that you never addressed…

“No! Stop! Ask yourself:
Does this need to be said?
Does it need to be said by me?
Does it need to be said by me now?” (Bariso, 2015)

 

If you follow through with these three questions in this situation, you will likely find yourself making one of these conclusions:

  • You know, the criticism I wanted to share wasn’t so important after all. My opinion may even be changing on this;
  • It might be better if I speak to their team leader first. Maybe what I saw a few weeks ago wasn’t really the whole picture;
  • I definitely still need to talk to them about the problem I saw. But now’s not the right time. Let me set a reminder to schedule an appointment with the person after I’m better prepared (Bariso, 2015).

 

Relevant: How to Improve Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

A Take-Home Message

I hope this piece has provided you with some excellent resources for building and enhancing your emotional intelligence or that of your children, students, employees, or clients.

Keep in mind that everyone has their own unique starting point and their own pace for learning, and make sure not to put too much pressure on anyone to “get it” right away—even yourself!

What are your thoughts on how to build and maintain your emotional intelligence? Do these tools seem helpful?

What other tools and exercises have you found that can help boost EQ? Let us know in the comments!

 

  • Akers, M., & Porter, G. (2018). What is emotional intelligence (EQ)? PsychCentral. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-emotional-intelligence-eq/
  • Bariso, J. (2015). These 3 questions will immediately increase your emotional intelligence. Inc. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/these-3-questions-will-immediately-increase-your-emotional-intelligence.html
  • Bariso, J. (2016). How to increase your emotional intelligence. Inc. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/how-to-increase-your-emotional-intelligence.html
  • Druskat, V. U., & Wolff, S. B. (2001). Building the emotional intelligence of groups. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2001/03/building-the-emotional-intelligence-of-groups
  • Grewal, D., & Salovey, P. (2006). Benefits of emotional intelligence. In M. Csikszentmihalyi & I. S. Csikszentmihalyi (Eds.), A life worth living: Contributions to positive psychology (pp. 104-119). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • http://www.livesinprogress.net/2014/01/improvisation-games-exercises-for.html
  • Lynn, A. B. (2000). 50 activities for developing emotional intelligence. HRD Press. Retrieved from http://www.hrdtrainingsolutions.com/v/vspfiles/pdf/50%20Activities%20for%20Developing%20Emotional%20Intelligence%20-%202%20Activities.pdf
  • Lyons, R. (n.d.). Emotional intelligence on display in Oscar winning films. Fitch Learning. Retrieved from https://www.fitchlearning.com/emotional-intelligence-display-oscar-winning-films
  • Rampton, J. (n.d.). 7 ways to create emotionally intelligent teams. The Economist. Retrieved from https://execed.economist.com/blog/guest-post/7-ways-create-emotionally-intelligent-teams
  • skillsconverged.com
  • TalentSmart. (2013). Discussion questions for reading groups. TalentSmart: The Premier Provider of Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from http://www.talentsmart.com/media/uploads/pdfs/Emotional%20Intelligence%202.0%20Discussion%20Questions.pdf

About the Author

Courtney Ackerman is a graduate of the positive organizational psychology and evaluation program at Claremont Graduate University. She is currently working as a researcher for the State of California and her professional interests include survey research, well-being in the workplace, and compassion. When she’s not gleefully crafting survey reminders, she loves spending time with her dogs, visiting wine country, and curling up in front of the fireplace with a good book or video game.

Comments

  1. Norman W. Wilson, PhD

    I totally agree with Bryan Bossley. This fits so well with CBT. Congratulations on creating usable and valuable information.

    Reply
  2. Bryan Bossley

    Hi Steph,
    Not only was the information on E I valuable, I thought the category on Positive CBT refreshing and invigorated the old Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and made it a welcome integration with Positive Psychology.
    Originally I thought that Person-Centered and Solution-Focused Therapies were better housed with the concepts of Positive Psychology, than CBT, but your information on Positive CBT embraces this therapy just as well. All equal dance partners!
    I’m reconstructing my website.

    Reply
  3. Andrea Pauquet-Litchfield

    What wonderful ideas , resources and effort ! Thank you

    Reply
  4. Gudrun Snorradóttir

    Hi Hugo and Seph! What a great tips you got, as always. To add up on that fab list of yours: https://langleygroup.com.au/courses/category/msceit/
    I can highly recommend that course.
    Thank you guys, Gudrun from Reykjavik, Iceland.

    Reply
  5. Heléne Berg

    A million thanks! 🙂

    Reply
  6. kathleen barrett

    Thanks much for these resources! I look forward to sharing with my students.
    Kathleen

    Reply
  7. Ahmad

    Your tips are so accurate.thanks

    Reply
  8. Lee

    This was excellent!! Thank you so much

    Reply

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